If you are an operator, you know what I mean by that question. It’s the type of drama processing through your mind after several years of getting paid at the same affiliate rate offered when you signed that network contract five years ago.
When you sign a contract with a network, you have high hopes of getting more business pumped in by Music Express, Commonwealth Worlwide, Empire CLS, Savoya or any of the nation’s big players. The contract signing usually is the final process of a dog and pony show where you tell the network how you are the best choice in your local market and you will represent them well in your area. The hopes and dreams are big.
The relationship may have started with a call from an affiliate manager saying they had work in your area. Maybe you threw out a rate, maybe they threw out a rate but somehow, you agreed to a rate. But was it meant to be forever and ever and ever? Yeah, most contracts don’t have a clause for a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) built in leaving you stuck. Perhaps, forever.
One day, you realize that you are getting paid the same rate you were getting six years ago. The network sends you at least six or seven rides a month like clockwork. You ponder sending them a letter telling them due to increased costs and increased minimum wages you must adjust your rates.
Then, you wonder if they will just call someone else in your market that would love to have those six or seven rides a month for the same rate or less than what you are charging. And then you decide you probably value the relationship more than they do so you are going to keep your mouth shut and continue working for the rate you gave them back in 2008 rather than risk upsetting the apple cart.
Or, perhaps, if you just call the affiliate manager and explain that you need to adjust your rates and ask what might be worked out, the affiliate manager might adjust your rate up by a few dollars an hour. On second thought, who wants to upset the apple cart? That’s the way it really goes down in this business. Am I right?
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