Thinking about costs and revenues when setting a price

Here’s a great example of how you need to think about costs when setting a price for a product or service. During the recent volcanic ash cloud over Europe (April/May 2010), many travellers were left with no option but to hire a car to drive home. One result of this was that 100’s of hire cars from Spain and Portugal ended up in places like Kiel and Rostock in Northern Germany as people from the Baltic states and Scandinavia tried to get home. To get these cars back to their places of origin was a problem. So what at least one major hire car company did was to offer cars for hire for €1 per rental period (incl. the fuel in the tank) once they were going south. Over a few weeks 70-80% of the fleet were back to where the needed to be or a lot closer. But surely no profit could be made at a price of €1. No, none was, but think about the costs saved by not having to hire additional car transporter trucks to carry the cars 1000’s of miles! So the “profit” was made by saving costs.
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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

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