By Melissa Haley—It is very important to determine your service area along with your fees. How far will you go for $XX? At what distance does it become unprofitable to travel for that fee? How much more will it cost to travel to the location? How much will you need to add to your base fee to service a particular location?

When considering price, one must also be able to figure how much business will be requested at the location. It might be wise to travel a bit farther if there is volume in the location to justify the trip. But, volume alone should not be the deciding factor.

How do you determine if the benefits of additional travel outweigh the costs? First, you must know how much competition you have in that area. You must know how much potential there is for business in that location. You must know how long it takes to travel there at various times of day. Is there a lot of rush-hour traffic to get there? Is it mostly back roads with little light or other obstacles? These factors must be considered in determining your cost of doing business in a particular location.

Another factor to consider is if you need to make a second trip due to a no-sign, notary error or additional document request from the hiring party. These situations arise on occasion (we’re all human) and may make the trip less profitable. You will need to figure in additional wear and tear, mileage and time spent traveling when determining if an increased fee is justified.

This is yet another example why accurate business records and a business plan are an integral part of operating a business. If the groundwork is properly laid for the business, extracting the data required to make this decision will make determining service area and price much easier.