The 3 Business Expenses Most Entrepreneurs Fail to Plan For

A surprise isn't always a good thing when you're running a business, especially when it's an unexpected business expense. Some businesses have a contingency fund for these surprise expenses. But wouldn't it be better to plan for it? Then you can use that rainy-day fund for something else-like growing your business. Here are three business expenses you may not have considered. Have you accounted for them in your budget?

Employee Expenses

Wages are just a part of the overall cost for employees. The total cost can be 1.25 to 1.4 times the base salary. That's because employers must also pay their portion of FICA and unemployment taxes as well as worker's compensation costs. Add to that any expenses for benefits like health insurance or retirement plans.

And what if demand picks up and you need more staff? You'll incur expenses to recruit and train a new employee. Some business owners limit these additional expenses by hiring freelance or part-time staff.


Planning for utility expenses can be difficult to manage because they vary based on usage. A cold snap in the winter and a scorcher in the summer can dramatically impact costs.

One way to better anticipate costs is to ask your utility provider to give you historical usage of your property. Or you can compare notes with other businesses in your area. That can help you benchmark costs. Some utility companies offer a level-pay option based on past usage that allows you to budget a predictable amount each month.

Inventory Loss

Not all of your inventory will generate revenue. Some may disappear due to shoplifting, employee theft, supplier fraud, or administrative errors. It's referred to as "shrinkage," and it accounts for as much as 2 percent of retail sales. If you have $100,000 in sales with a 50 percent gross margin, your shrinkage amounts to $1,000. This loss then becomes an unexpected expense that you must account for.

Some businesses address this issue with employee training, surveillance technology, and dual check points to verify orders.

Minimize surprise when it comes to unexpected business expenses by considering these "hidden" costs. While you won't likely be able to eliminate them, greater awareness can help you build them into your overall profitability model and contingency plan.

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