October 25, 2018 / in How To / by Jason Terry
I am disciplined in many things… but one of them I’ve been slacking on consistently for years is reviewing my credit card statements. Sure, I’ll take a look at them occasionally, especially if the balance seems high. But for most months, the number is roughly the same. So I just pay the balance.
The Question: Jason, do we still use HostGator for our web hosting?
The Answer: No. That was supposed to have been cancelled a couple of years ago.
When you have a successful business, there’s a good chance you’ll have a lot of companies you pay regularly for products and services. And as your organization grows, it becomes harder for one person to know if every charge on the company credit card is necessary.
In the web hosting example above, we developed a new website together and moved their hosting to Flywheel. We don’t mark anything up… our clients have a direct financial relationship with their web hosting company. So there was no way for us to cancel the old hosting account.
Our point of contact at the client said they would get the old hosting account shut down. But they didn’t. We checked with them a month later and they said, “oops! I’ll take care of that this week.” And they didn’t. Next thing you know, that person is no longer working for the company. Unfortunately, the monthly charge from HostGator kept getting paid.
And I thought to myself, “I wonder if I’m paying for anything every month that I really don’t need?”
I went through the last three months of Blue Gurus credit card statements. I found three items that we either don’t need or could reduce the cost by moving to a different plan. Happy face! And then sad face for not taking care of it sooner.
One of the services was VaultPress. The fee is $15/month to back up our WordPress powered website. But we moved our hosting to Flywheel years ago and their backup solution is reliable. So I canceled our VaultPress account. And then thought about the fact that I couldn’t get back hundreds of dollars that had been spent over the past few years. (VaultPress is a great service, I just don’t feel that it’s necessary when you have a great hosting company with reliable backups.)
When I started Blue Gurus in 2009, people were still faxing signed contracts. So I set up an eFax account. And for the first few years, we used it often enough to justify the expense. It was around $170/year. But I can’t remember the last time I got a signed contract or any other documentation faxed to me. So I called eFax to cancel. They offered me a reduced cost per year as a valued customer. I said no thanks. Then they cut the price to $50/year with an allowance of 30 faxed pages per month. And I feel that it’s probably worth $50/year to be able to send and receive faxes, so I switched to that plan. Saving me $120/year.
We have Google Fiber for our home office. And we’ve been watching the monthly bill go up as the price of having HD cable channels increases. The silly thing is that we rarely watch cable TV. I watch Netflix and YouTube more than anything else. My wife likes HGTV and ABC. She can stream HGTV for free, and Google Fiber has a smaller cable plan that gives you only the local HD channels. So I switched and I’m saving $75/month. The bill went from $185/month to a little over $100/month.
Based on my experience over the past week, there’s a good chance a lot of companies should review the monthly and annual charges they’re paying to make sure the services are necessary. And if there are any line items you don’t recognize, compile a list and send that out to your team for confirmation.
I set up a recurring calendar item to review this quarterly… maybe it would be helpful to do the same if you don’t already have a process in place.
I just saved $1,000/year by spending 15 minutes reviewing my credit card statement. If you accept the challenge, I would love to know if you find anything you’ve been paying for that you no longer need! (I promise to keep it confidential.) And thanks for reading! Please forward this to a friend that you think might find this helpful.
100% agree. After recently wrapping up a business with a partner, we received a collections notice from a web hosting company claiming that we owed them back monthly fees for hosting services going back 24 months! When we contacted the owner, he blamed us for ignoring his invoices and saying he had no interest in waiving the fees. We researched our communications and discovered that we had, in fact, directed the company to discontinue hosting services. We were accused of ignoring invoices for services rendered when in reality we had directed the company to cease service and we hadn’t received any invoices past that date. Moral of the story as a small business owner is don’t expect that past partners will follow through on your instructions. Take the steps to verify that your requests have been satisfied!
Jason – Awesome advice. I am always worried about those “free 30 day trial” things. Especially when companies ask for a credit card number. For example, as part of my new car package (Chevy Volt) – I have a ton of services, like WiFi hot spot, ONstar, and SiriusXM. . . stuff that I probably will never use. I marked my calendar to make sure I don’t forget to cancel these services before the bills come. (Several of these have 60- and 90- day free trials.) Say hello to Mic….
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