Is one of the 2023 goals for your PI firm to cut expenses? Then you certainly aren’t alone: Many businesses are making it a priority to save more money this year as the world continues to change. Saving money is also an important first step if you plan on expanding your firm into new areas, investing in new equipment, or other important 2023 plans. Let’s take a closer look at the top ways private investigators are saving money these days, and why they could be an option for you as well.
Don’t Pay Too Much for Vendors
Do you hire out specific tasks in your line of work? Some PIs send out certain work that they don’t have the time to take care of personally or would prefer someone with certain skills to manage it. That includes website updates, creating transcripts, sifting through large quantities of photos, managing social media, and lots more.
First, see if any of these tasks can be easily automated at a lower cost. Many social media managing programs, for example, can have posts scheduled weeks in advance, so a little practice and an evening of setting things up may be all you need for the month. There’s also a variety of apps that can automatically create transcripts or sort photos for free – or at least for a low fee.
Second, if you do need a specialist, consider comparing the costs for specific services on sites like Upwork to see if you can find someone qualified for less than you are paying now. These job-seeking platforms can be useful for cutting certain costs.
Use a VoIP Phone System or Similar Solution
If you’re paying for a phone management system at your firm, there may be opportunities to save more money. A common solution is a VoIP phone service that’s managed entirely through an online connection: All you need is a headset, and you’re ready to start managing calls. If you really do need a business line and some more in-depth call management, take a look at services like Grasshopper that are ideal for smaller businesses that want to cut costs while still getting all the phone features they need.
Consider Your Marketing Spending
Don’t overlook changes in your marketing strategy, either. Think about where you are paying to advertise your PI services, and the total costs that you are paying right now. Then consider where the bulk of your business comes from – where do clients originate, and what sort of communication options do they seem to prefer? Automated online reports may be able to help with this, or you can just type of a chart and record the data manually based on your past year or so of business.
This information allows you to stop spending money on marketing avenues that aren’t producing many clients and re-focusing your resources on the channels that are seeing the greatest results. Along the way, your business can also save money by creating a more efficient strategy that frees up funds for other uses.
File for Tax Deductions
PIs may also have some interesting opportunities to legally utilize tax deductions in their line of work. When you’re filing taxes this year, don’t forget to do a little extra investigation on what deductions you can list. That includes plenty of car and mileage-related expenses that you may have incurred as part of stakeouts or travel, membership dues for any associations you may be a part of, as well as any subscriptions for online research services that you may be using.
If you recently set up a home office like so many people have in the past couple of years, it qualifies for its own set of deductions. Your business may also be able to get deductions for big office renovations, and if you are self-employed, you may be able to get health insurance deductions as well.
Consider Factoring Unpaid Invoices
Do you have a problem with certain kinds of invoices getting paid in a timely manner? It’s a common PI struggle, but there are some steps you can take to deal with it – this helps you profit from those unpaid invoices without wasting the time and money to deal with them yourself. A common option here is “factoring” or giving your invoices to a vendor that specializes in collection. The vendor takes a cut – several percentage points of the invoice – and arranges to pay you the rest while they handle collection on their end. It’s a better option than giving up on invoices that have gone unpaid for months, and lets you focus on your own services.
Cutting Your PI Expenses
A final note on cutting your PI expenses: Private investigators tend to have low overhead, but it’s still a good idea to look at your operating expenses as a whole. Could you save money by working from home instead of an office? That’s an increasingly common option these days, and also helps save on utilities.
For other industry news, check our blog for the latest information and make sure that your business is properly insured for common PI liability risks.