Office supplies are fairly inexpensive on their own, but supplies can eat into the profits that an otherwise successful small business can make. If you have a small team, here’s how to help your business save big money when purchasing office supplies, while still ensuring you’ve got the materials you need to work effectively.
1.Set Up Inventory Control
This is one of the top tips you can make to reduce unnecessary office supply spending. Keep records of orders, including the date of order, types of supplies, and amounts ordered. This data tells you a lot about your office’s true supply needs.
If some supplies take significantly longer to run out, consider skipping these items on the next order. Your office may be able to do without highlighters or liquid paper (especially if they were only ordered in the first place because one employee likes them).
2.Be a Loyal and Smart Customer
Ink cartridges are expensive. Some brands’ cartridges contain miniscule drips of ink (to encourage frequent orders), and the product can easily come at a 2000% markup, or more.
Janet Attard suggests, "Use coupons and rewards programs," "Coupons aren't just for groceries. You can save considerable amount by using the coupons big office supply companies put in local newspapers.
3.Buy in Bulk
When it makes sense, buying in bulk tends to cost much less per item than a smaller order. Identify some frequently used supplies that justify a large order, and get on the phone with your vendor. Stores such as Office Max and Staples provide various seasonal-based deals, especially when it's back to school time. As well as offering basic office supplies, these stores are also good places to refill many different ink cartridges (another expensive cost that all business owners encounter on a regular basis)."
But be cautious when buying in bulk, so you don't end up with too much of what you don't need. Lining up the next delivery early also prevents an emergency run for supplies.
4.Clean Out Junk
If you had more storage space, you’d definitely buy in bulk. But when you crack the door of the supply closet, you’re not sure where you’d pack in boxes of paper. Here’s the thing: Old computers or printers languishing in a corner, or filing cabinets stuffed with paper you’ll “deal with later” eat up a lot of storage space. Schedule an office cleanup and you may end up with more room to accommodate a bulk order.
5. Go Paperless When Possible
As of 2014, the average office worker in the United States used 10000 sheets of paper per year! That’s about 2.5 boxes of paper per employee, never mind the cost of ink and wear and tear to the printer.
Take steps to reduce paper use in the office. It’s a greener way to do business, and it can be a lot more efficient. Cutting your paper use in half could have a big impact on your office supply expenditures.
6. Reuse and Re-purpose
An easy way to save on shipping costs is to reuse material to make packaging material of your own. Some easy ways to save on costs are recycling non-labeled boxes, using shredded, non-sensitive documents as packing material, or reusing Styrofoam peanuts received in a package shipped to you. Reusing and re-purposing these materials can save you a bundle over purchasing them yourself.
7. Use Up Supplies Completely
Discarding supplies that still have use left is an easy way to rack up unnecessary cost. To get the full value, use the full product! We’re not suggesting you demand a waste report filed for each bent staple. But maybe think back to college days when everyone had a trick to extend the life of an ink cartridge (“blow on it,” “shake it,” etc.). A quick cleaning and refill could save you a trip to the office supply warehouse.
8. Turn Off Computers
Employees, and even managers, can slip into the habit of leaving the computer on overnight for weeks on end. Not only does this waste electricity, but component parts may wear down faster if they’re always on.
The electricity savings benefit your budget and the environment, while regular maintenance and reboots can help keep your computers running smoothly.
9. Do Your Research
Ask around and see what other similar companies use and how much they order. "hen you're just starting out and don't have first-hand experience knowing how soon you'll deplete supplies, call owners of similar businesses and ask if they wouldn't mind telling you how much they use in a typical month. Many successful business owners are happy to share what they've learned, as long as you won't be competing with them."