Weed Out 5 Common Business Charges

Ask yourself three questions about the bills your small business receives each month. Do you just pay them? Are they automatically paid from your account? Is the billed amount different than you normally pay? If any of your answers is “yes,” it may be time to take a closer look. You may be incurring overcharges. These undiscovered errors can hurt your business’ bottom line. That’s why it’s important to weed them out. Here are five common business charges. Take a look next month to see if any of these are on your small business’s bill.


Approximately 70 percent of companies are overcharged on utility bills. Often the source is the sales tax portion of the bill. You have to pay taxes on the energy to heat your business. But in many states, you don’t have to pay taxes on the energy you use to manufacture a product. If you’re in one of those states, separating energy usage between the two can help you determine whether you are paying too much sales tax. Work with your energy company to make that determination.

Identity Theft Protection

Take a look at your next credit card bill. Don’t just look for the items you purchased. Take a look at any additional fees, like a charge for identity theft protection. You may have unknowingly consented to such coverage or it might be added as part of your card. In many cases, this coverage is optional. If you do not want it, contact your credit card company to have the recurring charge removed from your bill.


One source reports that 80 percent of their clients waste money due to over-service. They receive and are charged for more trash pick-ups than is necessary. That’s because it is often difficult to keep track of what is needed, especially if you have multiple locations. To compound the issue, different municipalities have different rules. Consider auditing your waste needs to see if a reduction in service might be appropriate.

Auto Billing

Read your automatic payment agreements. Some say that they can auto renew or raise charges without notifying you. For example, you may have signed up for a furnace maintenance agreement for your business. You think at the end of the term the agreement (and monthly deduction) will end. But the agreement might automatically renew at a higher price for another year—all without your permission.

Common Area Maintenance Charges

If your business is part of a larger complex, you likely share the maintenance costs for common areas. It might include lawn mowing or snow removal. Your portion of these costs can be based on your business’ square footage. Double-check that calculation to be sure that you are not paying more than your fair share.

What might seem like nickel and dime overcharges can, over time, add up to significant dollars for your small business. That’s why it’s important to monitor your bills. You should only pay what you owe. After all, wouldn’t you rather use those dollars to grow your business?

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