Friday, June 06, 2008

Gas Costs Bringing Your Business Down

Category: Business Law and Planning

The skyrocketing costs of gas are hitting all of us. Business owners are especially concerned as to how this will hit their bottom line, both directly in the costs of materials and shipping, and indirectly, as employees look to balance the cost of getting to work against their paycheck.

It appears that the New Jersey Assembly is trying to help. NJ Biz reports that Bill Would Allow Gas to be Sold at Cost or Below:

"A bill designed to lower gas prices by removing the state''s gasoline "price floor" was approved by an Assembly panel yesterday. "

"Service stations with convenience stores or auto-repair shops make the most of their revenue from those more profitable services, not the sale of gasoline, [Assembly Person] Burzichelli said. Allowing gasoline to be priced below cost would allow stations to lower prices to attract more customers for those services while simultaneously providing a much-needed price break at the pump, he said.

New Jersey has required gas station owners to price their fuel above cost since 1938, when many states enacted laws to protect consumers from gas companies that would undercut competitors in sparse marketplaces to gain a monopoly on fuel sales, Burzichelli said."

Other employers are looking to take their own action to control the indirect costs of gas prices. Some ideas and concerns:

  • Provide gas allowance - note however this must be included in the employees income each year
  • Foster telecommuting - make sure that you have an appropriate security policy in place in your employment agreement, employee handbook, or other policy regarding remote access of computers. You may also want to invest in a program to be able to track an employee's productivity while out of the office
    • Adopt a flex workweek of 4 day / 10 hours, or 9 days/9 hours every 2 weeks - while you need to make sure your critical daily activities are covered, this may allow you to get all the work done for the week in a shorter period, and be a cost free "bonus" to the employees who not only have to commute less days, but get an extra day to address their out of office obligations (perhaps making for more productive employees)


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