Ways To Reduce Your Retail Expenses

Let’s face it – cutting corners and eliminating expenses is necessary for many businesses nowadays. Recognizing this and reacting to it is an important step that can save a business from financial failure… or worse – from having to close entirely as a result of a financial disaster. While each unique business will have to determine what is best for them to adjust or eliminate, all businesses can consider the following:

1. Merchant Services Fees.This pertains to your credit card processing fees and other fees associated with you using a point of purchase system that allows you to process transactions. While eliminating this entirely will likely not make sense, it is possible for you to competitive shop for a better rate. You can also discuss payment options with your current provider that may be better from you. Just like you call your local cable company to get a better deal, you can do the same thing with merchant services providers. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. Either way, get competitive quotes so you know what your options are. Then make your changes accordingly.

2. Professional Services. Is someone else doing your taxes? Do you have a marketing agency helping you? While eliminating these professional services may not be the answer, discussing your options with them may be. By being upfront and honest with them, they will be more inclined to work with you rather than lose your business entirely. It’s very possible they are also cutting corners, so they may be able to relate to your decision to reduce expenses.

3. Telephone Bills. Are you using more than one? Do you have a cell phone and land line for your business? What options are available to each, such as long distance or call waiting? Ask yourself what is absolutely necessary for your business and make sure you are only paying for the services you need on each appropriate bill. It’s also likely that you can reduce expenses by “bundling” your services onto one bill, which can decrease your overall expenses by 1o to 20%, depending on your provider. Look into all your options and make sure you aren’t paying for something you don’t use. For example, do you have to call long distance from your land line? If not, eliminate this from your service package. Use your cell instead for long distance calls. This tends to be the more cost effective option.

4. Website hosting fees.This is a very competitive industry and as a result, you can be competitive in who you choose to go with. Consider what your hosting package includes and 1) if you are using all the options you are paying for and 2) if you are paying additional for what is not included. Then speak with a representative of your web-hosting company on how you can eliminate some costs. It’s possible you are in a contract that you can’t alter immediately, but you should be prepared to change contracts and possibly hosts based on what you discover in your research. Remember that despite the research you did when you originally decided on a host, it’s likely options and deals have since changed.

5. Cleaning services. Anyone who works in retail knows there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. Unfortunately, when times are tough, you might need to find those extra hours to do it all – and not all that you want to do! Cleaning services and janitorial services are a luxury we can each appreciate, but when your dollars are stretching thin, this may be one way to save some money.

There are many things that can be evaluated for each individual business in an effort to reduce expenses. Internet expenses, part time employees, floral arrangements and landscaping are just a few other things to consider. If you have ideas or first hand experience as to what has helped you, let us know. Please comment below.


  • Jeff Zellmer
    February 20, 2010

    In regards to your first cost item, merchant service fees, there is definitely room to lower your expenses in most cases. Our firm has analyzed thousands of credit card processing statements from all over the country and we find that as many as 70% of these companies have significant opportunities to lower costs significantly in this area.
    As a small business owner, make certain you arm yourself with the proper information and talk to your payment processing vendor. With the proper knowledge, you may be able to shave thousands of dollars off the fees you are paying.

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