How much did we save our recent Legal client?

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on March 3, 2014 No Comments yet

 

January 2014                                  Legal Firm Savings

 

As Cost Reduction specialists we a have a very simple philosophy and approach to our clients.

No big contracts just an email exchange is enough for us, plus of course an NDA if you need one.

Unlike other competitors who are known to charge fees and over 50% of identified savings,

we do things a little differently.

 

Our 3 step approach is;

1                   We review all costs within the business, [but we will not teach anyone how to suck eggs].

2                   We will agree those savings with the client. [There maybe a contracts in place which mean the savings cannot be made, we do not count that as a saving]

3                   Our charge of 10% is based on an agreed calculation of the 1st years savings.

We sit quietly in a corner of the office going through the last years worth of invoices and costs and the over the next few weeks will feed back areas where we think savings can be made.

How do we identify savings/ We ask three questions of each and every cost.

1                   Is that cost really necessary? [Can we just get rid of it?]

2                   How can we encourage efficiency when incurring the cost?

3                   Can we renegotiate with your existing supplier or better ones?

We have attached an example of savings that we have made at a London based Legal Firm recently, as an example of our work.

 

Cost

% Saving

Waste Collection

25%

Telephony Costs

29%

Document Storage

21%-64%

Confidential Shredding

65%

Washroom Services

68%

Printing

41%

Electricity

22%

IT Costs

32%

Private Health Cover

28%

Stationery

12%

 

 

For this four partner, firm savings were in excess of £15,000 and are still climbing as        contracts fall due. Our charge for this was 10% of these agreed savings.

 

If you would like us to do the same for your firm then just get in touch with our Managing Director on MarcusKing@TheCostDetectives.co.uk and we can organise a time to meet

 

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What do we charge and How do we find savings?

Posted in Cost Detective, General by Marcus on November 27, 2013 No Comments yet

 

Cost Detective

 

Not surprisingly prospects ask us how we do what we do and what are the costs if they engage with us.

 

I thought it would be  worth writing a short blog, as our methods are transparent and  our costs are there for all to see.

 

Transparency!

 

After we have been appointed by a client the process usually runs like this;

 

1.  Meet with the boss for 45 minutes to understand the business and what its priorities are in terms of costs. Get introduced to finance team.

2.   Sit down with all the invoices etc for the last 12 months and gather information, just a desk and a photocopier/scanner are fine, no need for input from staff.

3.  Take the information away, get clarity from staff on a few items and then start reporting back savings that we have identified via email.

4. First savings are  usually identified  within 10 days, and once we have completed we will summarise all the savings in a nice short report.

5.  We will agree the savings with you the client.

6.  Done

 

How do we identify savings?  We take a 3 step approach  to each and every cost.

OK I could not find an image with 3 steps!

 

1.  Is that cost really necessary? Can we just get rid of it?

2.  How  can we get you to use less, to  be more efficient, whether that be energy or processes.

3.  Can we renegotiate with existing suppliers or suggest new ones?

 

Once we have applied these three questions to all costs we have always identified savings for every organisation we have worked for.

 

How much does all this cost?

It is very straight forward, remember number 5 in the process, We agree the savings with the client? Once those are agreed then our share of that is just 10%, so the client keeps 90% and does not pay any other fees. The 10% also only applies to the first 12 months worth of savings not for years to come like some of our competitors.

 

So there you have it the How and How Much questions answered.

By the way if you are a charity or know of one, we do not charge them even the 10%, so they get the service for free.

 

If you have any questions then just email me on Marcus@TheCostDetectives.co.uk

 

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Running Costs and How to Reduce them!

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on November 19, 2013 No Comments yet

Running Costs and how to reduce them!

[Reward for reading the article at the end!]

We at The Cost Detectives work with a number of charities every month and although costs can differ widely between organisations the relentless pressure to reduce them and get value for money is always the same.

Whether it’s champagne and fish tanks in the private sector or sleeping bags and Gift Aid support in the charitable sector, we have found the same basic questions can be asked of all costs.

 

The three most important questions

 to ask when looking at any cost.

 

1    Is that cost really necessary?  [Can we just get rid of it, just because that is the way it has always been done does not mean it should continue that way. Challenge the costs very existence.]

 

2    How can we be more efficient? [This could mean something as simple as turning the lights off or using free technology available on the internet, or making processes work smarter.]

 

 

3    Can we renegotiate with our suppliers, if not can we change them? [Many suppliers will negotiate, you maybe surprised and indeed there are many hungry suppliers who will provide better and less expensive products and services.]

 

 

If you can ask these questions and take action on the answers then you will go a long way to ensuring that you are using your income wisely for your charities chosen passion.

 

Often it is a case of finding the time to ask for help. For example, we are often surprised how many companies are happy to help charities especially those with local connections, equally we come across others who treat charities as just another customer and charge whatever they can get away with. Most charities we see have a mixture of the two. But do find the time to ask.

 

The key is not only to ask the four questions but also to take action!

 

Reward Time!

 

As a reward for reading the article here are three tips that you can take away with you now and potentially save thousands of pounds in your charity. So copy these to your finance team now, you may even get them to make the coffee for a change as a thank you.

 

3 Cost Saving Tips

 

1    If you do not know when your energy contracts end then find out, otherwise you will be rolled over into a new much higher, above market rate for years to come.

 

2    Have a look at your phone bill, if you are paying a minimum call charge, even if the call is one second long then you are paying too much. Also if you are paying over 8 tenths of a penny per minute for local and national calls then you are paying too much.

 

 

3    If Vat is actually a cost for your charity then check you are paying the reduced rate for all your energy and water you could save 15% off every bill!

 

 

The Cost Detectives are a Cost Reduction company, who help all types of organisations by identify cost savings. We help a few charities each month for free. Follow us on Twitter for more tips or just email Marcus@thecostdetectives.co.uk  with any questions and help.

 

 

 

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Your supplier has just put their prices up, now what?

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on September 24, 2013 No Comments yet

The six questions you should ask when suppliers put their prices up.

 

We often come across this issue with our customers, in fact it is often the trigger to bring us in to help.

Here are questions you should ask;

Does our contract with them allow for price rises?

Do we have an option to come out of the contract?

Are the rises justified, is the market moving in the same direction?

Should we explore other options with other suppliers?

Can we negotiate with our supplier to try and reverse the increases?

Do we have the time for any of this?

 

If you do not have the time to find the answers to these questions, then your costs

will just continue to rise putting more and more pressure on your profitability.

 

You should also be aware, especially for those suppliers that you do not have a contract with, that they can put their prices up without even telling you. Do you check that this is not happening or do you just take it without doing anything about it?

 

The economy is supposedly turning a corner, so many suppliers will be taking the opportunity to put prices up.

Our advice: Just say no.  Keep Calm

 

 

 

If you need help saying no then just drop me a line on Marcus@TheCostDetectives.co.uk

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How to save money with employee Benefits. Get them reviewed!

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on August 1, 2013 No Comments yet

How to save money with employee Benefits.  Get them reviewed!

In a major survey of employees , the overwhelming majority rank Private Medical Insurance as their second most important benefit after a company contributing pension scheme.

There are many schemes available; anything from basic cover to get your staff back to work quickly, to full cover, that attracts and retains the most skilled members of your workforce.

Other benefits like Gym Membership, Health and Wellbeing Programs and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s) can also be combined with your Medical Insurance to add value to your employee’s benefits package and help them keep fit and healthy.

You may have Private Medical Insurance cover but is it the most suitable or are you paying too much?

Auto Enrolment for pensions is already here and rolling out to EVERY company in the next few years..even if you have a pension scheme in force, you should take advice on its suitability and compliance with the new regulations, many do not comply.

Basic Life Insurance (Death in Service) and Income Protection are also valued benefits,  giving employees the peace of mind that if they get ill and can’t work, or the worst happens, there would be a safety net for them and their families. These schemes are cheaper thank you might think.

This is especially important if you are a smaller firm trying to attract personnel from the larger companies. Even as a one man band, you can still benefit from the tax efficient life insurance that’s paid for by your company.

Get in touch to cost save without removing the effectiveness of all your employee benefits, or if you have nothing in place yet and you know you should.

A big thanks you to Seth Thomas at Ample Financial Services for doing most of the work for this blog.

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Free help for Local North London Businesses from The Cost Detectives

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on July 22, 2013 No Comments yet

We at the Cost Detectives have decided to try and do our bit to help small local businesses.

So even if you are not one please pass on the message.

Is your business under £500k turnover and are you in postcodes N14 N21 N20 EN N11 or N13 then we will look at your costs for free, our bit to help Local Businesses.

If your business is a little slower over summer then it is a good time to review all the costs within your business so why not take advantage of this offer?

Just drop me a line and we can make a start.

Here is a blog that may help. http://bit.ly/15CvoFB

I hope you are still enjoying the heat, remember when it snowed and you wished it was hot!

Feel free to pass this offer on.

Best Regards
Marcus King
The Cost Detectives

PS We also help charities for free so if you have any contacts in this area please do let them know.

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Is your business paying any of these prices? You are paying too much!

Posted in General by Marcus on July 16, 2013 No Comments yet

Is your business paying these prices for goods and services?

Markets change, wholesale prices move, relationships are important, we hear all of this but they always result in a price increase from the supplier, not so much a negotiation more of a take it or leave it.

We thought we would give you 10 prices for items that if you are paying in excess of then, it is probable that you are paying too much.

You should also check our other posting that showed 10 suppliers that we have made significant savings against recently to see if they are supplying you. Cost Detectives list of Shame. Or are you one of them?

 

Are you paying more than…..

1                    1pence per minute for national or local calls?

2                   5.5 pence per minute for mobile calls?

3                   £11 per collection for an 1100 litre waste bin?

4                   Zero to have your Merchant credit card bill sent to you?

5                   £15 for your PDQ machine?

6                   £3 per payslip all inclusive for outsourced payroll?

7                   £9 per collection for Feminine Hygiene Disposal?

8                   You did two years ago for print of any kind?

9                   £8.70 for a case of 200ml Coca Cola?

10              Zero for insurance charged via any of your lease agreements?

 

These are just a tiny fraction of prices that we have identified that are too high, if you are paying in excess of any of these then just drop me a line Marcus@TheCostDetectives.co.uk and we can help.

Equally if you would like to check a price for anything just email us a current invoice, any cost from A-Z; from Live Lobsters to a taxi to Heathrow!

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Revealed; Suppliers we have identified savings against for clients!

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on July 16, 2013 No Comments yet

When was the last time one of your suppliers rang up to say their prices were falling?

 

A great question that I often hear from grimacing businessmen in networking events and business meetings.

Well, sometimes all you have  to do is ask, or get someone to benchmark your costs for you.

Time and prioritising is the work of the devil as far as most FDs and MDs are concerned, so we have put together a little list of those suppliers we have identified significant savings against in the last few months.

If you have any of these suppliers then just get in touch.

Indeed if you are using them then it is probable that you are paying too much no matter how big or small a company you are.

In no particular order, honestly;

 

BT for Telephony

PHS for Washroom supplies

Viking for stationery

Iron Mountain for Document Storage

Local counsel for waste collection

Biffa for waste collection

Bond for outsourced payroll

AXA-PPP for healthcare

Streamline for Merchant Credit Cards

Rentokil Initial for washroom supplies

 

If you are looking at the list and see your name, then how about reviewing your clients accounts and getting better value for money for them?

We are coming for you!

 

If you would like your costs reviewed then just drop me a line on Marcus@TheCostDetectives.co.uk

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What to do if your Energy Supplier wants to change the meter? by The Cost Detectives

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on April 22, 2013 No Comments yet

What to do if your Energy Supplier wants to change the meter?

 

Smart meters are all the rage at the moment and indeed to be encouraged so we can all get rid of the ridiculous process of estimated bills.

When you get the call from your energy supplier that they want to change the meter, then ask yourself this question, “Why now?”

We have been told stories by our energy experts of cases where the supplier wants to change the meter because your current one is faulty. A good thing surely to change it then?

Not necessarily, what if your current meter is saying that you are using more than you actually are? Meters do go wrong especially the older ones with the spinning wheel. They are mechanical and parts wear out, allowing the wheel to spin more freely, and thus your readings are higher than they need to be and you end up being overcharged.

Energy MeterThe lessons here are to monitor your electricity usage via the meter, once you build  up a picture then you can look at the trends and decide if something out of the ordinary is going on. Make it the last thing you do every Friday before you go home.

Once your supplier comes into change the meter then the evidence is gone, they throw the old meters away, so how are you going to show that they have been over charging you now?

We have experts who can monitor your usage with their own meters if you are concerned, or if you just want to get cheaper electricity and gas then we have the experts who can help and are best suited to you and your business.

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter @CostDetectives for great free cost saving tips, or do get in touch if you are looking for any contacts as we now have over 7,300. MarcusKing@TheCostDetectives.co.uk

 

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Costs are like dogs!- The Cost Detectives

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on April 7, 2013 No Comments yet

Costs are like dogs!

 

We spend a lot of time with clients looking at the actual cost of things that they are paying for, because that is the area they want us to concentrate on.

But we also look at how things are being ordered and why?  dog on lead 1

Companies struggle between empowering employees to do  right when they buy things, but equally wonder why their costs just keep going upwards.

There are things you can do to make sure that the balance works better.

Restrict who employees can order from, but equally make sure the door is open to new suggestions for suppliers as employees who are at the coal face often have an eye on new trends and options available.

 

Empower employees not only to spend but to innovate as well.

When was the last time you asked your employees, “What do we spend too much on?” If you did , did you take any notice?

If you have multiple sites how do you know when purchases are being made? Do you have a web based ordering and stock control system that can spit out reports at the drop of a hat.

There are many different ways of controlling day to day costs. Looking at costs two weeks after each month end is not one of them or even worse at year end!

Costs are like dogs you need to keep them on a leash, but there is no reason with the right procedures in place that it can not be one of those extendable / retractable ones. Not every dog tries to run away!

 

dog on lead 2

 

So have another think about your costs, if you do not have the time to find those last bits of savings then you know where to come.

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter @CostDetectives for great free cost saving tips, or do get in touch if you are looking for any contacts as we now have over 7,000. MarcusKing@TheCostDetectives.co.uk

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