With the current situation involving COVID-19, the economic climate has many businesses worrying and making drastic changes to their processes and structure.
Before considering a downsizing of the business, lawyers and conveyancers should first consider reducing overheads outside of staff. Taking the time to review your current processes can yield surprising results when it comes to expenses. In this article, we discuss four ways you can keep costs down during COVID-19.
1. Utilising free tools
Now is the time to open all those emails and texts offering free products. Doesn’t matter if they are only offering them free for a week, month or a year – you should look to take advantage of them. It may only help your business in the short term; however, it is a necessary first step to help reduce business costs. When it comes to your legal search platform, a lot of companies are offering free tools during the COVID19 situation, triSearch included. We have made our VOI and eSigning tools free until the end of April, with no lock-contracts. This can help you continue your needed job functions at no cost, whilst you’re unable to see clients due to the current circumstances.
Furthermore, to reduce costs you need to invest in tools that replace the manual processes in your job, such as compiling contracts and completing settlements. By utilising digital tools available you can reduce labour costs without standing down employees. On the triSearch platform you can compile contracts with a click of a button and have the ability to request legal agents to complete your settlement for you. These tools are becoming increasingly important as businesses work from home.
2. Finding low-cost suppliers
Whether it be in our personal or professional lives, it’s always good practice to shop around for suppliers before making a purchase. This could be something as simple as purchasing a new TV, a new car or signing with a vendor at work. With the economy slowing, the luxuries of expensive practice management systems and search platforms can become overwhelming to a business. By shopping around you’ll find suppliers that give you what you need, without the bells and whistles, at a lower price than you’re paying.
By making these changes and reducing overheads, in turn, you can reduce the fees you charge for your services, making your firm more attractive to prospective and existing clients. After all, your clients are all looking to save a dollar during this time as well.
3. Negotiating your overheads
It is estimated that on average each department can cut costs by 10%, without affecting the way your business currently runs.
Overhead costs are expenses that incur to run your business, such as rent, advertising, cleaning services, and phone charges. Looking into these expenses line by line can be tedious and time-consuming but it’s a great way to figure out where your business can reduce costs. For example, if you are working from home, you can negotiate with your office landlord on the reduction of rent due to no cleaning or electricity needed until further notice. During this pandemic, most companies are open to negotiating prices and fixtures, for a short term cost-saving, however, you do need to keep in mind, that prices will most likely revert to the agreed-upon price once the economy is stable.
4. Negotiating with Staff
Communication with your staff has never been so important. With COVID-19 being the focus in the news today, there is a lot of uncertainty around keeping a steady income. By being transparent with your staff and letting them know how the business is coping and the measures that will need to be taken is crucial.
The news may not always be positive, however, by advising them in advance and keeping them in the loop, it can serve to build their trust. It will also let them plan out their personal expenses and reduce stress and burn-out from your employees.
Saving jobs is a two-way street. The only way to minimise casualties during this uncertain time is by being prepared to compromise, being flexible and coming together as a team. Whether it be a short-term reduction in pay, reducing hours of business operation or asking staff to ‘stand-down’ or take annual leave. Everyone needs to know why it’s occurring and what they can do in response to the changed circumstances.
Almost every business and individual is feeling the impacts of COVID-19. By taking the time to map out your response and business continuity plan, you can survive and better yet, set yourself up for a post COVID19 boom.
triSearch are currently offering free and discounted tools to help all conveyancers and lawyers. For further information click here.