Is Your Business Being Overcharged on Recurring Contracts?
Long-time, recurring contracts are essential to small business. They allow you to focus on the quality of your product and running your business. But it's exactly because you're not paying attention to your recurring contracts that you could be paying too much.
With online banking and bill pay options, it's easier than ever to pay your bills without reading the fine print and itemized charges. Here's what you might be missing:
One of the largest expenses for any small business covers multiple phone lines and Internet access. Landline, cell phones, voicemail, data, wireless ... it's enough to make anyone's head spin. With all those services, telecom bills are ripe for hidden and duplicative charges. Here are a few to avoid:
- Voicemail -- make sure you're not getting double-charged for voicemail by both your landline phone provider and your phone system provider.
- Down With Data -- data overages on cell phone contracts can add up quickly, so make sure your employees know best practices (use Wi-Fi as much as possible) and confirm overage chargers are legit.
- Stay Competitive -- Internet plans are always changing, and making sure you're getting the most bandwidth at the lowest price can be work, but worth it.
Your next biggest outlay probably has to do with your physical location: rent, utilities, waste management, security, etc. Here are some charges to keep an eye on:
- Security Scams -- like many service providers, alarm and security companies like to quote an introductory price, then increase their costs over time.
- Electrical Expenses -- Dan Schneider at Entrepreneur points out a little known distinction on your electrical bill: "In many states, you can be charged sales tax on electricity you use to heat your building, but you cannot be charged sales tax on electricity you use to manufacture your product."
- Maintenance -- with everything from waste collection and cleaning to window washing and landscaping, make sure you're not paying more than you should, and that you're getting what you pay for.
Finally, keep in mind that all contracts are negotiable and not all contract provisions are enforceable. If you think you're wasting money through a recurring contract, or looking to get out of one, you might want to talk to an experienced contracts attorney.
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