Ways to save money: What have you discovered?

One of the endless… tedious… but essential activities of the small business owner is looking for ways to save money. Sometimes big chunks of it… other times a nickle at a time.

What have you found? Here are some of the ones I have discovered over the years… not a complete list by any means but I’ll bet someone will tell us about something I never thought of and I hope you find something valuable too.

Tell us about one of your discoveries, how much it saves and where you found it.

  1. Recycling dough. Learned on the TT a couple of year ago. Mix blown dough back into new batches. Up to about 20% of the batch works for us and saves us from tossing quite a bit of dough each year.

  2. Dump the fax line. Saves $600 a year. This technology is over and even if you still send the occasional fax you do not need a dedicated line to do it. Thought of it myself.

  3. Shop your credit card service. When we changed years ago it saved us $1000 per year. back then we did about 50% CC sales. At today’s 75% CC sales it would be even more. Listened to neighbor business about Heartland.

  4. Shop your insurance. Saved another $1000 a year when I did that again. By accident. Got annoyed with my agent and went shopping. Lesson learned!

  5. ALL advertising prices are negotiable. To a certain extent all advertising is also substitutable. There is a price where I am happy to buy radio, another where I buy newspaper. If I don’t like either one, I can do more direct mail. If I can’t get the price I want, I spend the $$ elsewhere. It is amazing how effective your negotiations are when you are completely willing to walk.

  6. And the biggest one of all: Shop for food. We price all our items every week and buy from the low cost supplier. Some items we always end up getting one place, but others switch back and forth all time. Red onions are red onions! If Sysco is cheaper than US Food, that is where we buy them. I think this active shopping saves me at least $5000-$6000 per year and perhaps more.

Got rid of laundry service-was $26 every week now $3 per week

I have wondered about ways to get away from the laundry service… ours is more like 40-45 per week. How much did buying all the towels and aprons etc cost you? How long do they last?

I save almost $6000 a year in Worker’s Comp premiums by logging (with help of my POS and a spreadsheet I created) the hours they are on the road vs in the store. I have done this for over 10 years and just helped someone go from owing an extra $2000 during their audit to getting premium refunded $1500.

make your own soup!!! this is the best way to make money on all the veggie scraps you usually toss…onion tops, bottoms, and celery tops go in with the chicken backs to make chicken soup…got a bunch of broccoli stalks…you got cream of broccoli soup…zuccini looking a little sad…minestrone soup! the list goes on and on…

Spectacular! Thank you for sharing.
We did not see in increase in insurance costs when we started delivery, so that has me a bit concerned.
I believe the reports section in my POS system has a report on driver out time when they dispatch themselves, I’ll need to look into that.

We also recycle dough, I actually prefer the workability of our dough when we mix in dough from an earlier batch, I had a pile of blown out dough due to a forecasting error, and went near 50% usage the first time , now we stick with 20% or less and hold any other blown dough for the next batch.

Laundry service;
I’m not willing to lose that, I’ve worked at places that did their own, and I’m not a fan of adding on more tasks and not having perfect towels, aprons, and logo rugs
Plus, hasn’t there been some fire issues from washing greasy towels in a non-commercial machine?

For the SpeedLine users on the board: if you’re not already doing this, check your POS pay period reports for the In Store and Out Store Pay breakdown (v7.1+). Drivers are in a much higher risk class than in-store staff – but only when they’re on the road. If you aren’t reporting in-store vs. out-store pay separately, you’re paying too much in premiums.

Pop is where I have seen a big savings. I buy my pop from the local grocery stores when they have their sales. I save as much as $75 a week by not having Pepsi or Coke delivered by the companies.

I bought 24 aprons off amazon for 60 bucks and 100 towels (grey) for a hundred dollars.
I got the idea from McDonald’s, they do thier own laundry in my area they don’t use a dryer bc the towels go in a bleach solution anyway.
The thing was they would give me invoices that would go up $3 dollars every month plus id pay a premium for colored aprons, they’d charge me the premium but give me the shitty white aprons, and just one less vendor to piss me off

I got rid of direct deposit option for employees. It was an $8.00 base charge plus extra for every employee.

i did the unthinkable, reduced my paid labor and did it myself , wife and i, prep salad bar every day, she waits tables lunch while i cook , nights i wait tables and bus while she hosts and busses while we both help each other for the phone and to go ,we can handle the floor up to about 1600.00, weekends we need more help and holidays, sometimes we get slaughtered but we’ve learned you can do so much more than you think you can ! my son is running the kitchen now, so i don’t have to do both, savings are huge , i remember all the years i’ve spent supervising a crew trying to make a profit in the slower times, now when i hire they are told this is a seasonal job and i regret that there will not be available hours after the busy season, learned to survive the hard way and love it ! ( high mortality rate for restaurants in my area because of seasonality, too many slow months ,this month makes 29 Years !!! ) many other cost saving ideas that have worked well for me in some of my previous posts,

  1. Any outside service, Insurance, dumpster, used oil, linen, knife sharpening, credit card, phone service, whenever the contract is out or once a year we start shopping around, most of them if they know your shopping they either lower your prices or don’t raise them.
  2. Make sure your rubber spatulas are in good condition or replaced, so the employees can clean cans out to avoid waste.
  3. If you still do telephone book yellow page ads, drop your ad every third year, (this was a long time ago, but for 3 years they would give discounts then it would be full price the 4th year)
  4. keep track of food and labor on a weekly basis.
  5. Anything you use a lot of check on line for rebates, pizza sauce or brand names like Proctor and Gamble, McCains, French’s (Franks) usually have some good ones if you buy in quantity.

weigh out your ingredients,or at least your meats and cheese!

I forget the amount we were paying when we took over, but I remember figuring that we could almost just buy new towels and throw them away for that price. Of course we don’t do that, so we just gather them up and wash them every week or two as needed.