Spending Time, Saving Money
So as you can imagine, I hunt for a great deal on vinyl just like you. I find it is sooooo very important to our business AND yours, if I spend time chasing that deal. When I started CraftHTV I found myself paying just too much for supplies, too much for vinyl, for boxes, for tape, for literally everything. I became more and more annoyed that I was making less and wanted you to save more.
Do you have a great place to order packaging supplies? I know that a lot of our customers buy stuff in small quantities from retail stores etc. Things like bags, poly packaging, plastic wrapping, bubble wrapping, and more. You can find these in a larger but CHEAPER quantities if you shop with Uline. Uline is a company that has warehouses all over the US. Every single thing you buy will be delivered to you the next day. When you pick items and you buy them frequently... You can even call Uline and ask the quote department to give you a BETTER price than you already pay.
Speaking of asking for a better price. Do you do that? Do you spend time asking if they can help you with a better price? The worst they could say is no but most likely they would and WILL give you a better price, even if just a few cents per unit. Remind yourself of a phrase, "A closed mouth does not get fed." Say it frequently and loud. You have a lot of power as the buyer, customer, client, whichever word.
And here is the next topic... Speaking to your vendors. As the buyer you have a lot of room to speak up and speak out. But that does not mean you need to do anything insane. You never have to disrespect or get "Caren" about what you need from your vendors. I spend so much time reminding myself, "Be Nice and Tell The Truth." There is no reason you cannot explain what is needed or what happened from something your vendor did the effects your business. Being respectful, thorough, and detailed is all that is necessary. Sadly a lot of the people that start this as a craft/hobby have almost no knowledge of running a business. They were so successful, grew so fast, had so many projects... They now have a business on their hands. Instead of consumer to business (C2B) you are now business to business (B2B). Having a level head gets problems solved faster which saves time, therefore saving money.
Learning how to save and where to save is key. I want to draw attention to the only time CASH leaves your new business. Do you know the answer? It is the single biggest mistake area because it is mostly unknown and a hard to "get into" industry. Shipping Labels. You are literally taking money and throwing into a sticker. As kids we LOVED stickers and this industry is the most expensive, most used, most WASTED cash potential on Earth. Here are a few tips I think are important to remember.
- Keep in mind there is more than one shipping carrier. For example, USPS, UPS, DHL, and FEDEX. Each with their own "way" of doing it. Some is by size, some by weight, some by distance, some by everything. Make notes and ask them. They will tell you the truth.
- A shipping term that is extremely important is CUBIC RATE. This is the most common factor in how to ship something cheaper. If you shop on Amazon, have you ever received a DVD and it was in a cardboard box the size of a King Size Mattress? Amazon is quite literally the only company that can get away with this. You cannot. You must understand shipping AIR is the worst thing you can do. Shipping air means space in the box that is not necessary. Cubic rate is the WEIGHT + DIMENSION + DISTANCE TO DESTINATION. Any of these can increase your price significantly.
- Not shipping air means shipping in the smallest size box possible. Seriously this is when size will matter most. Smaller is better. But just for box sizing.
My last piece of advise to save more money is by simply asking the place you spend the most, in dollars, for a rebate. If they do not already have a loyalty program, bonuses in place, or extra something... A little "sugar" on top. You need to ask for more. A rebate is a great way to find or get a % back from your vendors. Not everyone will offer, might have a different term used, or just lower pricing when you buy... BUT you need to find out. If it is a rebate, it will be based on how much you spend and would be paid to you in dollars or "account spend funds."
It is critical you look at your most expensive things in your business and try to bring them down. Focus on a category each month and see what happens. Even if you are unable or unsuccessful, this does not mean you cannot try again in a few weeks or months. You will never have a more successful business than with lower costs. Spending time saving money is the best FIRST strategy to any new or old, large or small business operating today.
Lucas @ CraftHTV.com