Over the past 10-15 years, there has been a huge change in the typical work environment for many professionals. Today’s business people are no longer confined to a simple office location and strapped to a desk. The work environment today has evolved into working from home, in hotels, on the road, even in cars. To … Continue reading → Continue reading →
Most small office buyers of office supplies believe shopping for hours to find the rock bottom lowest price for a carton of paper, box of hanging folders or package of Post-It Notes is the key way to save money and spend less on office supplies. In reality, there are many other variables than just price you need to consider when buying office products.
Any business owner will tell you the biggest expense they have running a business is employee salaries and the associated benefit costs. Anytime you have a relatively high paid employee, say $ 15 per hour, searching the newspapers, or shopping the aisles at office superstores to save ten cents on a ream of copy paper, or .$ 50 on that box of file folders, the wasted time you are paying in salaries usually offsets any savings you are get fixating on the lowest invoice price.
The best way to start saving on office supplies now is finding an online independent office supply company you can trust that has low prices every day, and thus stop wasting time looking around for that next “great buy”. Today there are new companies that even guarantee that their prices are better than the big Mega Office Stores. Also, it’s awesome to learn there are new breeds of companies out there that do business differently with a conscious capitalism business model. They treat employees, vendors, the environment and the community as valuable pieces to success, and some even donate half of their profits to great charities. Look for these companies on a Google search, it’s simple. Then compare a few prices and save time and money being loyal to a great supplier, not a corporate machine like the Big Boxes.
My whole message to you is to convince you to take into consideration the Absolute Total Cost of buying office products, not just looking at invoice price. It is eye-opening to see first hand the different expenses your business incurs in the process of buying office supplies when you compare simply ordering online from a trusted office supply company, versus sending an office employee to the nearest “Office Mega Depot” to get that promo case of copy paper “deal” that you saw in the Sunday circulars.
Small businesses typically have orders that include a box of Pendaflex report covers, a carton of paper, an HP ink cartridge, 1 dozen Sharpie markers, a pack of 3 x 3 yellow Post-It notes, a box of Universal hanging folders, a carton of GP paper towels for the break room, and a big box of pretzels to sit on the assistants desk for people to munch on.
An order like that can run to about $ 80, which is just over the free delivery order value for most of the newer online office supply companies. Now, let’s suppose that Office Mega Depot is running a sale on ink cartridges and paper, and while the everyday low prices from your favorite online company gives you an order total of $ 80, the cost from Office Mega Depot is $ 74. That looks like a $ 6 savings by shopping at the nearest superstore. But let’s look at the true total cost of going to that big box retail store.
So the retail store is pretty close, only about a 15 minute drive, no big deal. That’s 30 minutes getting there and back. Finding the products you need in a large retail superstore isn’t easy, so getting the products on your list takes some time to navigate down the aisles stocked with products that all look the same. I’ll be conservative and say it takes 20 minutes to find all your stuff, load the cart and checkout. In total, that is close to one hours time you are paying an employee to shop, and this is a really conservative estimate…total time is usually more. If your employee is making a typical white collar admin type salary of $ 15.00, you just spent and extra $ 15 on your order. Compare that to the typical 10 minutes it would take to buy 5-6 items online which is only $ 2.50 in employee time.
The government allows you to claim $ .52 cents per mile on expenses for gas, so saying the drive there and back is 15 miles that’s another $ 7.80. Also, many internet companies are not required to charge sales tax in most states, so an order from the office superstore will have a sales tax charge of around $ 5.92, or 8%. I won’t quantify it here, but remember there is also the risk of employee accidents while on company business driving, and the increased insurance cost this could cause.
Ok, lets review who really provides the lowest cost to your business on an average office supply order, and on an order where the office superstore seemed to have the lowest prices. The cost for your order shopping from your trusted online office supply store was $ 80 total with no shipping or sale tax charges. Add in the time for an employee to shop online and your True Total Cost is $ 82.50
Taking advantage of that in-store copy paper deal, and the promo on ink cartridges gave you a lower invoice price of $ 74.00 at the Big Box store. However, adding in sales tax of $ 5.92, the employee time costs of $ 15, and the cost for gas reimbursement of $ 7.80, this supposed great deal really equals $ 102.72 in Total Acquisition Cost!
So, an order that looked to be $ 6.00 cheaper by going to the nearest superstore actually is a far better value – $ 20.00 cheaper, or a full 20% – by ordering online from a trusted office supply dealer.
So remember to be smart when ordering Office Products, Janitorial Supplies, Office Furniture or Technology items for your office. Find an independent dealer you can trust, always consider the Total Cost for your office supplies, support other small businesses, not Big Box stores. Save cash for your business!
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