5 Tips for Saving Money on Common Business Expenses

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Posted by Joel Thompson

When you're in charge of business management for a small to medium business (SMB), managing your budget effectively is one of the most important factors to consider. Day-to-day business expenses can stack up if one is not carefully monitoring them—it’s also helpful to know where to look for deals on the everyday expenses as everything counts at the end of the day! The more you save, the more margin your business has left. 

Here, we provide five tips for saving money on the more common business expenses you will face.

Office product deals. Sites like RapidBuyr provide deals on over 30,000 office products, including printer paper, toner, pens…the list goes on. The deals tend to be between 10% and 30% off of the cost of the same products at big box suppliers, so are well worth the visit. 

They also have a unique referral  program called Friends with Benefits, which allows you to earn 5% back on all products your friends buy when you refer them. You can spend that 5% on everything from office supplies to an AmEx gift card.

Marketing material design. Consider hiring a freelance designer to handle your marketing materials. Things like business cards, posters, fliers, brochures, and even your website can be handled by a great freelancer. 

Don’t overpay and agency or design firm to handle your collateral when all they are really doing is marking up the value of someone you can pay on a freelance basis. Ask other SMBs whom they use to handle their collateral, as you can often get great referrals that way. 

Buy in volume. It’s the old Costco mentality. In the case of office products, paper coffee cups, and marketing materials, buying in higher volumes enables lower prices. In addition to getting lower product pricing at higher volumes, you may also save on shipping costs depending on the volume you order. Just be sure not to overbuy if a product is not something you’ll be using long-term.

Buy things like toilet paper and printer paper at volume for improved pricing.

Share costs with neighboring SMBs. If you have neighbors, share costs like those of trash and recycling. There is no need for each of you to be paying for the same service separately. You can also combine efforts in ordering office supplies to get the better rates at higher volumes.

Buy used office furniture. Visit websites like Arnolds Office Furniture or Craigslist to get great deals on used office furniture. There is absolutely no need to pay full price for things like tables and chairs, and even things like printers and faxes.

You can find really nice, gently worn office furniture online.

There are many ways you can (and should try to!) save money as an SMB. There’s no reason to pay full price when so many businesses truly exist to provide great deals for businesses like your own. Absolutely take advantage of the benefit of buying office products at volume, whether on your own or in concert with other SMBs. There is also no reason to pay full price for things like office furniture, printers, and faxes when there are so many used products that are still in great shape and available for purchase. Why spend needlessly when there are so many great resources for SMBs?

Have a great tip for saving money as an SMB? Share your idea with us! 

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who writesabout everything from matters of small business managementto digital marketing strategies. She is currently VP of Operations for Two Degrees, a one-for-one food bar company, and is formerly President and COO of American MoJo, a social venture in the apparel manufacturing sector.