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Topic Title: Parking charges
Topic Summary: How to charge a customer...
Created On: 19 March 2013 10:53 AM
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 19 March 2013 10:53 AM
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stateit

Posts: 2219
Joined: 15 April 2005

I've been billing a (commercial) customer as an itemized item the £25 daily parking charges.

They hadn't noticed until about the fourth job.

They claim I shouldn't be charging this as it is a 'business cost' that I can claim back from my tax bill....

I suggested other companies just roll the figure in as a 'hidden cost' elsewhere on their invoices.

They claimed this is not the case. As if...

What do you guys think?

-------------------------
S George
http://www.sg-electrical.com

Edited: 19 March 2013 at 06:20 PM by stateit
 19 March 2013 10:56 AM
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KFH

Posts: 225
Joined: 06 November 2010

I would have included in my overall rate for the job rather than itemise it separately. It is a business expense that is specific to the customer and therefore they should pay it rather then me treating it as an overhead.
 19 March 2013 11:09 AM
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tattyinengland

Posts: 787
Joined: 23 November 2006

I do a lot of work in London. I add it as an extra on the bottom of every price estimate; with the caveat that if I get free parking, the cost will be deducted from the bill. If I don';t pay p[arking, I dont charge for parking. It gives the client an incentive to give me free, on site parking. You'd be amazed I'm sure, but it almost always works.
 19 March 2013 11:37 AM
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jsa986

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"They claim I shouldn't be charging this as it is a 'business cost' that I can claim back from my tax bill.... "

By that reasoning you shouldn't be charging them for parts and materials then as they are tax deductible to. Smile and say no problem and make it back on another way way form them.

-------------------------
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 19 March 2013 11:57 AM
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BrucieBonus

Posts: 743
Joined: 20 February 2007

As others have said, if they won't pay it, then 'hide' it somewhere else - you need to get it covered.

Might be worth revising your T and C to make it clear in future - I work in London and if an area is parking restricted I always note that the customer MUST provide me with a permit. I'm not even into shoving £ in the meter any more as some places have 2 or 4 hour restrictions, so you have to keep moving the vehicle which is a pain. Plus when the meter swallows £6 without giving you a ticket - ARRGG!

No permit - no work
 19 March 2013 12:24 PM
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Jaymack

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Joined: 07 April 2004

It depends on how you charge the hourly rate for your work.

IMO, your hourly rate should not include those expenses that are variable to a customer's location. i.e. It would be illogical and unfair, to include travelling expenses and parking charges in your hourly rate for obvious reasons. I charge vehicle mileage at AA rates, parking charges and return travel at the hourly rate.

Regards
 19 March 2013 01:02 PM
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MACookson

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I always included Parking, congestion charging and mileage in any quote as a matter of course
 19 March 2013 02:02 PM
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OMS

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perhaps a slightly different arena, but we show relevant costs like parking, tolls, mileage, printing etc as variable overhead items (as jaymacks post) - as they are job and location specific - depending on the location, we may well also have a pool for refreshments whilst travelling, evening meals, overnight stays etc

We have a lump sum to cover these in the fee offer. As these costs occur, we deduct from that pot - and if neccessary, make those deductions visible to the client - on rare occasions we'll even return the remaining balance to the client - but that's the kind of guys we are

it works for our business model as most people will be submitting expense claims for most of those costs anyway (printing is captured on an individial basis through the IT) - that way it doesn't matter if it's staff or contractors - everything spent and reimbursed be it time or the above type items all ends up going against a job number - easy to see where things have gone right (and wrong)

Regards

OMS

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 19 March 2013 05:36 PM
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mikejumper

Posts: 1797
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Originally posted by: stateit
I've been billing a (commercial) customer as an itemized item the £25 daily parking charges.
They hadn't noticed until about the fourth job.
They claim I shouldn't be charging this as it is a 'business cost' that I can claim back from my tax bill....
IWhat do you guys think?


You could suggest that they have a look at any invoices they've received from solicitors or lawyers who may have acted for them.
They'll see all those kinds of charges itemised as disbursements, the peripheral costs incurred in completing a particular instruction from a client.
 19 March 2013 05:42 PM
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AJJewsbury

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They claim I shouldn't be charging this as it is a 'business cost' that I can claim back from my tax bill..

On that logic, from their point of view your charges are just another 'business cost' to them - so they should be able to pay you whatever the amount without worrying about it.
- Andy.
 19 March 2013 06:19 PM
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stateit

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Hi Guys,

As I thought, your thoughts concur with mine.

There is little logic in it.

The reason I itemize such items is for transparency and honesty. So I can work on a job with a clear conscience without having a customer thinking I might be ripping them off.

Trying to understand their point of view, I still don't get it.:

I'm guessing most of the invoices they get will be from consultants and freelance IT specialists.

Many moons ago when I freelanced to similar companies I didn't itemize travel or parking, but it was certainly factored into my daily rate.

I don't have to factor parking into my usual daily rate as parking is normally free, and my normal parking concerns are whether the Mrs. Miggins / the postie / horses or a tractor will be able to get past me where I'm parked.

Where I have to pay for parking customers are normally happy to have that added on.

Adding the £25 to my invoice would not stop them using me because I've suddenly become not affordable. They seem to see it as unusual business practice.

I know British Gas and the like don't itemize parking separately, but then they charge £90+ an hour because all their costs are factored into their rate.

I've actually been queried if I'm bumping my rate up to add the £25 as a 'hidden' cost, which they won't accept.

I feel quite miffed about all this as I actually like working there and enjoy it.

I can't say that about many jobs.

I'm actually going to suggest the person I deal with reads this thread.

-------------------------
S George
http://www.sg-electrical.com
 19 March 2013 06:26 PM
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OMS

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I think you need a chat with them - either this is a simple issue where your bid is deemed all inclusive and they can't (or at least won't allow that to be shown as an item)

Or it's a less than simple issue for a reason not disclosed. As a consultant, we sometimes show the cost to the client from our pool of "expenses", sometimes we don't and that pool is a sum of money to be used and accounted internally only - on others, we actually show it as disbursements as part of the works package

talk it through - there is bound to be either a resolution or a parting of the ways

regards

OMS

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 19 March 2013 10:09 PM
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Zs

Posts: 3008
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Stateit,

I believe in absolute transparency in business and I believe that it bears the fruit of customer loyalty.

If trades working in my home do not itemise thier invoices then I am unlikely to use them again.

For my work, If I give a total price for the job then I will be upping my daily rate to allow for travel and congestion charges along with the dreaded parking fees. My total will be a bundle. If I am working on a day rate then it will be plus expenses but rarely plus mileage, unless it is far away. I don't particularly like price work for the very reason you are quoting.

My main London client, for whom I inspect and test, pays me a day rate which happens to be £250 plus costs for the odd days here and there. Pro rata by the hour. Those are usually site surveys and meetings and sometimes are only half a day. He pays for my train tickets and or parking on top of that and buys me lunch. So he gets a bill for a day's work of about £275.

For the gravitas of Inspecting and testing I charge him considerably more but I take the hit for everything including parking and congestion. My desk days are a lower price per day. The aforesaid has been discussed and agreed between us. We have a loyal and trusting business relationship. I need him, he needs me.

I'd suggest an agreement with your client which will take you both forward. Now is the time to have that conversation. I can see both sides.

But do you remember that thread you started on here about how brilliant doorbell wire is for connecting up 10kW range cookers? Hmmm, maybe don't let them look in for they may see it? Mr Client, I'm joking....he uses 1.5mm.

I'd not refer one of my clients to this forum. The learning ground on here is kindof private. But I have printed individual responses in the past, especially those by Geoff Blackwell.

Good luck.

Zs
 19 March 2013 10:29 PM
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Cremeegg

Posts: 543
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This may not add much but it shows what someone else does.

When I work in a metered area with reasonable charges then I lose it in my price. When I work in a metered area with extortionate charges then it goes in my T&C extra conditions - they get me a pass, traders permit or whatever the system is - I never pay it.

Some of my clients are in London - they use me to come in from outside the smoke because they know me, trust me and value my work. They know they will have to sort out my parking and pay my congestion charge. One or two love me so much that they even pay my travelling time into the smoke. I also always start early say 0530 - 0600 or so and finish early say 1400hrs - that way I avoid most of the traffic - any later and I'm stuffed in with the Chelsea tractors on the school run rush which merges seamlessly into the evening rush. If they want me that's my terms. Thankfully I don't need or have to work in London. Although the same applies when I work in Oxford or Brighton.
 20 March 2013 07:57 AM
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tomgunn

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Daily rate - conjoking charge - materials - parking and petrol costs too. KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid!

Tom

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handyTRADESMAN ... haha

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 20 March 2013 08:48 AM
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sparkingchip

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I expect they think they have to pay their own costs of travelling to work out of their salary and you should do the same!

Andy
 20 March 2013 08:50 AM
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ebee

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"They claim I shouldn't be charging this as it is a 'business cost' that I can claim back from my tax bill.."

Seems an odd thing for a commercial client to say.

If you`ve given a figure to do the job and you`ve not given any terms and conditions about such charges or something about them providing parking I`d say your figures should be all inclusuve.

If they have asked after for an itemised breakdown of the all inclusive price and you decided to show parking charges separate then fair enough.

Providing then that your estimate/quote falls within +/- 10% or your fixed price has a reasonable expectation of being correct then I don`t think it relevant for them to query your charges

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Ebee (M I S P N)

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 20 March 2013 09:46 AM
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jcm256

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You can't really charge the client the full cost of travel to job when he knows quite well you can claim the tax portion of fuel cost back at the end of the year.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/incomet...ief-mileage.htm


The government is going to tax spare rooms in a rented house if you get housing benefit. An electrician can claim Tax relief + heating costs if he uses a spare room as an office. Take from the poor and give it to the rich is the whole theme of this Government , be thankful instead of eyeing anxiously how much more you can obtain from the growth of your expense account.

Today-Osborne 'to reward work' in Budget

Edited: 20 March 2013 at 09:56 AM by jcm256
 20 March 2013 10:01 PM
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slittle

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If our guys are working locally then it's all eaten up in the hourly rate.

We don't work in London other than to help out a couple of colleagues on "special jobs" but if any of us travel away for service calls on some of the specialist pig feeding systems we support then it's charged for mileage, time whilst travelling (at a reduced rate from time on site) and any additional expenses such as hotels etc.

All of the customers are aware of the rates and no one yet has queried it.


Stu
 20 March 2013 10:43 PM
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peteTLM

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If i charge say £10 for a widget locally, then that widget becomes £15 when i have to go to london.
Yes, solicitors charge in that way (disbursments), but they are perceived differently to us lot.

There is no way im swallowing £45 a day plus by working in an unfavourable location. Yes its deductable, but it still costs the other 80% to us in the first place.
The customer is trying it on.

On the other hand, if your hourly rate is say £60 - £80 an hour (or maybe more) then id expect you to swallow it as well!

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