Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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G. Esteban Fernandez G. Esteban Fernandez
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Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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Hi all,


I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to
charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab
uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing
scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a
peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).

Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to
mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!


Thanks,

Esteban
George McNamara George McNamara
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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Hi Esteban,

Our core is required to charge all users the same price. We do have one
microscope with a lower price nights, weekends, holidays (for fully
trained users). All of this is easy to do with iLab.

We do informally (since I don't know of a trivial way to do this in
iLab) allow some user labs -- i.e. major users labs -- to schedule
further ahead of time than other user labs. In fact, I encourage the
major users / labs to reserve (in iLab) several weeks in advance, and if
they want to routinely book (say) every Wednesday, 10am-5pm, great.

Both our main microscopes - Leica SP8 and Olympus FV3000RS - from
mid-January until Coronavirus induced work stoppage - had gotten to the
point of being  booked almost full workdays. This pretty much meant: no
new users! ... since we have a policy of training on the confocals
generally two 2 hour sessions during the workday. No 2 hour slots => no
new users. I anticipate that when we do get back to work, the previous
regular user base will pretty much book up all available time during
workdays, so could be a while before I have to deal with social
distancing vis-a-vis training users.

George

p.s. post corona ... I'll ask my supervisors about reversing our long
standing policy of: do not touch the microscopes, keyboard, computer
mouse, computer table with gloves on [do wear gloves handling specimens
when needed], to: bring your own gloves ["BYOG"], wear them all the
time, change them frequently [no pocketing used ones]. Will still have
corona issues on eyepiece shields, etc, but correct use of biosafety
gloves should help.


On 4/7/2020 9:38 PM, G. Esteban Fernandez wrote:

> *****
> To join, leave or search the confocal microscopy listserv, go to:
> http://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=confocalmicroscopy
> Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your posting.
> *****
>
> Hi all,
>
>
> I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to
> charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab
> uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing
> scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a
> peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).
>
> Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to
> mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Esteban
Jacqui Ross Jacqui Ross
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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Hi Esteban,

Hope all is well with you given the difficult times.

We apply a discount for time-lapse imaging over 4 hours for all systems, e.g. the first 4 hours are the standard charge and then it's reduced to 2/3 charge rate. We have also offered one system (a slide-scanner) at a reduced rate for after-hours usage to try to spread out the demand.

Kind regards,

Jacqui

-----Original Message-----
From: Confocal Microscopy List <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of G. Esteban Fernandez
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 1:38 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

*****
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Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your posting.
*****

Hi all,


I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to
charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab
uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing
scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a
peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).

Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to
mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!


Thanks,

Esteban
Jacqui Ross Jacqui Ross
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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*****

Hi Esteban,

I forgot to say in my previous email that the reduced charge for time-lapse studies is to try to make this more affordable as we do want to encourage people to do live cell/tissue imaging.

Kind regards,

Jacqui

-----Original Message-----
From: Confocal Microscopy List <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jacqueline Ross
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 2:07 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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*****

Hi Esteban,

Hope all is well with you given the difficult times.

We apply a discount for time-lapse imaging over 4 hours for all systems, e.g. the first 4 hours are the standard charge and then it's reduced to 2/3 charge rate. We have also offered one system (a slide-scanner) at a reduced rate for after-hours usage to try to spread out the demand.

Kind regards,

Jacqui

-----Original Message-----
From: Confocal Microscopy List <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of G. Esteban Fernandez
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 1:38 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

*****
To join, leave or search the confocal microscopy listserv, go to:
http://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=confocalmicroscopy
Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your posting.
*****

Hi all,


I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to
charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab
uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing
scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a
peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).

Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to
mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!


Thanks,

Esteban
Arvydas Matiukas Arvydas Matiukas
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

In reply to this post by G. Esteban Fernandez
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Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your posting.
*****

Hi Esteban,

Yes, for many years we have been using  the kind of  "sliding scale"
scheme in the form of  volume usage discounts set shown below:
(first fee is for LSM510, second for LSM780, not all fees are current)


Prime time (7am – 7pm Mon-Fri)                       $15/hr $25/hr

Off prime time (late night/weekend)                    $10/hr $20/hr

Whole day usage (24 hrs, weekdays Wed-Fri)    $180/day $300/day

Whole day usage (24 hrs, weekends)                 $150/day $225/day  

Volume discount (hours >200hrs/PI/FY)              $10/hr $20/hr

Power users (up to 2000hrs/PI/FY)                     $4,000/yr
$5,000/yr per year)




With these scheme in place major users may pay up to 8 times lower
average fee per hr (though total is  fixed per year) than occasional
users.
Major users also have priority scheduling.


Recently  the power user discount was scaled down to a quarter (our
billing cycle) because of charging restrictions imposed by
our accounting ( no volume prepay is allowed so power user is charged
regular fee until quarterly limit is reached, after that usage is "free"
until end of the quarter).
This approach allows the PI more uniform distribution of payments
throughout whole year.


Such scheme makes life and budget easier for major users (currently we
have two of them) but may reduce Core revenue.
Adjust the fee level according to your Core usage structure so that you
collect enough revenue.


Best regards,
Arvydas







+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Arvydas Matiukas, Ph.D.
Director of  Advanced Fluorescent Microscopy Core
Manager of NRB Shared Research Equipment

SUNY Upstate Medical University

>>> "G. Esteban Fernandez" <[hidden email]> 04/07/20 9:40
PM >>>
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 and include the link in your posting.
*****

Hi all,


I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to
charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a
lab
uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other
pricing
scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do
a
peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).

Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to
mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!


Thanks,

Esteban
Tim Feinstein Tim Feinstein
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

In reply to this post by G. Esteban Fernandez
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Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your posting.
*****

Hi Esteban,  a lot of cores are bound by grants or their institution to charge all users the same price.  However (depending on what sort of agreements you have to work with) you can finesse rates to accommodate different kinds of use.  

In my last role I set one rate for assisted use, a lower rate for independent use (after passing a certification), and a night & weekend rate.  The night & weekend rate was great for high volume users and time-lapse studies, and it helped the core by shifting bigger jobs to a time slot when they wouldn't prevent others users from working.  

Best,


T
       
Timothy Feinstein, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
University of Pittsburgh Department of Developmental Biology


-----Original Message-----
From: Confocal Microscopy List [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of G. Esteban Fernandez
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2020 9:38 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

*****
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*****

Hi all,


I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).

Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!


Thanks,

Esteban
Armstrong, Brian Armstrong, Brian
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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*****
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*****

Hi Estaban, I hope you are well. I was told by a consultant that was reviewing our policies in order to adhere to NIH, NCI as well as other funding bodies, that it is not appropriate to have differential pricing structures because it favors larger labs with more funding. A small lab with a small amount of funds will inherently do less imaging and will have to pay a higher price for it. Conversely, the labs with the most people and funding will use the systems more and will receive the biggest discount. This seems unfair.

We do not have a decreased rate during off hours. In my opinion this encourages users to use systems late at night or on the weekends. When a user operates the systems late at night without any guidance the chances for misuse of the system increases. This relates to care of the system, laser safety and even the fidelity of the imaging parameters (and yes I think we play some role in ensuring that grad students and post-docs are acquiring data that is ethical and quantifiable). For this same reason we do not charge for assistance. We want the user to ask for help rather than avoid it.

We do have discounted rates for long-term imaging (>24 hours) for live cell imaging on the Confocal and live cell imaging systems.

Best wishes,  

Brian Armstrong PhD
Associate Research Professor
Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases
Director, Light Microscopy Core
Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope


-----Original Message-----
From: Confocal Microscopy List [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of G. Esteban Fernandez
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2020 6:38 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

[Attention: This email came from an external source. Do not open attachments or click on links from unknown senders or unexpected emails.]

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Post images on https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.imgur.com__;!!Fou38LsQmgU!8MKw_QSNMoFGM2UdS166IfIYMWgnOeh4gxjEYV1IZhquK50wR9uGA-cQahX85nE$  and include the link in your posting.
*****

Hi all,


I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).

Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!


Thanks,

Esteban

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Cammer, Michael-2 Cammer, Michael-2
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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*****

We have fee structures whereby work in the evenings or weekends may be less than peak hours.  These fees must be applied equally to all users as per gov't mandates.  Keep good records; you may be audited.


There are discounts for researchers in certain programs, such as cancer center or liver center users, but I believe the individual users are getting the discounts because the difference is made up by the programs paying.  (In a previous position, some years the core collected more from the grants than the discount to users, so this was  good deal for the core.)  I don't know the details of how this works where I am now (very glad there are finance people who handle this), but again, records are being kept (in iLab) to conform to gov't regulations.


Michael Cammer, Sr Research Scientist, DART Microscopy Laboratory

NYU Langone Health, 540 First Avenue, SK2 Microscopy Suite, New York, NY  10016

[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>  http://nyulmc.org/micros  http://microscopynotes.com/

Voice direct only, no text or messages:  1-914-309-3270 and 1-646-501-0567



________________________________
From: Confocal Microscopy List <[hidden email]> on behalf of Brian Armstrong <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 12:14:53 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

[EXTERNAL]

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*****

Hi Estaban, I hope you are well. I was told by a consultant that was reviewing our policies in order to adhere to NIH, NCI as well as other funding bodies, that it is not appropriate to have differential pricing structures because it favors larger labs with more funding. A small lab with a small amount of funds will inherently do less imaging and will have to pay a higher price for it. Conversely, the labs with the most people and funding will use the systems more and will receive the biggest discount. This seems unfair.

We do not have a decreased rate during off hours. In my opinion this encourages users to use systems late at night or on the weekends. When a user operates the systems late at night without any guidance the chances for misuse of the system increases. This relates to care of the system, laser safety and even the fidelity of the imaging parameters (and yes I think we play some role in ensuring that grad students and post-docs are acquiring data that is ethical and quantifiable). For this same reason we do not charge for assistance. We want the user to ask for help rather than avoid it.

We do have discounted rates for long-term imaging (>24 hours) for live cell imaging on the Confocal and live cell imaging systems.

Best wishes,

Brian Armstrong PhD
Associate Research Professor
Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases
Director, Light Microscopy Core
Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope


-----Original Message-----
From: Confocal Microscopy List [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of G. Esteban Fernandez
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2020 6:38 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

[Attention: This email came from an external source. Do not open attachments or click on links from unknown senders or unexpected emails.]

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*****

Hi all,


I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).

Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!


Thanks,

Esteban

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Ben Abrams-2 Ben Abrams-2
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

In reply to this post by G. Esteban Fernandez
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*****

Hi Esteban,

When people run 24-hour experiments on our confocal instruments, the
most that they will get charged in any 24-hour period is for 16 hours.
This requires a bit of manual tallying when billing time comes, but it
has been manageable so far and helps facilitates around the clock use of
our instruments.  We've set up "per hour" rates and "per day" rates for
this.  We have been able to justify the discount based on lower cost &
wear and tear on the instruments due to fewer sample changes during long
imaging runs. Hope this helps.

Best,
Ben

On 4/7/20 6:38 PM, G. Esteban Fernandez wrote:

> *****
> To join, leave or search the confocal microscopy listserv, go to:
> http://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=confocalmicroscopy
> Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your posting.
> *****
>
> Hi all,
>
>
> I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to
> charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a lab
> uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other pricing
> scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do a
> peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).
>
> Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to
> mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Esteban

--
Benjamin Abrams,  Ph.D.
Director
UCSC Life Sciences Microscopy Center

University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
150 Sinsheimer labs
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

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G. Esteban Fernandez G. Esteban Fernandez
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Re: Pricing for high-volume core confocal use

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Thanks for sharing everyone!  It's great to get some perspective from
hearing what others do.  This will help us devise a new pricing structure
once this is all over and we get back in the lab...

-Esteban

On Wed, Apr 8, 2020 at 10:13 AM Ben Abrams <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> *****
> To join, leave or search the confocal microscopy listserv, go to:
> http://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=confocalmicroscopy
> Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your posting.
> *****
>
> Hi Esteban,
>
> When people run 24-hour experiments on our confocal instruments, the
> most that they will get charged in any 24-hour period is for 16 hours.
> This requires a bit of manual tallying when billing time comes, but it
> has been manageable so far and helps facilitates around the clock use of
> our instruments.  We've set up "per hour" rates and "per day" rates for
> this.  We have been able to justify the discount based on lower cost &
> wear and tear on the instruments due to fewer sample changes during long
> imaging runs. Hope this helps.
>
> Best,
> Ben
>
> On 4/7/20 6:38 PM, G. Esteban Fernandez wrote:
> > *****
> > To join, leave or search the confocal microscopy listserv, go to:
> > http://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=confocalmicroscopy
> > Post images on http://www.imgur.com and include the link in your
> posting.
> > *****
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> >
> > I’m wondering if any of you in core facilities employ a sliding scale to
> > charge for instrument time based on cumulative hours, as in the more a
> lab
> > uses confocal in a month the cheaper it gets per hour, or any other
> pricing
> > scheme to alleviate cost for high-volume users (I know a lot of cores do
> a
> > peak vs. non-peak hourly rate but I’m looking for alternatives to that).
> >
> > Any comments/recommendations regarding volume discounts or other ways to
> > mitigate cost for major users are much appreciated. Thank you!
> >
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Esteban
>
> --
> Benjamin Abrams,  Ph.D.
> Director
> UCSC Life Sciences Microscopy Center
>
> University of California, Santa Cruz
> 1156 High Street
> 150 Sinsheimer labs
> Santa Cruz, CA 95064
>
> Office/voicemail: (831) 459-3999
> Mobile: (831) 332-0911
>
> http://stemcell.soe.ucsc.edu/facilities/microscopy
>
> Training Request Form:
> http://goo.gl/forms/M9jd1ZHyohTnj0xk1
>