8 Ways to Reduce Office Running Costs

Office expenses eat into your company’s bottom line, so you need to make sure you keep them under control. From rent and utilities to the basic necessities for processing paperwork, you have expenses that are associated with being in business. Your goal as a manager or business owner is to keep those costs to a minimum without impairing your ability to operate.

To help give you some direction in this important area of your business, you will find 8 ways to reduce office running costs below.

  1. Recycle: Position bins near your printers to make it easy to recover paper from bad print jobs. Many times you can use this paper for notes and memos rather than using expensive sticky notes or phone memo pads. Additionally, look into ways to recycle or refill used ink and toner cartridges. You can also find recyclers who will pay for your expended cartridges or donate them to a charity to get a tax deduction. If you use a lot of aluminum cans, set up a separate container for disposal and then take them to the recycling plant yourself where you can get paid for them rather than letting your municipality have them for free.
  2. Shop around for supplies: With the advent of big box office supply stores, competition in the industry intensified. This means that many companies are willing to give you introductory discounts or price guarantees just to get a shot at your business. Also, don’t rule out local office supply companies: they have learned to find ways to compete against the national players that may benefit your business in the form of lower supply costs.
  3. Control your power usage: Most businesses can save a lot of money just by being more conscious about how you use electricity. For example, you can have your employees turn off their computers at the end of the day rather than leave them running. Use thermostat timers to change to conservative settings before the end of the work day and restoring them prior to the beginning of the next business day. Turn off lights in unused rooms and enable power conservation modes on all your printers.
  4. Change to a virtual office configuration: You can save costly rent and utility expenses by eliminating your office altogether. You can have your employees work from home and communicate over Voice over IP (VoIP) applications like Skype or Google Voice. When you need to meet as a team or with clients, rent a room at FedEx Kinko’s or use the meeting facilities at your local library. If you need a street address, consider using the UPS Store or a business presence service in the locality of your choice.
  5. Use non-traditional labor: Hiring employees constitutes an enormous cost, especially in uncertain economic times, so why not save money by hiring virtual workers? You can sign up for services such as oDesk and other freelance and contract worker outlets online and get your work done quickly and efficiently. From virtual assistants to network administrators, you can fill just about every position in your company with a non-traditional worker.
  6. Ditch the phone company: With Voice over IP services now in the mainstream, you can save money on communications by cutting out your local telephone company. Operators like Skype, Google Voice, and SIP Gate offer phone number either for free or at very low prices so you can stay in touch with your employees, customers, and vendors for pennies per month.
  7. Document and review business processes: Observe and document every task that your business requires and how each task is completed. By eliminating non-essential tasks and improving the efficiency of remaining tasks you can operate more efficiently by reducing time and labor expenses.
  8. Reduce software expenses: Keeping up with the latest software versions from Microsoft, Adobe, and other mainstream providers can seriously erode your profitability. Cut out some of these expenses by switching to a free operating system such as Ubuntu Linux and using open source office solutions such as OpenOffice, GIMP, and Inkscape. A lot of software is available that will meet the needs of your office at either little or no expense to you.

Get started with these 8 ways to reduce office running costs and you will be surprised at how much money you can save. Keep looking for new and innovative ways to save and you will find your reward on your bottom line.

John Brook writes for OfficeKitten.co.uk, a leading specialist in the supply of office stationery to businesses in the UK.

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