As a home-based business owner, you know that every dollar counts. Being your own boss means that you can take an afternoon off, but at the end of the day – if you don’t get paid, you don’t eat. Some people take to couponing, others opt to only shop at discount stores. But in truth, you can save a little bit of money on your business expenses. It’s an area we often forget about when considering cutbacks. But, with some planning, you can save your business hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. Here are isure’s top cost-saving tips for home-based business owners.

1. Get a new quote

Let’s start with something we know you can save on – your home-based business insurance. If you haven’t already gotten a quote with isure, you can potentially be overpaying by hundreds of dollars! Our simple quote system will enable you to learn if you’re overpaying in minutes. Simply submit the quote, and see the results that we get from some of the province’s top certified insurers. It’s a fast, simple and cost-effective way to save.

Shop for insurance annually. Don’t just automatically renew your business, health, automobile or other insurance without shopping around. Ask your isure broker to review your coverage, do a risk assessment and make suggestions on how you might be able to save more money. Insurance companies are always introducing new products, especially for the home-based business market. What was the best deal for you last year may be topped by something else this year.

2. Buy used furniture

Every day, Kijiji and Craigslist have businesses selling furniture at a discount. These businesses sometimes sell almost new furniture for a fraction of the price. You can find tables, chairs, electronics and more. That said, don’t buy anything sight unseen, and ask to check the quality before you purchase anything. This is one of our major cost-saving tips for home-based business owners!

3. Barter

One of the best cost-saving tips for homr-based businesses is to barter. In this case, you get something you need in exchange for your own product or service. This has a few added benefits for those involved. For instance, you get what you need without having to trade for cash. If you can build a barter relationship with a business you use often, your net savings will be massive in the long run!

4. Take advantage of payment terms

The time value of money means the longer you have it, the more valuable it is to you. When you buy something for your business, pay on account and wait until the day it is due to pay. For most people, you’ll only earn interest on the money, but that amount can add up quickly.

5. Use energy-efficient products

Swap out your home lights with LEDs. Put your laptop on Energy Saving mode. Enable smart power mode on your printer. Get smart outlets that prevent plugged-in devices from drawing phantom loads when turned off. Hydro costs are expensive, but products are increasing focus on being more energy-efficient. Your savings on hydro can be immediately seen when you check your bill at the end of each month.

6. Hire an accountant

While it may seem counter-intuitive, an accountant can help your business save money. Knowing tax deductions you may not have been aware of is one of the major benefits. An accountant will also do a better job at keeping your finances in order, freeing you up to focus on billable hours instead.

7. Don’t work for free

Other than bartering, one of the best cost-saving tips is to cut back on free labour. Too often, we feel the need to help out by offering our services for free. Friends and family especially will ask for free labour – but they should be the first ones signing up to pay and support your business. Instead, keep everything business as usual and insist upon charging what you’re worth.

8. Watch for sales

One of the biggest reasons we spend too much is buying something on short notice. Instead, be proactive in your expenses. If you will need ink for the printer in a month, keep an eye on prices today. If they go on sale, buy them proactively or in bulk. Use a tool, like Keepa or Camelizer to watch for important deals on Amazon. Alternatively, you can download an app, like Flipp, to browse flyers and more by search. This is a great cost-saving tip for home-based business owners.

9. Ask for a discount

If you’re looking for cost-saving tips, make your own! Don’t be afraid to ask other businesses and stores for a discount. You may not always get them, but you wouldn’t have received one otherwise. As such, there is no loss in asking for a discount, and the answer will always be no if you don’t ask.

10. Consider an intern

If you feel you can offer experience to a young person, consider getting an intern. While interns will generally work for no income, you will need to provide them with experience and education. Now, that being said, cost of living is high (as you know), so try to reward them whenever possible. If they are helping your business grow, reward them in-kind.

11. Buy wholesale and ask for commercial discounts

Join  buying clubs and never pay  price to any supplier without first asking for the wholesale rate.

12. Review your telecommunications rates twice a year

Telephone companies (local, long distance and cellular) are always introducing new rate plans, so make sure you’re getting the best one for your particular usage. Ask your current company to review your account and let you know if you’re getting their best deal. Then contact two or three other companies and ask them for a bid based on your calling patterns.

13. Save money by avoiding losses

Protect your electronics from power surges and sags, and backup your computer system regularly. Avoid the expense and downtime by investing in a quality surge protector and an uninterruptible power supply. You should also backup your data regularly and store those files in an off-site location to avoid security breaches, which can cost you.

14. Install antivirus software and keep it updated

Every computer is at risks of viruses these days. Practicing “safe computing” can save you the cost of recovering lost data and the related downtime. Not to mention the damage to your customer relations if you inadvertently pass along a virus to your clients.

We hope that these cost-saving tips for home-based businesses help you in your future endeavours. And as always, we can help you with a quote or walk you through your home-based business insurance. Contact us today!

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