For over a decade, my life was defined by business trips all over the country. I had to figure out tricks for reducing my business travel expenses to ensure they did not derail my business. When I worked as a small business consultant, I shared these tips with owners. These are my favorite tips and tricks.
I have met hundreds of small business owners over the years who believe spending large amounts of money on business trips is a sign of strength. In a poor economy, figuring out ways for reducing business trip expenses is a sign of intelligence. I have also met owners who do everything they can to save money on family vacations while going sky-high on business travel. The first step I took was to make sure I acquired the mindset of someone who wanted to cut expenses instead of creating more. This mindset will lead you to finding where cuts can be made.
Multiple membership plans
I have memberships with multiple airlines and hotel chains across the country. Many small business owners are members of one airline or one hotel chain, but run into issues when having to send a worker to an area not visited by a particular airline, or if the favored hotel chain is booked up. While many of my memberships are rarely used, I am still able to rack up points and benefit from special deals when they come up. I have also found hotels which match membership prices of other chains for their members.
There is nothing wrong with using coupons while on a business trip. My coupon books are among the first items I pack when heading out on business. I have taken clients out to dinner with coupons and given them a prime example of how I mind all expenses. I was able to save over $400 during one business trip by using coupons throughout the week. One purchase of a $30-$50 coupon book can theoretically save you thousands on business travel expenses.
Make every attempt to plan business trips ahead of time. Of course, the closer you get to a flight date, the more expensive it becomes. I often plan business trips two or three months ahead of time. I am able to decide which week would be the best due to off weeks for tourism and get early-bird flight specials. Trade fairs are often planned months ahead of time, but many business owners wait to the last minute to book. Booking early can save thousands if many workers are going.
Office of one
I had a client who was paying for a worker to fly out from New York to Detroit for three weeks out of every month. The worker would get a hotel room for those three weeks and spend countless money on his regular monthly business trip. I suggested creating an office of one. Many businesses across the country are switching to moving their employees instead of flying them out on a regular basis.
Instead of paying for him to head to Detroit for three weeks each month, the company took my advice and moved the worker to Michigan. The business saved money on business trip expenses and the worker was able to acquire tax write-offs for having a home office. The company paid for his moving expenses instead of business travel expenses and saved tens of thousands a year.
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