Simple Steps to Small Business Savings

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    (Guest post from Brittany Evans)

    It’s amazing how much small purchases can add up when they are being done by an office. That’s because of the volumes involved. For example, a house may have five or 10 lamps inside, but an office can easily have 50-100 bulbs running during operating hours.

    Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to these sorts of things so they don’t become stealthy profit killers. Here are a few ways you can lower your operating overhead without compromising operations:

    Use a Thermostat With a Timer

    To maintain productivity and health, the office thermostat should always be set to comfortable levels during working hours — but you shouldn’t bother heating or cooling an empty building.

    If your company is always closed at night or on the weekend, set the thermostat to shut down the climate control during those hours. Make sure to have everything come online about an hour before people arrive for the next workday so no one has to be uncomfortable when the shift starts.

    Get Rid of Energy Vampires

    If you’re using standard incandescent lighting, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lights. Fixtures that already use fluorescent tubing should be checked to make sure that bulbs and ballasts are working properly.

    If either component begins to fail, it loses efficiency and fails to provide the proper lighting. Flickering fluorescent tubes will also cause lower productivity among workers who are sensitive to the flashing effect.

    Go Paperless

    Buy supplies online. To ensure that you have purchase protection, get a business credit card at American Express. Online stores often have much better rates than their physical counterparts. Don’t avoid small businesses either — these often have the best deals of all.

    Eliminate Disposable Cups

    Make everyone bring their own mug to work. This will eliminate both the expense of the cups and the need to make someone do all the dishes. If someone wants to let his mug go until it looks like it’s tar coated, it won’t affect anyone but him.

    Carry the Right Amount of Insurance

    If your policy is too low, you can find yourself on the hook for unexpected costs — but most businesses don’t need a policy that covers everything, either. Pick a level of coverage that will take care of anything you couldn’t afford to pay for yourself, but no more.

    Also, make sure you’re covered against specialized, local disasters like floods or hurricanes. Remember, hurricane insurance usually doesn’t cover water damage — if you’re in a hurricane zone, buy flood insurance too.

    Buy Nonperishable Supplies in Bulk Whenever Possible

    It’s almost always cheaper to buy a big package instead of a small one, and the savings are even greater if you can get a truly huge package. For items like toilet paper, ear plugs or other things your company will always use, buying small units is just throwing money away. Use a business credit card to make it easy to buy wholesale quantities and keep track of the purchases.

    By taking common-sense steps like these, you can save your company a surprising amount of money every month. Other tips include always seeking bids for contracted work and reviewing contracts for ongoing services on an annual basis. Even if you’re satisfied with your current providers, having competitive information handy can allow you to negotiate a better deal.