Do you have the sneaking suspicion you’re probably overpaying for your organization’s office supplies? You could be right. Research culled by Chron indicates that the average monthly spend on business staples per employee hovers from about $47 to $92. That means if you have a team of 15, your supply and material expenses could top out at more than $8,000, even if you’re being conservative.
If that sounds like too much, rest assured that you have options. For instance, why not check out the following strategies to effectively shave your yearly spending on seven of the basic things you and your crew need to remain competitive day after day.
- General equipment and technology
Even the leanest, most bare-bones offices tend to boast a few key pieces of equipment, such as laptops, printers, and paper shredders. And like all technology, the equipment must be replaced on a regular timeframe to keep up with emerging technology.
A terrific way to lower these types of equipment costs is to take advantage of group buying power by joining a group purchasing organization (GPO). Becoming a GPO member allows you to get lower prices on high-quality supplies without having to negotiate with suppliers yourself. Instead, you just allow the GPO to work with vendors and pass discounts along to you. Many companies are surprised by the deals they get when they join a GPO.
- Cleaning and sanitization supplies
You’ll want to keep your office tidy and spotless, especially with COVID-19 concerns and CDC reopening guidelines. But items like paper towels, disinfectant spray, and hand sanitizer can be expensive if you buy them piecemeal, which many stores insist upon to keep their stock from dwindling.
Instead of going to the nearest grocery store or pharmacy and only being able to purchase one or two products at a time, explore the concept of paying for a business membership at a warehouse like Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club. For an annual fee, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase larger amounts of cleaning supplies.
- COVID-19 items
In addition to purchasing cleaning items to stop the spread of coronavirus, you may need to invest in other related must-haves. Those could include disposable masks, gloves, hard plastic barriers, first aid kits, and social distancing tools and reminders. Whenever possible, buy in bulk to lower your per-item cost, or see if your GPO can help you get better rates.
Having trouble locating hard-to-find COVID-19 items locally or online? Websites like NowInStock and zooLert will ping you when an item you want comes on the market. Though not perfect, the sites offer an opportunity to ensure you don’t miss the chance to snap up brand-name and generic products.
Is it time to renovate your office space, especially with part of your workforce still working home? Are you tempted to head straight to your nearest office supply store for furnishings like desks, cubbies, and ergonomic chairs? Take a step back and investigate the possibility of buying furniture that’s new to you but looks terrific.
Unfortunately, many companies have had to liquidate everything due to coronavirus. But their downsizing could be a boon for your business. You may be able to upgrade and remodel every area in your headquarters by snagging gently used furniture from another company that’s going out of business. Just make sure to clean all furniture thoroughly before putting it into action.
- Ink cartridges
What could be more frustrating than spending tons of money on ink cartridges? Two ways to trim the fat from overspending on printer ink is to either leverage your GPO membership and order ink cartridges in bulk, or look for compatible, brand-agnostic cartridges that work with top-name printers.
Of course, it’s a good plan to read reviews before purchasing recycled cartridges or any ink manufacturers that claim they’ll work with your office printers. Like all products, some cartridge solutions will be more reliable than others. When you find one that works like a charm and doesn’t leak, you may want to buy several at once if you’re able to get a volume discount.
Are you drowning in monthly or annual software fees? Conduct an analysis of the software your team is currently using. How important is the software to their everyday work? Is any software going untapped or being unused altogether? A simple survey will show you which software to hold on to—and which to let loose.
Another method of spending less on software is to use free versions whenever possible, such as anything from the Google Suite, or a project management option like Trello. For best results, test software among your team before you commit to ditching what you’ve previously used.
- Printed Items
Be honest: Do you really need to print as many pages as you do now? In most cases, the answer is “no.” That’s why so many recycle bins in offices are overflowing.
To cut down on wasteful printing, start saving all your printable docs as PDFs. Then, place them in an online storage site where anyone with access can see them. When you do need to print something, aim for a double-sided version. And if you work with a professional printer to create outbound direct mail marketing pieces like postcards, brochures, or menus, select the smallest size that still works with your messaging.
As a business owner or departmental purchaser, you’re always going to spend something on office supplies. Nevertheless, with just a few changes to your buying habits, you can reduce your expenses and increase the amount of profits you can put back into the company.