Would you like to know how to reduce your expenses on legal office supplies? Read on to learn everything that you need to know on the subject.
The average law office spends 45-50 percent of its overall earnings on overhead costs. These include rent, non-lawyer salaries, phone costs, and of course, legal office supplies.
Now imagine how frustrated your associates and paralegals would be if you cut their holiday bonuses because you spent too much on office supplies.
Although many law firms have gone digital with some tasks like digital imaging and dictation, physical office supplies are still essential to keeping client information secure and keeping your firm running smoothly.
But when you combine postage costs, customized letterheads, and secure mailing envelopes, these costs can easily drive up your overhead to frightening levels.
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can lower the costs you spend on law office supplies so you can keep your employees happy while keeping your firm organized. We reveal the top tips below.
Figure Out What You Actually Need
Especially if you're a new law office, you may not know what supplies you actually need. This can also be true if your firm has recently changed its main practice areas.
Come up with a list of what your firm uses all the time and how much surplus you need to have to be safe, like paper. You also want to decide on what you need to buy that's more expensive, like paper with custom letterhead.
For example, does your firm really need those fancy blue "fast write" pens that cost $4 apiece? Or are the good quality $2 pens sufficient to do the job?
Make sure to consult with your team about which supplies they need as well. For example, many paralegals and legal assistants use colored flags to help them flag important parts of documents or binders.
You also want to go into your law office supplies cabinet and see what you already have. This includes boxes you've put at the back of your supply cabinet and forgotten about.
Track What You’re Using
Organization is one of the top habits of a successful law firm, and one of the best ways to organize is to keep tabs on the supplies you're actually using.
While you may use some supplies rarely, this doesn't necessarily mean that you don't need them.
This could be a specific form or your firm's letterhead on expensive paper.
For essential items like paper, you're going to want to track how much of it you use every week. You also have to keep in mind whether you'll have enough paper for high-volume weeks, such as when your office is preparing for a trial.
Once you have about a month's worth of supplies tracked, you'll be able to get a good estimate of which supplies your office uses most often. This will help you come up with a law office supplies guide and an ordering schedule.
Once you have an ordering schedule, you'll be able to see which items you need to buy monthly, and which items (like binders) you can order less frequently. This saves you money as you're not having to make huge supply orders every month.
Secure A Contract For Office Supplies
One of the best ways to save money on legal office supplies is to see if you can get an office supplies contract with your supplier.
This method works best with suppliers you order from often. So before you go and secure a contract, make sure you've used that supplier many times before, that you trust them, and that they sell high-quality supplies.
When you buy supplies without a contract, you're actually paying more. But with a supplier contract, you can negotiate a discount with them.
This could be a loyalty discount, as well as volume discounts on items you buy often.
Buy In Bulk
Aside from having a contract, one of the top law office supplies tips is to buy in bulk.
This method is more convenient because your assistants don't have to keep ordering supplies every week or two.
But the biggest benefit of buying in bulk is that it saves you money in two ways. First, you pay less in shipping costs because there are fewer packages going out.
Second, many companies give discounts when you buy in bulk. Of course, you'll save the most money when you buy items in bulk that you use most often, like paper, pens, and highlighters.
Use A Rewards Credit Card To Buy Supplies
A rewards credit card will give you points when you use the credit card on eligible purchases.
These points will either convert to cash rewards or be points you can spend on a rewards catalog.
Most rewards credit cards also give cashback between one and five percent.
Keep in mind that these cards may still have high interest rates, so be sure to pay off the balance right away so your firm saves money.
Get Reusable Supplies
Supplies like tab dividers are on every law office supplies checklist, so why not get ones you can re-use for different cases?
While you'll need custom tabs for certain situations, you likely won't need them a majority of the time. Instead, you can get items like numbered tab dividers.
With these, you can create a table of contents at the front of your binder to show what section each number represents. These are great for lists of documents, procedures, and to-do list action items as well.
Then, when the case is done, all you have to do to re-use your tabs is to create a new table of contents.
Reduce Your Legal Office Supply Expenses
Keeping your legal office supply cabinet well-stocked only works when you actually use those supplies. Otherwise, you can easily push your overhead costs to more than half of your firm's earnings.
But by following these tips, you can save money and buy high-quality office supplies that will last you much longer.
From legal tabs to will supplies, Exhibit Indexes has everything you need to keep your law office organized with high-quality supplies you can use again and again.
To find the office supplies you need, take a look at our product catalog today.