It's Your Money, Keep It: 5 Money Saving Business Tips

Ways to save your small business lots of money and a little bit of money

Cash is king for a reason.

Smart businesses worry about both the dollars and the pennies. Here are five money saving tips I've learned along the way.

1. CONTACT UTILITY COMPANIES TO SEE IF YOU ARE OVERPAYING SALES TAX

Check with your utility companies to see if you need to be paying sales tax on utilities. In some states, businesses may make tax-exempt purchases of utilities that are used directly and exclusively to produce tangible personal property for sale.

2. AVOID OVERNIGHT MAILING FEES 

Mail items early enough so they will arrive before a deadline.  Use the normal USPS tracking service or UPS with tracking capability to follow important packages. 

3. WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE PREMIUM PAYMENTS 

I’m not sure if all workers' compensation insurance carriers operate the same way, but Accident Fund allowed our company to exempt the salaries of owners from the payroll total for determining workers' compensation premium payments. Check with your workers' compensation insurance carrier to see if owner’s wages are exempt from workers' compensation premiums.

Make sure you do this BEFORE the premium period begins as we notified the carrier after a change in ownership and had to pay the premium on the owner’s wages for one year. If ownership changes during the life of the business, update the owner information with the workers' compensation carrier as soon as the change is effective. 

4. WORKERS' COMPENSATION AUDIT 

Workers' compensation premiums are estimated during the year based on the projected annual payroll. At the end of the year, there is an audit of actual hours worked to determine if you paid too much or didn’t pay enough. You will be required to provide a report of total hours – broken down by regular vs. overtime – in different job categories (i.e. sales, office workers, painters, welders, managers). You may be allowed to mail the information to the insurance company – along with the annual W3 and quarterly 941 earnings reports -- or the insurance company may send an auditor to your place of business. When we were small, we were allowed to mail the information to the insurance company, after we reached a higher level of payroll, the audit was always in-person. 

Make sure that you have the employee categorized in the proper job to ensure you are not paying more than is required. The premiums for office workers are less than the premium for a welder. Rates are based on the likelihood of having to pay a workers' compensation claim. 

To save time compiling the information for the audit, request that the premium year coincide with the company’s fiscal/calendar year. If you do this, you will be able to use the W3 report of total wages and the quarterly 941 reports to confirm that all earnings are accounted for in your report. 

5. GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE 

The general liability premium requirement is based on the value of the company’s sales – exclusive of freight and sales tax. Initially, we did not have a system to easily break out sales tax and freight from the total invoice amount so I had been overpaying the general liability insurance premium. My advice is to check what income can be excluded from the total invoice amount for purposes of determining the general liability premium.


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About Gretchen

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I share small business insights and tips that I learned from being co-founder and CEO for 12 years at an equipment manufacturing company.

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