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5 Tips to Cut Down Your Monthly Business Expenses

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Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger
Last Edited 03:30:18 PM

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Savvy sellers know that taking a little time to review regular business expenses can help create opportunities for long-term saving. Here are 5 tips to help you minimize expenses and maximize profits.

 

If you’re not in the habit of tracking expenses, that’s okay. Take some time to sit down and make a list of your recurring expenses—if you don’t know what they are, create a spreadsheet for tracking. Or better yet, start inputting your expenses using a piece of accounting software designed for small businesses. Here are a few ideas. Then, identify your most expensive expenses on the list, as well as any that are higher than expectations. This will help you prioritize which ones to tackle first and give you a space to record your results.

 

Tip #1: Cut the (telephone) cord.

 

If you currently use a landline for your business, consider switching to a free VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution such as Google Voice. Some VoIP services such as RingCentral or Vonage do have monthly costs, but can be lower than those for regular landlines. Learn more about VoIP providers.

 

Your cell phone bill is another expense to investigate. Why pay more than you need to? Take a look at your monthly texts and minutes, and evaluate whether you’re spending too much. You might be able to downgrade your plan or, if push comes to shove, switch carriers. Learn more about negotiating your cell phone bill.

 

If you have cable, it’s also worth noting that you can usually renegotiate your rates after your initial discounted rate has expired. It’s a bit of process, but it can result in considerable cuts to your monthly bill. You can even hire people do the negotiating for you (for a fee, of course). Learn more about bargaining your bill down.  

 

Tip #2: Pay less for shipping supplies. (Or not at all.)

 

Boxes. Bubble wrap. Packing tape. Supplies can get expensive, all sellers know that. What are you currently spending on them? How often do you have to shop? Here are a few ideas to reduce your spend.

 

Look over the fence

It’s spring and people have decluttering on the mind, which means they’re often willing to give away boxes and packing supplies for free. Take a page from eBay seller, Katrina Rivette, of KShae's Kloset, and use social media to ask people in your neighborhood for supplies:

 

“I made an "in search of" Facebook post on my personal profile and in our local neighborhood Facebook group, asking friends and neighbors to please not toss air pillows and bubble wrap, but if they were to put aside, I'd gladly come take the supplies off their hands to reuse and recycle! Within one week, I filled up my entire backseat and trunk 6x and in the process, made a few new connections!”

 

Nextdoor and Craigslist can also help you source free (or cheap) supplies, as can local businesses. Just remember, when you’re on the hunt for supplies, only use boxes that are clean, unmarked, and in great condition.

 

Buy in bulk

Obvious, but still worth mentioning. If you have the flexibility in your budget to shop for bulk supplies at a discount, do it. You can save money in the long run and reduce unnecessary trips to the store (if you’re in the habit of shopping brick and mortar).

 

Tip #3: Find your perfect storage size.

 

Are you currently renting warehouse or storage space for your business? It can be easy to pay for more space than you need. Take a moment to evaluate whether you are using the space in the smartest way possible.

 

For example, are you keeping your fast-selling (or high-velocity) inventory in the most accessible place? Is your inventory stored efficiently (i.e.  do you have products in boxes or containers that are too big for them)? If you have extra storage space, could you save money by sharing with another seller?

 

By right-sizing your space, you might be able to trim costs spent on things like heating and cooling as well as extra space you don’t need.

 

Tip #4: Combine errands to save time and gas.

 

How often do you leave the house to run an errand? How often do you buy groceries, pick up or drop off your kids, ship packages, etc.? Think about optimizing your schedule to save time and money.

 

Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Make a list all the recurring errands that take you away from your home and/or office or warehouse.
  2. Group your errands according to location and schedule recurring blocks of time in your calendar to do them.
  3. Consolidate and save time. (Obviously, you don’t always know when a product is going to sell so drives to your shipping provider may sometimes be ad hoc.)

 

Tip #5: Upgrade to a Store.

 

Depending on how many items you sell, upgrading to a Store subscription can help you save on monthly expenses.

 

Stores offer a number of zero insertion fee listings and lower final value fees which vary across a few tiers. Store subscriptions are not free, but your tier can pay for itself based on how many items you sell.

 

Learn more about Stores here.

 

Bonus Tip: Don’t skip on insurance.

 

When reviewing your business expenses, you might also want to look at your insurance. We always advise sellers to have an insurance policy that covers their personal and business possessions. Make sure your inventory is protected, especially if you sell from your home.

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We hope these tips provide a starting point to tightening up your recurring business expenses. Of course, there are many other ways to be smart about running a business. Got a tip to share with the rest of the seller community? Tell us in the comments below.

7 Comments
by *coins · Rockstar
*coins
Rockstar

I'm surprised that you didn't advertise mention the "free" eBay shipping supplies for store subscribers...

luxe_auto_parts
Thrill-Seeker

Tip #2 is golden! OMG. I loled so hard! =) eBay admits sellers spend a lot of money to pack stuff, but do nothing, but proposes to become a hobo-recycle-guru hopping around neighbourhood and picking stuff.

 

Thank you, you made my day!)

by gloryglorygifts · Scout

Shop around for shipping supplies my fellow vendors!! I currently pay $9.99 for 25, 6" x 4" x 4",  mailer boxes where the ones on here are $25 for the same size and number. You can find them cheaper from the brick and mortar stores, if you do your homework!

by vintagecraze50 · Guide

Get a good bookeeping system to record your sales and your expenses like Outright from Go Daddy.  There is an additional expense for this but, MUCH CHEAPER THAN A BOOKEEPER,and come tax time you will effortlessly put together your schedule C. 

 

We buy bulk presentations boxes, safes a lot.

 

We switched our cable company to ATT and saved a TON.

 

Using USPS Priority Mail for smaller items saves a lot on boxes and shipping in the long run, and provides some of the faster and best service to your customer. Have not lost ONE package yet. Knock on wood.

 

dreammastertom
Rising Star

Get free brown paper when you go Grocery shopping. Get paper bags and turn them around, free brown paper.

by xenapup1 · Adventurer
xenapup1
Adventurer

I guess it's back to 20 yrs ago when I first started selling on here, dumpster diving for shipping supplies. With the free money for Ebay Shipping Supplies being useless anymore because they offer about 25% of the items they used to, I'll pull on my overalls and dive in.  Starting to make a store subscription worth less and less also.

cashmerecatboutique
Rising Star

Thank you for your tips. I am just getting started at selling. Been buying on here for years.  I appreciate the imput.