3 Practical Ways to Immediately Reduce Costs

By Ron Pereira Updated on June 1st, 2010

No matter if business is good or bad one thing is for certain… you, and those you work with, should be laser focused on cost reduction.

Now be honest, when you read the words cost reduction was the first thing that popped into your mind reduction in force? You know, laying people off?

Sadly this seems to be the most popular way to reduce costs for a lot of companies. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are so many other ways to reduce operating costs. So many one could write a 6 book series on the topic!

But until then, I’d like to propose 3 practical ways you and your organization, no matter the size or number of employees, can reduce costs in the front office.

Let’s get started.

1. Change Default Printing to Black & White

It’s estimated that it costs .08 cents a page to print in color versus .007 cents a page to print in black and white.

So, if we assume a person prints 10 pages a day x 260 workdays… printing in color will cost $208 per year while printing in black and white will cost $18.20 per year for a difference of $189.80.

Take that across a company of 5,000 employees and we’re talking some serious costs savings folks ($949,000).

There are ways to change the “default” print color to black and white on your computer to make this change happen. Your IT department can likely do this remotely, across the board, without employees having to do anything.

2. Text Messaging Plans

Next, if your company pays for associate’s cell phone usage I’d encourage you to check out the text messaging plans.

Some people are text message crazy while others are not. For those who love the text message it makes sense to have them on a plan to accommodate their usage.

But for those who rarely text it may make sense to have them “pay as they go” which can save $10 to $20 per month.

Again, taken across a company of 5,000 employees we’re paying a person’s salary ($100,000).

3. Print on Both Side of Paper

I have worked with clients who “recycled” their paper by printing on both sides.

They had special bins that employees placed their one sided printed documents into. This, printed on one side, paper was then placed in a special printer that everyone was mapped to.

This was their so-called “junk” printer… meaning if you wanted to print out an email or some other document that didn’t warrant a completely clean piece of paper the junk printers were called upon.

Depending on where you buy your paper, 500 sheets can cost up to $10. So, to be sure, this adds up quickly.

What am I missing?

Obviously this is a very short list of 3 things any company can do to save money. There are more posts I have written below in the Related Posts section for some additional ideas.

But I’m curious, what things are you and your organization doing to save administrative money besides, gulp, the lay-off approach?

  1. Ron Pereira

    June 1, 2010 - 9:42 am

    Very cool, Tim! Thanks for sharing.

    So, perhaps a smaller sized Century Gothic font – maybe 9 instead of 10 – would help with the more paper issue?

  2. Shane Allen

    June 2, 2010 - 7:16 am

    Weird timing as we just went through the “review you mobile plan” exercise and I changed my plan accordingly. Great idea on the junk printer. We’re going to give this a shot!

  3. Serkan S

    June 2, 2010 - 7:21 am

    During the hard days of 2009, we’ve decreased the number of fluorescent tubes (located in the same lighting armature) that are “on” in our office. For example, if there are 2 tubes activated by one switch, we’ve eliminated 1 tube. So, although there are 4 tubes in an armature, only 2 of them will be on. This will save 50% in lighting costs of the office.

  4. Sharon Lee

    June 2, 2010 - 7:26 am

    Similar idea to Serkan, but we ensure that all lights get turned off during breaks and lunches. Our maintenance team had to do some re-wiring to make this possible since the lights used to all be tied to a few switches. But we are now able to turn lights off in specific areas without impacting others who may still be working.

  5. Robert

    June 2, 2010 - 7:47 am

    We in my company considered also double sided printing as a default setting, but then have been advised to drop this idea as it reduces drastically printer lifetime…

  6. Sharon Lee

    June 2, 2010 - 7:59 am

    Robert, printing on both sides of paper is doable if your printer has duplex printing capability. Most industrial printers have this capability but smaller printers like those most of us have at home may not have this function.

  7. David T

    June 2, 2010 - 8:45 am

    This is a great post.

    Some things we have done are;
    – putting our heating and AC on timers.
    – we over ride the times during our shut down periods
    – We travel quite a bit to certain cities – we talked to the manager of our perffered hotel and got a 30% discount off our corporate rate because we would guarantee 15 nights per year. This deal is better than anything we found on travelocity or the hotel’s website. You need to talk to the manager in the hotel though.
    – We updated our vendor and customer database to display only thier 1-800 number.
    – We email items rather than use the fax machine

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