Not all business expenses have to be fixed at a certain rate. In fact, there are several things you spend money on every month that you could be negotiating a lower price for. These seven business expenses are often overlooked as being negotiable, but with the right research, you’ll be able to lower the costs by a few dollars or even a few thousand per month. Keep reading to learn about seven business expenses that are more negotiable than you think.
1. Employee Benefits
Employee benefits combined with labor costs can add up to thousands of dollars per year for your business. While you certainly want to provide your employees with a decent benefits package, if doing so is going to bankrupt your business, you aren’t really helping anyone in the long run.
Employee benefits packages can be acquired based on the specific benefits you want to provide, and with so many healthcare and 401k options out there, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a plan that’s more affordable than your current one. While you shouldn’t strip your employees of their current benefits, making slight changes can significantly lower the cost of maintaining these plans; especially if you manage several hundred employees.
Did you know you can change gas or electric providers? Your electric/gas company simply handles your account and runs the lines to your business. Third-party companies can offer a natural gas or electric supply that can often be cheaper than what you’re paying for now.
Many third-party providers even offering electric from wind, solar, or other alternative power sources; so you’ll not only be saving money, but you’ll also be doing your part to improve the environment by using clean energy.
Take a look at your electric bill and see how much you’re paying per kilowatt hour. Research electricity providers in your hour and compare their rates with your current rate to get a better idea of where you should go for a more affordable energy provider. Utilities can add up quickly, so anything you can do to shave off a few dollars from the bill can help your business tremendously.
3. Internet/Phone Bills
Internet and phone providers are in fierce competition in today’s world. With so many different phone and connectivity plans available, it can be difficult to narrow down one that fits both your needs and your budget; but this is a necessary step to take when trimming expenses.
There are countless ways to reduce mobile and landline phone bills, with some providers even offering to buy out your current contract so you can switch to their services. Don’t be afraid to look around, or to use statements like “I found this same plan for less at this provider). Cell companies are scrambling to recruit as many new customers as possible, and may be able to negotiate a lower price than what’s listed.
Insurance is something you need as a business, but it’s also a negotiable expense. Many insurance entities have “choose your coverage” packages; where you’ll be able to hand-pick what you want covered for maximum efficiency. Maybe you don’t need certain coverages in your area, or don’t want to pay for the extra property damage coverage. Whatever the case may be, chances are your insurance provider can work with you to create a more customized package closer to your budget’s allowance.
5. Freelance Work
Freelancers are an excellent addition to any business, given their variety of talents and skills and flexibility. Freelancers often work on an hourly or per-project rate; but this can sometimes be negotiated, depending on the scope and workload of the project itself.
Newer freelancers will likely be eager to impress, and may be more willing to negotiate their pricing to ensure they get the job. Don’t mistake negotiation for exploitation, however. You still want to pay the freelancers a fair rate for the work they’re doing, or else gain a reputation for cheating contractors out of money.
6. Travel Expenses
If you’re paying too much for travel expenses, you’ll want to start booking a little earlier than usual. Flights and hotels that are booked at least a few months in advance are almost always cheaper than those booked only a few days or weeks ahead of time. Try to plan out your business’s travel throughout the year, so you’ll have a better idea of when you need to have plane tickets and rooms available.
A financial advisor can assist you with this process if you’re not an expert in planning long-term financial purchases. Discuss your budget with an advisor to get a better idea of how you’re spending your money and where you need to trim costs. If you’re in Texas, you can read about the best financial advisors in Texas on the Careful Cents site.
7. Meeting/Conference Software
Web conferencing software can usually be found for a pretty affordable rate if you know where to look. Prices are negotiable by package, which come with specific features and extras depending on which one you want to pay for.
Usually, the pricing is based on a per-user, per-month basis. Some services allow up to 250-500 participants, while others keep things small and simple. If you’re paying too much for your web conferencing software, take a look around and see which companies offer the same services for a lower price.