Charging a Holiday Fee


This month’s question was taken from the ATSI listserv. The answer was written by Paula Ford from Answer Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia.  I often receive the same question but have not found a better response than Paula’s.

Q. For those who charge a “holiday fee” to their clients, what feedback do you have?

A. Profit is not a four-letter word. It is the only real reason you started your own business anyway. Do you need the money to hire, train, compensate, and reward great employees?  Are you going to need to upgrade your phone equipment, buy new chairs and headsets, give cost of living raises, and pay increased rents and taxes? Do you need the money to offset overtime and bonus pay you must offer to get your staff to work holidays?

Business people look at the cost of their services and do everything they can to deliver them as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.  Next, they look at their total costs, including taxes, marketing, sales, depreciation, staff benefits, and so forth. Then they do their pricing. They do not price their services to “get by” or “keep afloat.” They price their services to make enough profit so that they can grow and prosper.

Yes, we all love our customers.  Yes, we like to help them grow their businesses. It’s great to know that most days we save at least one life.  But if we want to continue doing those great things, then we have to make money to stay in business.

If 5 percent of your clients throw a fit and cancel their service, let them; stop waste time trying to please them. That will leave more time to lavish on the highly profitable clients.

Implement the holiday charge – or just raise your regular monthly rate by $15 and advertise, “includes holiday coverage,” but one way or another, get the money you need to grow your business.

Couldn’t have said it better myself – Steve


Steve Michaels

About Steve Michaels

Mr. Michaels owned his own telephone answering service in Palo Alto, California and was the founder and publisher of the Connections Magazine. He has personally published over 200 TAS related articles including a monthly segment called "Mind Your Business" which was featured in Connections Magazine. He also e-mails a highly regarded newsletter called "TAS Tips" to over 1500 businesses. Steve has been a speaker for this industry and has worked for 4 major TAS/Voice mail companies including a manufacturing company, which he helped to take public.