Profit Through Change

20 Free ideas to enable you to save money in your business

Below are a few ideas as to how the average UK company can save money on its operational expenditure in an office, retail, or commercial premises. Profit Through Change know of many, many more ways to save you money and often at the same time help save the environment. Have a Profit Through Change commercial review and find out more.

Office Savings

1. Review your power provider.
Especially in the current power market, changing supplier can show huge savings. In addition, across multiple sites, consolidating bills can reduce administration costs, and ensure enhanced volume rebates. Green power suppliers may also be cheaper, and may get you additional tax incentives. Ask for further details in the Partnershipís pages of this site, and review the Case Studies section for example work.

2. Install a timer switch on your photo-copier and computer monitors.
Like your domestic television, the copier uses a significant amount of power in shutdown mode. A simple 7 day plug-in timer will cost less than £10 and have a pay-back period of less than two weeks on the average photocopier. Typically, a photocopier left on overnight uses enough energy to produce 1500 copies, and a monitor left on overnight uses enough power to laser print 800 sheets of paper (University of Sussex).

A survey of over 1,000 workers, commissioned by Fujitsu Siemens Computers, revealed that 37% don't turn off their PCs when they leave the office. A single computer not switched off can result is a power loss of up to £90 per year. If you canít get your staff to take ownership, give Profit Through Change a call, as there are other solutions.

And try not to have anything with an LED "on light" on it - this may only use 0.25W of power, but according to the Carbon Trust, these alone equate to over £7m per year across the UK.

3. Install local printer faxes in strategic desk pods.
The main office laser printer will often be a leased machine, with a term of the contract being a nominal charge per print through the machine. When it is installed, it is very often made the default printer on the system meaning that it is the printer that people use as their first point of call. Furthermore, it is often set as the incoming fax machine. Using this main office machine is necessary, however it is more expensive, and should be used more sparingly than is very often the case. Installing local, default printers to peoples workstation has a number of benefits:

a) No lease surcharge per print
b) considerably cheaper ink cartridges in inkjet printers than laser printers
c) more convenient and time effective reducing the walk to the printer
d) provides a local fax to enable direct incoming and outgoing faxes if required, etc.

Payback is often less than a month depending on usage. This factor is enhance many fold if the main printer is a colour printer, even if the prints are made in black and white. A colour print is twice as costly as a black and white one. Also review the need for leasing machines. Leasing is a good option to ensure that you have a fully functional and up-to-date machine, however it is important to realise that this has a considerable cost associated with it. In the event that there are two machines leased, reduce the arrangement to one lease version, and then purchase out-right an ex-lease model with a service contract - this gives you the benefit of both worlds and reduces costs considerably. This also enables the cost of the purchase to be written off as a capital expenditure as opposed to making it an OPEX cost should this be an advantage; an ex-lease machine reduces the cost and depreciation considerably.

4. Use an external company for colour photocopies.
Experience suggests that having a colour copier is rarely an absolute necessity in offices, and that a review of the costs of leasing or running such a machine can be offset with merely having a local colour inkjet printer, and an arrangement with a local reprographics company... Just check how much it costs you per annum in lease, and rental costs, add on maintenance and power draw (which is heavy), and the costs will start to stack up.

5. Install a VOIP telephone system.
If you have certain types of internet or telephone connection like broadband, leased lines or a VPN system, implementing a VOIP system could save you thousands per year. Calls with some systems also enable you to get extremely cheap calls to mobiles and overseas (e.g. less than 2p per minute to USA and Europe). Try: for a great deal.

6. Install a contactor across the non-emergency lighting circuit of the building and link it into the alarm panel.
This enables you to ensure that the lights are not left on during the alarmed and night-time hours. This will significantly reduce the electricity costs during the hours when the office is vacated without the need to check that all lights are off before the last person leaves. If the building is manned by security staff, switching to emergency lighting during night hours unless there is a patrol, helps save power also.

7. Install time lag switches for lights in corridors or fire escapes with windows, and in store-rooms, etc, where lights are often left on.
The time lag can be adjusted to say 10 minutes, but it reduces the bill when the lights are left on. Alternatively, use a key activated light-switch, similar to some hotel rooms - See MK 4724WHI for a suitable product.

8. Install a photocell for all external lights.
This means that the lights will not be on unless required. This equates to more than a KWh per night per average light fitting.

9. Wherever possible install high frequency fluorescent tubes, or compact fluorescent lamps.
This will save typically 20% on high frequency tubes over standard tubes, and up to 80% on compact fluorescents over conventional light sources.


10. Reduce the temperature in the office by one degree in the winter and increase it by one degree in the summer.
Set the thermostat at 19°C - costs rise by 8% for every 1°C increase. Estimates of the savings in this instance are complicated but very apparent. As an idea, in a domestic residence, it is reported that reducing the temperature by one degree can save as much as £20 per month from a standard three bed house. In a commercial property increasing the temperature in the summer reduces air-conditioning costs as well.

11. Hand-washing facilities.
Provision of wash-room facilities is an area where money is often wasted. Costs for hand dryers - which are usually at least 2KW rated - or paper towels - which cost around 0.5p per towel - can be reduced in many circumstance. Try Magic Spray ( for a hand sanitiser that dries without the need for either a paper towel or hand-dryer.

12. Cancel any plant contracts.
Buy your own plants but make someone responsible for watering and their up-keep. Cleaning contracts often have this as a responsibility of the cleaner if required, or get a caring employee, or the receptionist to assume the responsibility.

13. Have two post trays, one for first, and one for second class post.
Saving a few pence on 80% of your post will have a very significant cumulative effect over the year. Second to first class can mean at best 24 hours difference in delivery times, but very often makes no difference. Many companies send everything by second class, and watch how much that can save. One customer pays for their Christmas party drinks bill every year with this, incentivising the staff to make use of the facility. This can easily be monitored through the franking machine statistics.

14. Install a franking machine.
Franking machines can also save money though watch the lease costs in the calculations - apart from the need to buy stamps, there is also a 1p saving per frank which equates to an average saving of 5%, many machines also come with free credit. A franking machine also reduces pilfering of stamps if the key is securely retained and effective procedures put in place.

15. Avoid buying cleaning products through your cleaning contractor.
Instead, set up a call off arrangement to enable the cleaner to buy product on your terms for sole delivery into your premises, at competitive rates. This will also enable you to track more visibly what is being supplied, the price, the frequency and the quality.

16. Review all trading terms with suppliers and consolidate lines of supply.
Very often contract terms with ongoing suppliers are left alone and are not reviewed. Suppliers allow these prices or discounts to drift and can over time become uncompetitive. Regular reviews of suppliers keeps offerings competitive, and focussed. Elimination of multiple supply sources, coupled with rebates for added volumes can show significant commercial benefits.

17. Recycle - Recycling in general can save you money.
Government legislation is now targeted at individuals and companies who do not recycle. Try some of the following:

i) Buy a paper shredder, and create your own packaging material;
ii) Refill printer cartridges;
iii) Use recycled paper for general printing or the fax. Producing recycled paper involves between 28-70% less energy and it is cheaper to buy;
iv) Donate old mobile phones to schools. Phones 4 Schools will collect old phones and donate money to a local school of your choice. The phones are then recycled and sent to third-world countries;
v) Use coffee mugs, not plastic or worse polystyrene disposable cups.

18. Review the "Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme" website for support when buying environmentally friendly capital equipment.
Capital products that are on a recognised list of environmentally or "green" products can be written of in full against tax without the need to write off the cost over a longer period. This helps cash-flow and makes the payback period more attractive when looking at purchasing decisions.

19. Contact a local charity to have your old computer equipment collected for a good cause.
This reduces the new environmental levies charged to companies when they dispose of old computer equipment, and allows it to be reused in the community either in the UK or in developing countries overseas. Reuse of the product in its intended form is the best kind of recycling.

20. Fit a water displacement bag.
A water displacement bag placed in the toilet cistern will reduce the amount in each flush. These are available free of charge from the water company, and can reduce your water bill by an average of over £3.50 a person per year.

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