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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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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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 Cost Detective highlights 3 things to look for on your business phone bill that indicate you are paying too much!

Posted in Cost Detective by Marcus on July 7, 2011 1 Comment

If you find any of these three things on your business telephone bill then get in touch with our Cost Detective, a member of the Part Time Experts Team, on save@thecostdetectives.co.uk and he will save you money.

  1. Your bill has the initials BT on it.
  2. You are paying the same for a 1 second call as you do for any other call under a minute.
  3. You pay more than 10p per minute for calling UK Mobiles.

 

[All the Part Time Experts blog postings are under 100 words so you can get on with your day.]

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