Fuel Fiasco Driving Surcharges?
The cost of fuel is on everyone’s minds these days, and printers’ price quotes are beginning to reflect increased energy costs. Yet some print buyers seem to be in a fog about this issue. I was surprised that more print buyers didn’t respond to a recent Print Buyers Online.com Quick Poll where we asked, “Are your print suppliers adding a clause to their estimates that allows them to add a surcharge for energy and fuel costs?” Only 53 print buyers responded to the survey. Why the lack of interest in such an important topic, especially when we are each touched on both professional and personal levels?
Of those who did participate, only 21% reported that their suppliers are adding a clause to allow a surcharge for energy and fuel costs. Why such a low percentage? We would have expected that more printers would be protecting themselves by adding such a clause. Could it be that printers are adding in higher prices, but just not presenting it as a line item?
One supplier certainly thought so; he commented, “We have met with surprising resistance and complaints about line item surcharges as small as $25 that in some cases don’t even cover the extra cost. It is easier to charge 2-3% more overall than to add a smaller and (hopefully) temporary surcharge. The expectation of ‘free’ delivery is clearly well ingrained in our market.”
Printers like production manager Frank Orlando of Abbot’s Printing, Inc. are taking a more holistic approach. He said, “Our prices already include increases in fuel costs that are charged to us by our suppliers. We custom quote everything we print.”
A print buyer concurred: “Like supply costs, sales commissions, electricity costs and everything else, I assume the cost of getting the finished product to me is included in my quote. That’s part of what’s assumed when you are getting customized pricing.”