Don’t you just hate it when you see a great price on airfare but when you finally get to the payment screen, the price has increased, sometimes even doubled, because of all the added taxes and fees? Things like government taxes and fees and perhaps even a fuel surcharge are thrown in. Extra charges on international flights can total hundreds of dollars — sometimes more than the ticket itself!
According to a report I heard on NPR, a new rule that goes into effect later this month will require airlines to include government taxes and fees — along with any mandatory charges — in their advertised fares. The consumer has the right to know the final price they will pay upfront.
As a frequent traveler I think this is a great rule! But I think it should apply to ALL purchases in life. Even ERP software. Of course, buying and installing accounting/ERP software is not a point A to point B trip. But there are some “hidden costs” that you should make sure you ask about up front.
1. Does the quote include travel time? This is a common hidden cost that can rack up quickly. Each time the consultant comes to your office during the installation they may charge you. Is mileage/travel time included in the quote? Does that partner have technology to do work remotely, thus avoiding travel costs altogether?
2. What is the hourly rate? Make sure you know the hourly rate you will be charged not just the total project cost. Any “out of scope” or unanticipated work, will be charged at the hourly rate, and it could be higher than you think.
3. Did the system you saw in the demo include any ISV or add on products? That feature that you loved in the demo, that you assume is part of the core system, might turn out to be an
4. How much training is included in your quote? You might assume that you will receive adequate training but find out later that the Partner only included 2 hours of training, and will charge more when this proves to be insufficient (which it will). Insist that your quote include a detailed breakdown of how much time is estimated for each step of the implementation process, not just a lump sum of hours.
5. What level of data conversion is included? You might think that full data conversion is included but find out later that this is an extra cost. Or perhaps you expected detailed history and the partner only quoted time for summary history.
6. Are there any support calls included in the quote or annual maintenance plan? If not, what is the Partner’s billing policy? When you call for support, will you be billed for a full hour or in 15-minute increments?
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By Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions,