AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsHis overhead includes gasoline for his truck and for lawn mowers, edgers, blowers and rototillers; fertilizer; tools and tool sharpening; liability insurance; wages for his helpers – and his own salary and profits. A painting contractor who never gave a thought to performing an on-site estimate now thinks twice. His industry has been hit hard in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the price of raw materials increased. “We would give a lot of free estimates for repeat customers, but people who are calling who we haven’t worked for before – for a relatively small job, we would have to think about that,” said Maria Trafecanty, who works at Joseph Anthony Painting. The rate for the second caller likely would be quoted over the phone. Trafecanty said higher gas prices must be factored into materials costs. Filling up the truck costs $60 to $100, and since the hurricane paint manufacturers have raised prices 10 percent, and the cost of some materials such as plastic dropcloths has tripled. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Santa Clarita has risen from $2.89 a month ago to $3.34 today, according to a monthly price survey conducted by the Automobile Club of Southern California. SANTA CLARITA – As gasoline prices continue their climb, people who provide everyday services are raising prices to stay afloat. Some have already tacked on the additional charge, others will soon. “I may have to raise (my prices) $5 to $10 a month a home,” said Raul Garibay, a gardener and landscaper who charges $80 a month and up, but plans to raise the price in a week or so. “Gas is way too high.” Garibay routinely visits 19 to 26 houses a day, starting at 7 a.m. and ending around 5 p.m. Across the state, the average price in May was $3.38, up from $2.86 in April. Nationally, the average price is $2.94. While people can choose to cut their own lawns or paint their own homes, some older folks are unable to hop in the car to run errands or drive to the doctor. Like a taxi driver, caregiver Phyllis Miller, 68, has been forced to tack on fees for gas based on the distance covered. Most of her clients are elderly people who are disabled and get by on fixed incomes. She has begun charging an extra $5 for outings of a mile or two, $7.50 for distances of 5 to 10 miles and $10 for more than 10 miles. The end may not be in sight. “I have tried not to increase my hourly wage, but if gas prices get worse I will have to do that,” she said. “I’m on a fixed income too.” On Monday, Miller chauffeured an 82-year-old Newhall woman to a doctor in Valencia, and later, to a drugstore in Canyon Country. The woman paid $12.50 for service that months ago would have been complimentary. Seniors are not the only ones stymied by the high cost of visiting the doctor. More patients have been riding the bus to reach the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center in Val Verde, which provides services on a sliding scale. The center’s patients hail from Newhall, Canyon Country and Val Verde. Patients travel from the San Fernando Valley and Glendale to reach the center’s Canyon Country facility, and some have been rationing the privilege. “We have a lot of patients not showing because of the economy, because they don’t have a way to get here,” said Silvia Sanchez, the clinic’s supervisor. “Either they pay the doctor or they pay gas. They say, `We’re waiting for another two weeks to go.”‘ Sanchez said this scenario has been common recently, and some patients who must return to discuss lab results postpone the appointment. The pattern has been repeated among some clients of the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry, who are eligible to pick up food twice a month, but who only visit once a month because they cannot afford to make the trip, said Belinda Crawford, the pantry’s executive director. [email protected] (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!