Save your business money NOWEvery business would love to cut costs, but it’s not always clear what line items need to be slashed to do so. Sometimes, however, you don’t have to slash any line item to save money. Rather, changing a few habits around the office is all you need to not only cut costs, but also potentially save thousands of dollars a month.

Here are three things you can do to save your business money now:

1. Audit your utility bills

Utility bills can play a major role in the operational costs of your business. The good news is that while utilities can come with a high price tag, the costs are not fixed and can be managed.

In fact, you can audit your utility bills using a utility management company like SM Engineering, which can end up saving your company money every month. By examining your electric, gas and water/sewer bills, we will be able to spot unnecessary costs due to inappropriate rate plans, billing errors and tax exemptions the business is missing out on.

How do we do this?

First, through a bill analysis, we are able to find the lowest utility rate options, and advise you on the most appropriate rate schedule and options for your needs.

We also look over your bills to find any errors, refunds and overcharges that are otherwise easy to miss.

And finally, we have tax experts who are knowledgeable about state tax laws. These experts can determine if you qualify for sales tax exemptions and ensure that you are receiving all the tax credits for which you qualify.

2. Check the lighting

You need lighting to run your business, but what kind of lighting are you currently consuming? Outdated lighting fixtures, as well as outdated lightbulbs, are a big source of wasted energy. One solution is to consider spending a bit more on compact florescent lamps (CFLs). Typically, they will use 75% less energy and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

In addition, you can install motion detectors to automatically turn lights off that aren’t in use. This is a great option for areas that are used less than others, such as restrooms, storage rooms and break rooms. And finally, consider what natural light you have available and take advantage of it.

3. Cut the cord

Many items around the office are required to be plugged in such as telephones, computers, copy machines, fax machines, coffee makers and the like. All of these items consume electricity, even when not in use. And, when they are turned off, they still consume electricity unless they are unplugged.

But who wants to go around and unplug all the equipment every night?

So instead, install a power strip at each desk or workstation. Power strips can be easily turned off at the end of the day, preventing unused energy from draining overnight.

Another option is to ask users of desktop computers to turn them off or put them into sleep mode before leaving the office. If that is too unmanageable, you could program the desktops to automatically go into sleep mode when not being used for a defined period of time.

Finally, consider using electronics and appliances that are Energy Star qualified. These are government-backed, energy efficient products that can offer savings for the consumer.

While we can only offer suggestions for the items 2 and 3 on this list, we’d love to answer any questions you might have regarding a utility bill audit for your business. Contact us today to learn more!

Peterson joined SM Engineering Co. as Senior Staff Engineering. He worked on a variety of projects in the Midwest with regard to energy audits and utility rate analysis and installation of boiler controls by Tour & Anderson. Mr. Peterson also published several Technical Papers for the Minnesota Multi Housing Association on boiler operations. Find him on Google+