80 Ways To Reduce Expenses, Part 2

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a four-part series that will explore 80 ways to reduce operating expenses. In these difficult economic times, these ways could be the difference between having a profitable year and one of significant financial loss. After all, every dollar of reduced operating expense goes straight to the bottom line of an annual profit-and-loss statement. Take these suggestions at face value, or modify them for your agency. Either way, please take a look. Shaving a few dollars here and there might just save a job.

Think about saving money on equipment and supplies.

Equipment and supplies can consume a large portion of the budgetary pie.

Where can you make cuts without sacrificing customer service? How do you keep up with the image the community has come to expect while staying within the confines of a shrinking bottom line?

Here are 20 ways to reduce the cost of equipment and supplies as well as related storage and inventory costs:

1. Plan programs that don’t require much–if any–equipment. Create a program where participants supply their own equipment (craft supplies, sports and camping equipment, etc.) for a reduced entry or participation fee. This strategy can be an incentive to those who continually bring their own program supplies and equipment to seek like-minded peers who otherwise might have balked at full fare.

Of course, some participants may become alienated by not being financially able to supply their own equipment and supplies, or worse, drop from participation completely.

2. Utilize hand dryers over paper-towel dispensers in restrooms. Instead of dispensing multiple towels, or handfuls per user, hand dryers eliminate expenditures for towels and reduce trash.

Bear in mind, however, there will be an increase in energy usage, as well as the potential for complaints from those accustomed to paper towels.

3. Lease or rent rarely used equipment. Track equipment-use patterns carefully, and note the most frequently used and least utilized (e.g., back-hoe, portable stage, cherry-picker truck, etc). Analyze several different programs or projects (current and upcoming) to determine frequency of use, as well as lease, rent, or purchase options.

A word of caution–if you are wrong and/or use patterns that change, you could be caught leasing or renting when a long-term purchase option may have been the rational choice.

4. Consider high-quality, longer lifecycle equipment purchases. “Institutional-grade” equipment purchases for facilities such as high-use municipal venues, etc., that are very client and/or community dependent, can be justified within the overall purpose and scope of the facility. The alternative is to pay exorbitant rates to rectify a poorly timed malfunction or system failure when the venue is booked for days, weeks, or months.

However, budgetary balance can change, so your strategy can backfire. Also, some administrators will not be happy about forgoing opportunities to buy used equipment without sacrificing quality.

5. Monitor and control employee use of supplies. Maintain a detailed inventory of supplies, and chart usage patterns by employees. This will allow for accurate planning, and discourage employee theft.

However, be aware employees may become upset with such procedures, as the free-flow of supplies is no longer acceptable.

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Related posts:

  1. 80 Ways To Reduce Expenses: Part 4
  2. 80 Ways to Reduce Expenses: Part 3
  3. 80 Ways To Reduce Expenses
  4. The Skatepark Decision, Part 1
  5. Giant Miniature, Part II
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