Small businesses, or even freelancers and consultants who work from home, often struggle with overhead costs. These regular expenses eat at your profit margins and can even shove you into debt during the lean season.
Here are some money saving tips to help you control your business overhead expenses. Like all of o5.com’s recipes for life, these are concrete, practical and tested by people just like you!
Money saving tip # 1: Look for mobile stores.
Renting a permanent retail location is quite pricey. Depending on the area, you could spend about $100,000—and that doesn’t include cost of decorating the area, or hiring the people to man it.
You spend considerably less by getting a kiosk or a cart. Plus, the leases on kiosks are carts are generally shorter (some establishments allow one-year leases), so this is great if you want to try out a location.
Another option is to rent stalls in bazaars and trade shows, which lock you in for just a few days. However, do your research before signing up for any event. How many people does the bazaar attract? How many times have they held the event? What other goods will be sold there?
Money saving tip # 2: Watch your ink.
Printer ink is one of those small expenses that add up and sneak up on you at the end of the year. You can save a lot by getting recycled printer cartridges. Or, you can get a deal for corporate discounts. Some ink suppliers also lease the printer for free as long as you order ink from them—so you don’t have to spend on buying or repairing printers, and can get a new model when your unit breaks down.
Money saving tip # 3: Make your own forms.
So this does eat up on printer ink (see money saving tip # 3) but downloading free forms and printing them out are much cheaper than buying them from the bookstore.
Money saving tip # 4: Take advantage of free software.
Websites like download.com offer hundreds of software that are either free or have trial or demo versions. While you may, eventually, have to buy one, at least you had tried it out and really know what you need.
Money saving tip # 5: Be on the lookout for used equipment.
Visit auction websites or look at the classified ads of newspapers and trade publications for any announcements on used equipment. Many of these machines are sold at 40% of their original price, but of course you should look at the quality before actually forking over your cash. You may not want to buy secondhand computers (especially if they’re old and slow) but there’s nothing wrong with getting secondhand office furniture, or something you need but won’t use often, like a scanner or fax machine.
Photo from financialnut.com