Three Small Business Tools That Can Cut Your Bills in Half
February 11, 2016
Every business owner cares about keeping costs low (the savviest find basic ways to save on small business insurance policies). But when it comes to technology, how can you cut costs without sacrificing important features, software, and services your business needs to thrive? In this article, we will look at three technologies that you use every day and explain how you can cut your costs significantly via a few simple changes.
1. Business Phone: Cut Your Costs By Switching to VoIP
It can be hard to quantify exactly how much switching to VoIP can actually save you, because comparing costs and features takes quite a bit of research. But VirtualPBX.com took the time to do the research and what they found was compelling. A conservative cost estimate for a traditional five-line fully featured business phone system was around $400 or so per month (over a four year period with 1000 minutes per user/month), divided between $245/month in service cost and $154/month in ongoing maintenance fees.
Compare that to a fully featured five-line small business phone system from Phone.com, which only costs $145-$159/month, depending on whether you pay monthly or annually. Even a higher cost VoIP provider such as RingCentral will only set you back $232/month, or even cheaper if you pay annually. That’s still just over half the cost of a traditional provider when you factor in monthly maintenance charges. And both plans include unlimited calling to US and Canada. With the recent advances in VoIP call quality and technology, you can get a comparable or better phone system than most traditional systems at half the price. That includes features such as a local or 800 number, conference calling, automatic call routing, in-call transfer, mobile app, and much more. What’s not to like?
2. Payroll Software: How Today’s Up-and-Coming Providers Can Save You Money
According to a recent SCORE info graphic, 77% of business owners spend $100 or more managing payroll every month, with over 30% of those spending over $500 in payroll/month. For some larger small businesses, hiring a traditional payroll service provider (with extra management services built-in) or having an in-house payroll employee can make sense, because there are so many moving parts.
But the average small business owner can save quite a bit of money every month using some of the newer and less expensive payroll services. For example, Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) has many of the features of traditional payroll services (automatic new hire reporting, employee onboarding, automatic tax filing, flexible payment schedules, employee time tracking, benefit management and much more) for much less cost. You can run payroll for 5 employees for $59/month, which would cut the average business’ payroll costs in half, if not more (at least $50/month).
3. Utilities and Energy: Compare Providers and Save Money
Every month, business owners have to shell out quite a bit of cash just to keep the lights on and the water running. It’s easy to assume that these costs are set-in-stone without shopping around for lower cost providers. But especially if your business is in or near a major city you should expect some competition and more utility options.
There are a variety of ways to do this. Many states have their own sites where you can put in your zip code and compare energy prices. Just do a Google Search for “Compare energy costs in ‘your state’” and it should be pretty easy to find. Another option would be a national comparison site such as Chooseenergy.com, which lets you look up and compare different providers, assuming you are in one of the states or areas they service. I did a search using Chooseenergy.com for New York City and found some small businesses could save an estimated 30% or more on their energy costs, simply by switching providers. Don’t just assume you have to pay what you are paying every month. Search around, contact your current provider to see what you are paying, compare to other providers in your area, and there is a good chance you may be able to start saving simply by switching providers.
It may take some research, effort, and time, but there are legitimate ways that your business can save money every month just by changing some of the technology providers you use every day. Bite the bullet, compare costs, and start saving your business money.