For a startup business, one of the simplest ways to save money is to reduce office supply expenses. Even though individual items and purchases often slip under the radar, they can pile up quickly, and before you know it, those tens of dollars can add up to hundreds or even thousands. Reducing supply expenses, on the other hand, doesn’t mean working without any. There are many ingenious and less ingenious ways to cut back on the supply expenses and still get everything you need to run your office.
Store in One Location
Scattered office supplies between several closets and cabinets make it hard to keep track of what you already have and what you need to resupply. As an effect, you may end up purchasing supplies you don’t need. Make an accurate inventory of your supplies every three to six months so you can always tell what you have. If you’re operating a large business, this inventory may need to be done on a monthly, or even weekly, basis.
Buy in Bulks
Ask for a warehouse club membership that will allow you to buy office supplies in bulk, just like retails do. Use this method to buy items you use in large amounts. A package of 12 pencil cups isn’t a good deal if you only need like five of them. In addition, instead of buying brand name supplies, consider switching to generic or store brand products, especially for stationery items such as sticky notes, folders and staples. When it comes to items like these, the difference in quality won’t make a lot of difference in performance.
Browse the websites of office supplies vendors in your area and compare their prices on items you frequently buy, especially those you need in larger quantities such as printer ink or photocopier toner. Also, check out the vendors that sell online only. Without the overhead of maintaining a brick and mortar store, their prices are sure to be lower than those of vendors whose business model includes both options. This way you’ll get quality yet affordable office supplies, and if you order online, you are also saving on transportation cost and time.
Hunt for Sales
Make a habit of taking advantage of sales and off-peak discounts. A lot of office supply stores offer discounts and sales during the summer, while their prices are highest in the first few months of the year. Free delivery is another money-saving option you should watch for. Many office supply vendors offer free shipping with a pre-set minimum order amount. This is especially affordable if you’re buying in bulks. However, if you’re using a vendor for the first time, contact them beforehand to make sure there are no extra charges.
Use Remanufactured Cartridges
It’s no secret that remanufactured toner cartridges can prove up to 30% cheaper than new ones, while the print quality is the same. Ask around in your local drug stores and office supply outfits about prices to refill printer ink cartridges. Also, make a company policy that employees are not to print personal documents and ink-consuming pictures without permission.
Save Paper and Ink
Many businesses have already switched to an Internet fax service such as MyFax, Fax Zero or eFax to take the fax machine out of the equation, as well to reduce the cost of paper, toner and having a second phone line. In addition, you can reduce the amount of paper you use in the office by turning to programs such as QuickBooks and Peachtree Accounting.
Appoint Supply Keeper
According to a survey by a Banner Business Services survey in the United Kingdom, over two-thirds of the respondents admitted to stealing office supplies from their workplace. In any given year, over 50% of American office workers admit to ‘borrowing’ items from the office. The most ‘sought after’ items are pens and pencils and post-it notes, followed closely by closet envelopes, notepads and photocopier paper. To make sure the employees don’t take more supplies than they need, have a staff member be a supply keeper, or simply keep less stuff in the open and the bulk locked away.
Compared to other costs of running a business such as salaries, rent and equipment, office supplies may seem an insignificant expense. However, if left unmanaged, they can add up over time, especially if the company expands. Regardless of the size of your business, reducing unnecessary expenses will help you increase your budget.