Some days you may not be making money, but there are ways to lower your spending
As the temperatures start to drop, it is time to get lean. Not in the gym, though that won’t hurt. In this case, I am talking about cutting costs in your business.
For most of us, the winter months are very slow. There is minimal to no work some days. Unfortunately, some days you may spend more money than you actually make. In order to make it through these leaner months, I highly recommend trimming costs where you can.
There are many ways to do this, but the first place to trim cost is with your staff. Unfortunately we really can’t afford to keep everyone over the winter. Generally, the weaker employees are the first that have to go. These include drivers we hear complaints about, office staff with poor attendance, etc. If that isn’t enough, you can see if anyone is interested in a seasonal layoff. We have a few drivers that like having the winter months off because this allows them to travel or spend time with their families. If seasonal layoffs aren’t an option, consider cutting back hours. Taking employees to three- or four-day workweeks can make a huge difference in your bottom line.
If you take equipment and staff out of the mix, the next highest cost is supplies. Deodorizer, toilet paper, copy paper and all the other items that are required to run your business. All of these supplies can really add up. This is the time to stop ordering altogether. But if that isn’t an option, ordering in bulk is your next best option. Generally the more you buy, the lower your per item price is.
When you place your next order, don’t forget to call around. Though I hate to be on the receiving end of these kinds of calls, I always ask vendors to price-match, and you should too. I hate switching vendors, but I love to save money, so price-matching is the only way to go sometimes.
Take the time to go through everything in your list of monthly costs. Can you lower the heat a degree or two? Can you put automatic switches on the lights, so they turn off after people leave the room? If you would do these things at your own home, you can definitely do them in your office, too.
Telling employees that these are lean months is a great way to get everyone on board. Not only do they feel included and informed, they will be really happy to help out. Our receptionist takes old order tickets and uses the backside of the paper to take messages. It doesn’t seem like this would make a huge difference, but not only is it a money saver, it is friendly to the environment, too. If reusing a piece of paper can save their jobs, trust me, they will do it.
About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.