And in Orlando, Florida, a city with some of the cheapest office space nationwide, one square foot came with a price tag of $21.32. Even if you're only renting a couple hundred feet of space, that can add up fast.
Especially for small business owners, that's a pretty penny to shell out for a place to sit, work and make the occasional phone call. If your bottom line is straining under the weight of monthly rent, it might be time to ditch the office space and explore alternatives.
Fortunately, it's easier to convert to a fully remote business than ever before, thanks in no small part to tools like Slack, Asana and Zoom. And if you want to cut down on the cost of office space rental but don't want to give up having a dedicated workspace, you might want to check out coworking spaces with flexible monthly membership costs. These are offered by companies like:
Or, if you're looking to find coworking space from a local provider, try performing a quick search for "coworking near me" on Google.
Whether you want to start working from a nearby coworking space or a different country every month, modern technology and affordable workspace alternatives can help you make it happen. And no matter which route you take, your budget is sure to benefit.
2. Consider Freelancers
For business owners, employees cost a lot more than their base salary. After all, you'll also be paying for benefits such as retirement, insurance, paid leave, and more:
To mitigate those costs, you might want to consider hiring freelancers instead of full- or part-time employees. This won't just save you money — it can also have the added benefit of simplifying your taxes and cutting down on internal paperwork.
Freelancers can complete just about any task you need, too. You can hire one to manage day-to-day administrative tasks, assist with account management, focus on your social media or complete almost any ad hoc project for a short period of time.
And with the wealth of digital tools at your disposal, finding and hiring freelancers is both easy and inexpensive. Some of the most widely used options include:
Simply post what you need and the rate you're willing to pay, sift through the incoming proposals and hire a talented freelancer to help. Both your budget and your to-do list will be better off for it.
3. Change Your Business Entity Type
If you find your business is continuing to grow, it may be time to adjust your business entity type. If you started off as a limited liability company (LLC), for example, it may be time to transition to an S Corporation. Do some additional research that compares the two to find the option that works best for you.
Here's the long and short of it: An S Corporation (or S Corp) offers significant tax advantages while preserving your ownership flexibility and saving you self-employment taxes.
If you find yourself owing the government thousands of dollars in taxes every year, then it’s probably time to consider the cost-saving benefits of forming an S Corp. Use Incfile's S Corp tax calculator to get a better idea of how much you can actually save.
But what if your business is already an S Corp? In this case, you may want to consider whether a C Corporation can save you even more. Again, it's smart to compare the two structures and see which one is the best fit for your business.
4. Nix Traditional Advertising
Sure, you might not be shelling out for Super Bowl commercials, but even those local ad slots could be driving up your bills way more than necessary. If you want to run a local TV commercial, for example, you'll end up paying not only for the air time but also for the ad's production cost and talent.
And if you're running ads in a newspaper, you could be spending precious dollars on a medium with dwindling circulation:
One of the best things you can do for your small business's budget is to take thorough stock of your advertising strategy. If you're implementing traditional advertising methods (such as local TV or newspaper ads) and they aren't delivering results, then it's likely time to give more modern and affordable solutions a try.
Look into posting ads on social media, using paid search results to get more traffic or purchasing ad space on other sites. In fact, you can even get much of the same results simply by using smart SEO techniques, no ad spend required.
5. Skip Pricey Software
Programs like Photoshop, Word and QuickBooks can be invaluable to a business, but that doesn't mean they're the only ones worth using. In fact, there's a whole slew of free alternatives that are just as good as (or even better than) their pricier alternatives.
Many of these programs also offer paid versions, which are typically accompanied by premium features such as additional storage space, added functionality and more. Some paid versions cost as little as $5 per month in the case of Pixlr, while others cost up to $60 per month in the case of Zoho Books. No matter what your budget is, there's something here for you.
Those examples are just the tip of the iceberg, too — regardless of the type of software you're looking for, there are likely several free and low-cost options that can help you get the job done.
6. Audit Your Expenses
Whether your business has one employee or 1,000, it's essential to keep an eye on expenses and cut down where it makes sense. For instance, your audit could reveal that you'd save money by:
Swapping out your inkjet printer for a laser one (printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world, after all). Most inkjet printers will cost you about 5-10 cents per page of black and white text, while a typical laser printer can cost just 2-4 cents per page.
Switching to a new, more affordable shipping service. After USPS's recent price changes, for instance, it might be more cost-effective for you to switch to UPS.
Buying the office supplies and tools you need in bulk rather than one at a time. If you need to regularly buy paper to print packing slips, for example, then you could save money by buying it in bulk from a wholesaler instead of in 500-sheet packs from your local office supply store.
Cutting out unnecessary meetings or cutting down on overly long ones. Pointless meetings cost businesses hundreds of billions of dollars each year, so why let your business be one of them?
Renegotiating your deals with vendors, and looking for opportunities to reduce costs in your business contracts.
Purchasing gently used products instead of new ones. For instance, small business essentials such as paper shredders, filing cabinets, storage boxes and the like can often be purchased secondhand from eBay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and other similar platforms.
Using less energy and water. If you're operating your business out of a brick-and-mortar retail space, you can do so by switching to LED light bulbs, investing in low-flow plumbing fixtures, using fans instead of central cooling when possible and switching off unused lights and electronics.
Switching to a car with better gas mileage. This applies if a car is central to your business's operations — for instance, if you use a vehicle to make deliveries, meet with clients or transport inventory.
Using a more business-friendly credit card. If you're going to be making credit card payments anyway, you might as well do so on a card that provides useful perks and rewards for your business.
While many of those items might seem relatively minor, they all add up to have a big impact on your bottom line. So if you take the time to thoroughly audit your expenses and reduce them where possible, you're certain to keep more money in your pocket as a result.
Just like every other aspect of entrepreneurship, figuring out how to save money for your small business is an acquired skill. So, don't feel discouraged if you don't immediately start seeing results. Instead, continue to use the money-saving tips we've discussed here, refine them to suit your individual needs and keep cutting down where possible. With a little time, your efforts are sure to pay off.
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Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.