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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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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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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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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How your costs can be like the Olympic Cyclists! by The Cost Detectives

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on March 10, 2013 No Comments yet

How your costs can be like the Olympic Cyclists!

 

I remember watching an interview whilst the Olympics were on , with some of the management team of the British 2012 Olympic Cycling team, the most successful we have ever had.

The thing that really struck me was how the interviewee said there are no big changes to be made anymore, no one thing is suddenly going to make everyone go faster. So what did they do? Did they just try and do the same thing did they just stop looking? No they listed out every single item and said how can we improve it even if it only makes a difference of a hundredth of a second, and they started to make the changes.

 

Low and behold all those little increments added together added up to a big something, more gold medals!Olympic Gold Medal

 

As we visit lots of businesses or talk to prospects we often hear, “oh no we have our costs under control thanks”, well I bet the other countries cyclists thought that as well and look what happened to them!

Making it known in the company that the little things are important will permeate through the rest of the behaviour and all sorts of benefits will accrue. Not only cost control and waste but customer care and delivery as well.Cyclist Finishing First

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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The Secrets of Cost Reduction!

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on January 26, 2013 No Comments yet

 

The  Secrets of Cost Reduction.

 

 

We are often asked what approach we take to reviewing client’s costs.

The answer we give is straight forward and can be used by anyone in any organisation, whether you are one man band or a multi national.

We believe each and every cost in your business should be subjected to the following 3 questions.

 

Is that Cost really necessary?

Challenge every single cost within your business, what would you do if you could not buy it anymore? Can you find it free on the internet, can you barter it for something. Has the technology just got old and you should really have got rid of it ages ago, no matter what it is.

How can we use  less of things?

You can always be more efficient, whether that means setting the photocopier to automatically print both sides. Or going paperless altogether, or not leaving things on standby. Look at your business processes, map them and test them and look for where the delays and inefficiencies are.

 

Can I renegotiate, or find an alternative?

Sometimes it can be difficult to renegotiate with the large corporate, especially if you are a smaller company. But why not say to your other suppliers “We are looking to appoint you as our exclusive supplier for X, if we do that we would need to have 5% off” or “ For every £ we spend over last quarters spend we need a 10% discount”.

You will be surprised how many suppliers are keen to help and maintain their market share by keeping you as a customer.

 

I hope you have enjoyed these tips, please do not hesitate to ask any questions or indeed add your own. Don’t forget to share this article  if you found it helpful. Just send me an email Marcus@TheCostDetectives.co.uk if you would like our help.

 

 

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Age UK Enfield Continues to Support community.

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on October 27, 2012 No Comments yet

 

This week I attended the AGM of Age UK Enfield. Did you know each local Age UK office is a charity in their own right and do not receive any money from the National Office?

Age UK Enfield Offices on the ground floor

Not sure what I was expecting, but I had two pleasant surprises.

Firstly was the amount of people there supporting the cause, the Enfield Mayor Cllr Kate Anolue was there, as were a number of councillors. Lots of members of the charity,  as well as volunteers, supporters and the local Police Support Officers.

In fact there were over 100 people in attendance. Including a very sprightly 95 year old barn dancer!

 

The second surprise was when the CEO Tony Seagroatt during his address, took the time out to mention myself and The Cost Detectives, thanking us for helping reduce their running costs and then recommending us to other charities. Completely unexpected.

The big news of the day was the announcement of a potentially big project on the horizon which sounded really exciting, I am sure we will hear more in due course. This was Tony’s 20th year as CEO a fantastic servant to, well I was going to say “the elderly”, but as they start supporting people when they turn 50 I am not sure I can.

They have some great Trustees but are potentially on the look out for someone that has some marketing expertise they can bring to the team so if you are interested I am sure Tony would be pleased to hear from you.

The police also did a presentation on bogus callers and how to deal with them, a number of people in the audience then st0od up and told their stories of how they had been ripped off, a lesson for us all to be aware. Just another way AGE UK Enfield is helping the local community.

After the meeting was over everyone was encouraged to stay and talk to each other over tea and sandwiches which was great, met a number of interesting people.

Had a great afternoon thanks to Tony and the team at Age UK Enfield.

A final thought “Who do you support in your local community?”.

 

 

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16 ways different Merchant Credit Card companies can rip you off!

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on October 4, 2012 No Comments yet

16 ways different Merchant Credit Card companies can rip you off!

 

We asked one of our experts recently what sort of things we should look out for when we are looking at Merchant Credit Card statements and charges.

They admitted they even surprised themselves with the list.

The headline rates are often touted, but this is not always the full picture!

 

  1. Admin fee – charge to set up the service
  2. Terminal Rental fee – are the fees being charged an introductory offer, or are they fixed.  Also to ensure the same style of machines are being quoted for
  3. Monthly/annual membership fee.  Not very common but we do still see this one a number of applications
  4. Authorisation charges – price per transaction or process
  5. Chargebacks – what charge is there per chargeback
  6. Voice authorisations – are these charged extra
  7. What number does the authorisation service dial – if this is not freephone, the customer will also be paying for the call.
  8. Premium fees – these are often not disclosed fully on an invoice so hard to quantify, some providers are very good at hiding certain fees like this.
  9. Interchange fees – not normally charge separately, but this is now standard practice for some banks.
  10. Cancellation fees, cancellation terms – some of the companies  can impose very onerous terms for cancellation (e.g. all remaining payments plus a cancellation fee)
  11. Contract Length – if the terms above are unrealistic, this could cause a problem.
  12. Setup time – how long will they realistically take to process the application
  13. PCIDSS fees – this may be an annual membership fee, non-compliancy fees, or similarly worded charge
  14. Paper statements – is this a chargeable service, or has this even been scrapped altogether.
  15. RISK – are they asking for any security up front – this is not as likely as you normally deal with existing businesses, but may still be something of a sticking point.  This will also be what is the payment cycle/deferment of the payment.
  16. What other services does the machine offer? – Mobile Phone Top Ups.

 

 

So 16 different things to look at, all before you look at the headline rates of the percentage they charge for each transaction.

 

If you have any trouble trying to make sense of yours then just let us know and we can get our experts to do the work for you and find you the best current deal. Just email me on Marcus@thecostdetectives.co.uk

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Do you have the fairer sex working for you?

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on September 13, 2012 No Comments yet

Do I need to provide sanitary disposal?

Even if you only have one women working for you these regulations apply.

 

Each company has a duty of care under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Regulations updated in 1992, stipulate that “In the case of water closets

used by women, suitable means should be provided for the disposal of sanitary dressings”.

 This applies to all commercial premises in the UK.

One of the things that you need to be aware of is that if your building cleaners are just emptying the bins into the general waste bags then you are breaking the law.

So using a highly reputable Registered Waste carrier is essential.

How much should I be paying for the service?

If you already have this service in place with a properly registered Waste carrier then check that you are not paying too much.

Our research shows that if you are paying more than £9 for a monthly collection of each bin then you will indeed be paying too much. If you have a lot of bins that need collecting and servicing, then the price should be less.

 

Of course if you would like us to help you check your existing contract or put you in touch with a supplier then just drop me a line to Marcus@TheCostDetectives.co.uk and we will do all we can to get those bills reduced.

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Why have a Franking Machine? 3 Tips on what you need to take into account.

Posted in 3 Tips from the Cost Detectives by Marcus on July 23, 2012 1 Comment

Do you need a Franking Machine?

 

Does your office have a franking machine? Do you know why?  These  are the top 3 reasons for having a Franking Machine.

1                     Postage costs can be up to 38% cheaper than using stamps!

2                     No more “we have run out of stamps I’m off to the post office”, then not retuning for hours on end!

3                     You can print your own logo onto each envelope using the Franking machine.

 

 

But what you also need to be aware of is that if you only do a few letters then the cost of buying or leasing a franking machine does not make sense. If you have about 10-25 letters a day then you may well be better off, especially given the extra time saving of not going to the post office and using the franking machine takes a fraction of the time of using stamps.

 

The best quote we had from the experts that we use was “That client does not need a franking machine”. So find a team that will not just sell you a machine but will give you good advice.

Remember if you have a machine already especially if you lease it, they are a lot like business mobile phones. The Costs are falling and new companies may buy you out of the contract you are in so it always worth checking if you can get a better deal.

Do not forget that each machine has their own consumables such as ink so make sure not to sign up a contract that has a fixed extra price for consumables without checking.

Of course if you would like us to help you check your existing contract or advise on taking the plunge on your first then just drop me a line to Marcus@TheCostDetectives.co.uk and we will do all we can to help.

 

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