Will Rising Gas Prices Fuel Changes in Business Practices?

By
Home Stager with Staging Impressions

I spoke to a gentleman at a wedding recently who lives in Germany and found out that in Bavaria they are paying $9.00 a gallon for gas.  While living in Michigan these days often feels like living in the mountains (my newly planted geraniums survived the threat of frost last evening; I'm not as confident about the sweet potato vines) and $4.07 is less than $9.00 it is still a significant hit to business and personal expenses.  So I am pondering how I reduce, absorb or share the additional expenses. 

Last week I had an appointment and when I rang the doorbell and two barking dogs joined in the alert, there was no answer.  Fortunately for me I have only been stood up (talking business here) 3 or 4 times to the best of my recollection in the last 7 years I have been involved in real estate and home staging and 2 of these events occurred within the last year.  With gas prices reaching an all time high how do I/we prevent further situations like this from occurring and how do we gently remind the general public that courtesy counts and we professionally and personally do not want to contribute to global warming and increased costs by driving unnecessary miles when a simple phone call or e-mail would have done the trick.  Yes everyone needs to continue to confirm appointments in advance, but that doesn't always do the trick. 

I know of a few people that will charge to go out for the first appointment.  I am not one of them but the thought has crossed my mind and will probably get stronger if gas prices continue to climb.  I also wonder if I should increase mileage costs, but in Michigan it is still an uphill battle to get proposals and bids accepted and many stagers are discounting to get jobs (sad but true.)   My heart goes out to Realtors® that have turned into taxi drivers showing 40+ homes to buyers.  Internet searches will certainly gain in importance as gas prices increase. 

Fear of rambling reminds me to close this blog.  First and foremost I think it is time to remind everyone of common courtesy.  We need to treat each other as we would want to be treated.  If someone suddenly regrets setting an appointment or if they are unsure, call and cancel in advance.  We are business professionals who have faced this before.  On the receiving end of a cancellation, we need to make the prospect comfortable and not grill them too much.  They might want to reschedule at another time and how you gracefully handle the situation may impact future opportunities and relationships.  An emergency might have come up and they didn't reach you on time and then were too embarrassed.  I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Another opportunity will come along and a friendly smile to greet you on the opposite side of the door. 

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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Don't compare our gasoline prices with prices in any European country.  Their prices carry enough taxes to pay for their socialized medicine.  Nor do we get state ordered 5 weeks vacation each year.

 

May 28, 2008 02:40 AM #1
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Marie Meyer
Keller Williams Realty - Central Valley, NY
Orange County New York Realtor

Hi Deborah ... good post.  A wasted trip has so much more significance now; it is difficult to not resent it.  However, I agree that remaining professional is important. 

May 28, 2008 03:04 AM #2
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Michelle Hall
Century 21 Hecht - Denver, NC

Deborah, I see this becoming more and more of a problem and as gas prices get higher I have to develop a strategy to maintain my professionalism but not get robbed by gas prices.  It will be a challenge, especially when I heard on the news that the cost of gas will probably go up to $200 a barrel. 

I also agree with Lenn.  This society will be the ones to suffer the most.  Gas prices may seem cheaper than those in Europe but they are built to handle it.  Many ride mopeds, everyone walks everywhere, and they do get some kind of payback like Lenn had mentioned.  Everything is so spread out in the U.S that it makes it difficult to walk to where you want to go.  The closest grocery store is 3 miles from my house.  There is no way I would be able to carry groceries back, whereas, in Europe there are a lot of villages with everything you need in a close walking distance.  My husband just got back from spending a month in Europe and their lifestyle can definitely handle the gas prices unlike us. 

May 28, 2008 03:53 AM #3
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Deborah Chene
Staging Impressions - Farmington Hills, MI

Len and Michelle,

Thanks for your comments.  The comparison to gas prices was mainly to draw attention to our changing environment and impact on home staging and real estate business practices and not to start a political and economic debate.  It was an introduction to hopefully draw you in to read further.  I do understand that in certain villages and areas of Europe they can leave their cars parked and walk or use mass transit.  Not every area is that fortunate and many Europeans complain about rising prices for their mass transit.   The gentleman I spoke with said that he is fortunate in that he lives in a small village where he can walk.  I know I can't do that very easily.  Comparing our gas prices to European gas prices is an accepted and common practice so I stand by that.  All you have to do is Google and you will see that experts and news sources do a much better job at covering it than I want or intended to. 

My mother was recently asked to pay a $15 mileage fee for a service provider that she has used for years.  Next year we will have to ask is it more important for her to be comfortable with her contractor or do we look for someone closer that won't charge her a fee. 

May 29, 2008 12:35 AM #4
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Deborah Chene

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