Operations

Farming In & Out: Common Sense and Etiquette

Jim Luff
Posted on December 12, 2011

Deciding who to broker work to
On occasion it becomes necessary to have someone else perform a job for you either because you don’t have a vehicle available or your client needs service in another location. If you belong to a network such as Limolink or Limos.com, there are written rules on behavior and expectations. But if you have to go outside the network, you should know who you are trusting with the work. Even if you simply use the NLA or ABA directories, members of these organizations tend to care enough about the industry to join an association and will adhere to industry standards.


Expectations for both companies
If you have expectations such as where and how you want your client met at the airport, you must clearly convey that in writing to the company you are asking to perform the service for you. Do not assume they do it the same way you do. If you don’t want their driver to mention their company name, spell it out. While the intention is good on the part of owners and managers to avoid mentioning it is a farm job, sometimes drivers have loose lips. Any instructions written should be provided to the driver. Having all expectations put in writing, including payment arrangements, will help ensure a good relationship for both companies and the client being served.


Confirmation calls
From the receiving end, it can be annoying to have a company call you the day before the ride or the day of the ride to make sure you are planning to do the work. While these calls may seem annoying, they are certainly worth the bother. Mistakes happen. No matter who dropped the ball, the ball lands in the lap of the company originally accepting the order. The client is relying solely upon the company called to deliver service as promised. If you are the originating company, making the confirmation call the day before or the day of the trip should be mandatory to protect your reputation.


Reporting information promptly
We all need to charge our client once services are completed. Whether we are sending them an invoice or processing the credit card for final charges, reporting the final details of the trip is important. Do not delay in reporting the actual start time, end time and any extra fees such as tolls or parking fees paid that will be passed on to the client. No client is happy when you contact them after final settlement to ask for more money for an incidental expense. Final charges should be final and if you forgot to charge the affiliate in your initial billing, you should consider absorbing the additional charge to avoid placing your affiliate in an uncomfortable position.


Payment arrangements
Having a clear and defined payment arrangement for the work is as important as delivering the service. If you are not prepared to carry the balance for a long time, you should consider requiring a credit card at the time the order is placed. Otherwise, there is no guarantee of when you might receive payment even if you have a written agreement. The agreement is not usually compelling enough to sit down and write the check. Beware of companies that say they need 45 days or longer to process payments. We live in an electronic world where money can be transferred within a matter of minutes between accounts. Everyone is calculating the cost of the trip within a few days of the trip being completed and there is no reason to avoid payment once the final charge has been computed and transmitted between companies.

 

Related Topics: affiliate networks, farm-in farm-out, New Operator

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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