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Saving Money at Work

CANADA - I am thinking of getting a business phone for my Toronto website design business... The thing however is that I don't like the plans being offered by Bell, Rogers and other phone companies.

What I WANT is an unlimited calling plan for both local and long distance. And I want it relatively cheap. Frankly I think that is the future of telephones, but the companies are really dragging their feet at offering it.

But there is a way... Vonage (VOIP = Voice Over Internet Protocol) gives you a local phone number, but allows you to call locally and long distance and all you pay is $39.99/month.

If you sign up with Bell for a business plan its $54.95/month... and its NOT unlimited. You pay extra for calling long distance. What a rip off.

The whole premise for a business plan for phones is that you can claim it on your income tax. Frankly I firmly believe people are getting ripped off by charging companies double what home user pay for the same service. Its a complete rip off designed to gouge companies... in theory they get it back because they can claim it as a business expense, but really its just gouging.

My argument however is that Vonage/VOIP is a logical route to go, especially if you're running a business. And who is to say you can't just register it under the business name instead of the person's name? That way you can still use if for income tax purposes.

My next issue I want to talk about saving money via is home heating (in theory you could do this for an office, but you'd need to OWN the building instead of renting it)... the idea here is Geothermal Heating Systems which is a VERY cheap way to heat your home, but your first stumbling block is the price of installing geothermal. The startup cost may seem like a lot, but what you quickly realize is the price of running a geothermal fan (about $15/month) is way cheaper than running an oil or gas furnace for 6 months or so of the year (and running an air conditioner for the other 6 months or so).

The beauty of geothermal is that it can both heat and cool your house and dramatically reduce the costs of heating the place. My sister and her husband are currently having geothermal systems installed in both their house and their cottage up north (the other benefit of geothermal is its off the grid and ideal for cottages and cabins in the middle of nowhere and the fan for cycling the air can run off a car battery).

The point I am getting here is that people and businesses can make lots of cost-cutting measures, especially during a recession.

Lets say you own a company that has a lawn out front. In theory the cheapest way would be to pave over the grass and not worry about how stark and unfriendly the company looks. A better solution I think is to install a concrete logo in the grass or flower beds and then hire a local grass cutting company to cut the grass / do flower maintenance. (I also favour the idea of using moss / ivy / ground covering plants that require zero maintenance.)

That way you're outsourcing the lawn maintenance (less worry, less cost for the lawnmower, gas, paying an employee to do it) and better yet the logo looks really good for advertising purposes.

A bit like the logos shown here beside the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto.

Another idea I've learned about is for companies looking to give their employees a dental plan, but don't want to get charged an arm and a leg.

The solution is to cut out the middle man. You find a local Toronto dentist (or wherever you live) and then negotiate with them a bulk rate for your company employees, cutting out the dental insurance company as the middle man. This may sound bizarre, but it ends up working well for both the company and the dentist...

The only disadvantage is that all your employees have to go through the same dentist... if you consider that a disadvantage. If you pick a good quality dentist that everyone ends up liking it won't be a big deal.

Next lets imagine you're trying to save money when planning a big business conference, annual office picnic, wedding, Toronto party rentals or whatever. Usually in such scenarios its best to bundle these options. Get one company to do EVERYTHING for you under a budget. If there are any extras you want not listed under the bundle get those separately. Less stress, less money, done by professionals.

Looking to Save Money? See Also:
Buying a New Computer at Work
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