As a small business owner, you or your employees may need to do quite a bit of business travel.
So, it should not come as a surprise that this can add up to be a hefty expense, leaving you to maybe think itÂs one area where you could cut some spending.
Over the past years, travel expenses, from airlines to hotels to dining, have increased.
But how can you cut travel expenses while still meeting the needs of your clients?
Check out these ideas to help you do both:
1. Â Â Â Â Air Travel
* Â Carry on your bags instead of checking them. Often airlines charge a fee for checked bags and you can save a bit here, plus it saves time in the airport.
* Use the long term or off site parking at the airport instead of the high cost hourly parking.
* Check around for flight differences and book the cheapest, even if itÂs not the most convenient. Often midweek travel is cheaper than over a weekend (though that is not necessarily true of hotels). See if flying into a close by airport is worth it to save money even if itÂs not the absolute closest.
* Join frequent flyer clubs.
* Think about special airline benefits. Airports offer special rooms for airline members that can be earned or purchased. Maybe you have to pay for these, but could it benefit you because you and your employees can get quality work done there or possibly have meetings?
2. Â Â Â Â Ground transportation
* Though renting a car seems like a big expense, itÂs cheaper than taxis and more efficient than public transportation. Join loyalty programs with rental car companies and gain some benefits here, too.
* If you donÂt have a rental car, see if your hotel provides shuttle service to nearby locations and the airport Â again, taxis add up, best to avoid them.
* With a rental car, fill it up yourself before turning it in. If you donÂt, the car company can charge an arm and a leg to fill it up.
3. Â Â Â Â Hotels
* Just like with airlines, check around for deals and specials. Often depending on when you check in and out, your rates will differ substantially. Hotels run specials, and if you join their loyalty groups, you can also sometimes get special treatment.
* Â If your hotel offers free breakfast Â take it! Not only is it convenient, it will save you the cost of breakfast and transportation.
4. Â Â Â Â Have clear, stated policies
* Your employees need to know what they can spend and how it needs to be turned in. ItÂs best to have these written out and on hand so there is no discrepancy.
* Do you require receipts from taxis and restaurants? Do you have a maximum per diem or do you want to set a price per meal? Do you need to okay arrangements before final booking?
* Be clear in what is reimbursable and whatÂs not. Can employees have a drink with dinner or is that not part of your expense plan? What is the policy for taking clients out to meals?
Travel is an important, often necessary, part of running a business. ItÂs costly, though, and you have to make sure itÂs not costing you more than itÂs worth.
Keep your spending in check and you should be able to keep your customers happy and your expenses from going through the roof.
As a business traveler, what do you do to save some money?
Photo credit: apex-portal.com
About the Author: Heather Legg is a writer who covers topics from small business to how to remove news articles from Google.