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Small businesses often spend a significant percentage of their operating costs on office supplies, utilities, coffee, snacks, decorations and other non-essentials to create an amiable work environment. By cutting back on these costs, you can help your small business save money without sacrificing employee comfort. Here are some ways to scale back on everyday office expenses without sacrificing the “must haves” around the workplace:


1. Let your employees know that disposable coffee cups will no longer be provided, and encourage them to bring mugs/thermoses from home. Not only can this save $300-500 a year, but it also significantly reduces waste, which helps to reduce your carbon footprint.

2. Consider buying the most expensive and frequently used items in bulk, including coffee and printer ink and toner.

Equipment & Utilities

3.  Save on your electricity bill by “powering down” all electronic equipment at night. Ask each employee to turn off their computers when they are done for the day and have the office manager turn off copiers, fax machines and even coffee pots each night -- this can decrease your energy bill up to one-third every year.

4. Switch out your office’s incandescent light bulbs for high-quality fluorescents.  Although the initial investment will be more expensive, your small business can save up to 75 percent off your current lighting bill over the long-term, as these bulbs are rated to last eight times as long.

5. Seal air leaks around windows and doors to increase your heating and cooling efficiency. You may also consider opening windows in the spring, summer and fall months instead of using air conditioning or heating systems to regulate the temperature in your office.

6. Reduce the number of phone and fax lines to the bare minimum number needed to conduct business without sacrificing customer service.  While you’re at it, talk to your provider about special promotions for small businesses to reduce your overall bill as well.

7. Save paper and money with email-to-fax services. Plans start around $4.95 a month, and include electronic delivery of faxes directly into your email inbox. Junk faxes can be deleted immediately (saving money on ink and paper) and others can simply be printed as normal.

8. Sell old or unused office furniture, electronics, supplies and uniforms to increase cash flow and free up valuable space.

Large Expenses

9. Renegotiate your office lease or ask for a temporary reduction during traditionally slow periods for your business.  Particularly in commercial buildings where vacancies are high, you may be surprised at how much your leasing company is willing to negotiate with you.

10. Conduct a thorough review of your insurance expenses, as many small businesses spend thousands of dollars a year on insurance they don’t need or could simply find cheaper elsewhere. Ask your insurance agent about a multiple policy discount or small business rate for auto, liability, health and worker’s compensation insurance policies.

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