Thrift is the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.
As we know all too well, the retail travel industry works off wafer-thin margins. That 10% gross commission that you earn on the sale of a package holiday usually translates into a net profit of just 1%, after your costs have been factored in. That’s just another way of saying that for every €1 you spend on something, you need to generate €100 worth of sales just to cover that cost and break even! Therefore, cutting your costs (as opposed to growing your sales) can have a disproportionately positive impact on your bottom line. Here are some of the more obvious suggestions for cutting those costs!
- Maximise on deals
Check out our affinity deal with Barclaycard on credit card processing. Documentary evidence to date suggests that the average agent can make savings upwards of €2,500 per annum on credit card processing costs.
- Switch now
Switch over to Imagine or Buzz Telecom as part of our deals with both of those Tier 1 telecom providers where you should expect to realise annual savings of approximately 15% or more, depending on who your current provider is and what tari you’re on.
- Use social media
Reduce the cost of your marketing/advertising bill by utilising social media more. The likes of Facebook and Twitter cost nothing, other than your time and effort.
- Tighten credit control
Exercise tighter credit control with your customers/corporate accounts. Money costs money and you should not be acting as someone’s banker.
- Buy used equipment
If you need to replace computer equipment, office hardware or add more desks, filing cabinets etc. then why not consider buying second hand. With all the companies that have sadly gone into liquidation or ceased trading over the course of the past few years, there is an abundance of good quality, keenly priced second-hand office equipment for sale so there’s no need to have to pay over the odds for something that’s brand new.
- Cut energy consumption
Aside from checking if you’re currently enjoying the cheapest electricity rates (see our new affinity deal with Electric Ireland), you should also be taking every opportunity to reduce your energy consumption costs by getting into the habit of turning off the lights in rooms that are not in use; turning off monitors or closing down computers overnight, or even reducing the temperature of your office heating by just a degree or two. Also check out the feasibility of replacing all the bulbs in your office with energy efficient ones which will realise savings over the long run. Don’t pay to have your excess brochure stocks disposed of. Contact Neville Monahan of Carmon Waste (www.carmonwaste.ie) who will gladly take them off your hands for free. Contact Neville on 086 3229542.
- Renegotiate your rent
If you do not own the building that you occupy and are not tied in to upward-only rent reviews, consider trying to renegotiate that rent with your landlord in order to reflect the more challenging economic circumstances under which you now have to trade. You won’t get unless you ask! It is not an unreasonable request to make and your landlord might be more accommodating than you think as a paying tenant represents a much better option than a vacant premises. If you are a smaller agency and most of your clients are regular and conduct most of their business over the phone or via email then you might even consider becoming your own home worker and stripping one major cost out of your overheads. Many before you have managed the switch successfully so you can seek advice from them before you make such a move in order to make yourself aware of the downsides as well.
- Purchase rather than lease
Purchase rather than lease office equipment. Technology has moved on so much in recent years that it sometimes doesn’t make sense. Consolidate by investing in a multifunction device that combines the functions of printer, photocopier, fax machine and scanner. It takes up less space in your office and makes three other pieces of office equipment redundant almost immediately. Opt for a laser version rather than an inkjet one as inkjets tend to be more expensive in the long run because of the cost of consumables. Most of the major manufacturers market models in the multifunction range such as HP, Canon, Dell, Xerox, Samsung, Brother, Lexmark etc.
- Improve productivity
Purchase an office mobile(s) and choose the most competitive call tariff and get staff into the habit of using that mobile to call/notify clients whose only point of contact is a mobile phone. This should help to reduce your overall call costs. Use a web-based service to communicate regularly with such clients by bulk-purchasing text bundles. Do an audit of the number of lines you currently have active. If you have reduced your staff numbers in recent years you may now have an excess of telephone lines that you are still paying annual rental charges on.
- Maximise free webinars
Maximise the use of Travel Centres weekly webinar series in order to keep staff up-to-date and current on supplier news on new products, services and destinations. This will help to eliminate all such travel and subsistence costs that would be otherwise absorbed in sending staff to out-of–office workshops and training days.