For a small business, it’s important to save money wherever possible. If you know a few simple tricks, you can easily save money on your essential business services such as utilities, technology, telecoms and even business website.
Having previously founded UK’s leading small business telecoms provider and also an online office supplies company, I’m able to share some insights on how your business can keep costs low in these areas.
Here are 5 things you can easily do, just commit a few minutes to each and you’ll get some considerable savings.
1. Never commit to contracts over 12 months.
Suppliers will often try to sign you up to a long-term contract on the basis that they will freeze your prices. Of course, a long-term contract is much more beneficial to the supplier, and you can end up locked in to a deal which doesn’t offer the best value.
Look for deals with little or no commitment required, and make sure you’re able to switch if prices rise. Big companies get low prices because they have the time to renegotiate their contracts and request new quotes each year. A few phone calls can make all the difference.
2. Make sure you are on the best tariff.
With many different tariffs available, it can be hard to know if you’re getting the best deal. For example, mobile phone or energy tariffs are so complicated (with hidden costs and conditions) that you are unlikely to identify the best tariff.
The quickest way to find out is to call and ask for a better tariff. Say you are unsatisfied with your latest bill, and if that does not work, escalate to their cancellations department and you are sure to get their best tariff.
Most companies will go out of their way to keep you as their customer, and many will even allow you to haggle to get a better price. Just this month the top ten companies for haggling were revealed, with the AA, Sky, and Virgin Media topping the list.
It emerged that 86% of people got a discount from the top provider, just by asking.
3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
It may be tempting to get as many services as you can from one provider, but this is not the best way to save cash. One-stop-shop services (Jack-of-all-trades but great at nothing) are bound to disappoint, unless they are selling services that are complementary.
Get your broadband and mobile phone from your fixed line telecoms provider but don’t buy your business websites and online media products from them. They will not have the core skills nor the expertise to provide the same value as it will be outsourced via partners at a marked-up price. And when you need support, you will be transferred from pillar to post before you speak to the right person.
4. Always get multiple suppliers to quote.
You never know the true value of something unless you have a sense of the market prices.
Don’t accept a quote straight away – do some research to see if it’s a good deal. It takes a few clicks to price comparison sites, which can be a great way to get an idea of the price you should be paying. You could also get in touch with multiple providers to see which will offer you the best deal.
Websites like Approved Index which will ask you to fill a form and automatically get 3-5 suppliers contact you within hours with their best quotes.
5. Cherry pick each time you place orders.
The average small business spends around £500 per employee per year on office supplies.
A simple way to cut this cost is to buy all your office supplies online – it’s common to see prices around 30% cheaper than the high street.
However, prices vary greatly between online providers depending on what products you buy. By cherry picking the best-priced products between 2-3 suppliers you could save another 15% or more.