COVID-19 has taken an enormous toll on many businesses. The economy is struggling, which means that companies are facing tough decisions in order to stay afloat. One of the biggest things small business owners are currently seeking is any way to cut business costs or shave expenses without having to lay off employees.

One area that may offer some solutions is your business’s technology. There may be ways to cut your IT costs that you’ve never considered. Here are ARK Solvers’ top six ways to cut your business’s IT costs right now.

1. Evaluate Subscription Software

Subscription software is software that you pay a monthly or yearly fee to use. Evaluate all your subscriptions to see if your employees are really using them, if they’re essential to your company year-round, or if there’s a free or less expensive product that offers the same quality.

Some programs, like Quickbooks or Microsoft Office, might require you to pay a licensing fee for each employee using them. But if an employee leaves, if your account isn’t updated, you’ll continue paying that monthly fee for someone who’s no longer there. That’s a lot of money you could be giving away! Do an audit of your employees and software to ensure that you’re not paying extra for your subscriptions.

2. Switch to a VoIP Phone System

If you’re still paying $30 or $40 a month for your office’s phone services, it’s too much. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, systems are the new standard for phone systems. They’re flexible and offer more services for your office—and they’re cheaper than old phone solutions. You can get a VoIP system for as little as $19 per month!

So take a look at the price you’re paying for your landlines. If you’re paying more than $20 a month, call your carrier right now and let them know you’ll be switching providers if you can’t negotiate a matching price.

The same applies to cell phones. If you’re reimbursing your employees $30 to $50 a month for cell phone costs, that’s another expense that adds up. There are now technologies allowing you to forward office landline calls to your cell phone or computer via an app. So instead of paying monthly bills for employee cell phones, you can let your team know you’ll be providing an app solution instead.

3. Get Rid of Leased Printers

Some companies lease printers for every department, costing them hundreds of dollars a month. When it comes to printers, don’t lease! Buying them outright is a much more cost-effective option that will help you save money immediately. Even if they break on occasion, a good relationship with a local repair company won’t cost you as much as a printer lease will. There’s no reason to hold back on buying this particular piece of hardware from the start.

4. Consolidate Software

Another way to cut back on business costs is by consolidating your software. If you’re paying for file-sharing software such as Ignite, Dropbox, Box.com, or other backups, subscription video chat programs like Zoom, or a host of other features, Microsoft Office Suite can cover all those needs under just one cost.

For one flat fee, you can get access to Microsoft Office, backups, file sharing, and video conferencing. There’s no need to pay multiple companies each month for each employee when you could pay one flat fee for so many features together. If you aren’t already using one of these bundles, you can easily save $20 to $30 a month per employee by consolidating your software.

5. Review Your IT Contract for Changes

Review your contract with your IT service provider. Once again, if you’re paying per user, make sure your agreement is up to date with your current number of employees and any other changes that may have taken place since your last evaluation.

6. Outsource Your IT

If you’re thinking about hiring an IT professional to work in house, consider that outsourcing your IT instead could save you half the cost of one salaried employee, at a low estimate. Instead of paying $60 to $80 thousand per year, you’ll likely only be spending between $20 and $30 thousand when you work with a Managed Service Provider. Plus, instead of having an IT staff of one, you get the assistance and expertise of an entire qualified team. A Managed Service Provider generally has the resources to give your technology more comprehensive care at a lower cost.

We hope these tips can help you cut costs as you make financial decisions for your business during this pandemic and in the future.