Time means money
Posted on April 8, 2015 by Bob Holland
In my (newspaper) business, the biggest expense is wages and as the media business gets harder, I’m always looking for ways not to overspend in this area.
About 12 months ago when I was looking at areas where I could reduce my costs, I realised that I was paying my staff for 38 hours work a week when in actual fact they were only working 37 and a half. Our office hours were 8.45 to 5.15 Monday to Friday with an hour for lunch each day.
At the time I had about 12 full time staff so I was in effect paying 6 hours a week for nothing. At just $20 an hour this works out at $120 a week or over $6000 a year. Of course that’s crazy but until I started to really think about it, I hadn’t realised how silly this waste of money was.
During this thought process, I also wondered why we couldn’t just operate from 9 till 5 with the same hour for lunch. Then I thought about the implications of changing our working hours and the way I paid my staff from 38 hours full time to 35 hours permanent part time.
That was about 12 months ago and today most of my staff work and get paid for 35 hours a week. I made some agreed concessions with those staff who were there during the changeover but as staff left I replaced them with permanent part time employees who work 35 hours per week.
The end result has been that my staff now work 35 hours a week, they get paid 35/38ths of a full time wage and effectively work 150 or so less hours each year, the equivalent of about 4 weeks work.
I’ll let you do the numbers and read between the lines but in my business, we aren’t disadvantaged in any way by working a 35 hour week and my overall wages bill each year is around $50,000 less than if we worked a 37 and a half or even a 38 hour week. My staff all appear very happy with this arrangement and when I’ve advertised for new staff, not one applicant has ever raised any issues with the 35 hours part time arrangement.
Of course, for some businesses a 35 hour week may mean loss of income or turnover but I’ll let you work that out as it applies to your business.
Cheap but QUALITY PRINTING (22nd March 2015)
Even in this modern electronic age, most businesses have need of a printer from time to time. My work has seen me use more than my fair share of printers over many years and during that time techniques and efficiencies have improved dramatically. Traditional ink printing machines still have their place but in many cases have been replaced by photocopiers that can do a whole lot more than just print paper.
The result of all this is that today, there are printers who are geared up to such an extent, that they can produce many of the commonly needed printed materials that businesses need for a fraction of the cost that other printers may charge. They also offer excellent and easy to navigate online facilities that make it easy to get a quote and then place an order if needed. They also have first class delivery procedures in place.
Two that I’ve used over many years and would happily recommend are the following:
They are both highly cost effective on most items but I have found the cost to print booklets and large scale posters with them among the best value.
Sometimes we business owners tend to let our hearts rule our heads in certain situations. Take credit card fees. For a couple of years, we had a number of our clients pay their bills with us using a credit card. Each time they did, the bank charged us around 2% for the privilege. I tended to wear these “little” charges because I’m one of the those people who prefer the idea of not having “extra” charges when I do business. I prefer the price to include everything because I just feel better with that.
That may have been all well and good, even noble, but at the end of the year my costs included anything up to $2,000 or more in bank fees accumulated from these credit card charges. I finally decided that was silly and now charge 2% extra when a customer pays with a credit card. Since changing policy over 8 months ago, only one person has complained and the amount at issue was just $2.80. After explaining our position the guy understood and apologised for his attitude. He just said he “hates” bank fees and in future would pay us by electronic transfer.
My point is obviously this – credit card fees can add up and if you don’t pass them on, it comes straight off your profit. Decide for yourself but I think it’s fair to say that a fee is almost expected by customers these days and this is another simple way to cut your costs or increase your profits.
Just on that, at one point my overall bank fees, including credit card fees were running at near $5,000 a year and that’s without any finance or overdraft facility. Despite the effort and inconvenience, I shopped around the banks and was able to reduce this by over $2000 a year by swapping banks. Later when I started charging the 2% credit card fee, I reduced my overall bank fees costs further again.