Posts Tagged ‘business consultants’

Don’t pay the “Stupid Tax”

June 6, 2010

We all want to pay less in taxes.  But sometimes we pay a tax that no one in any state capital or in D.C. has ever signed into law.  It’s called the Stupid Tax, and sometimes this tax can be very costly, and sometimes, we don’t even know we’re paying it.  Sometimes, we’re just stupid.

The day before any business opens, the owner no doubt is thinking “I can’t wait to start selling (or manufacturing, or leasing) _______ (fill in the blank with whatever that person’s business is going to be marketing).”  Same thing goes for new hires at established companies.  Whatever widget or commodity their employer hawks, newbies can’t wait to start helping to do their part to get them sold or made.  The focus is obviously on the end product, the revenue, and the bottom line, as well it should be.

Of course, one of the last things that come to mind for many businesses, new or established, is disposal of the solid waste and recyclables that’s produced in the income-generating activities.  A simple phone call to a local waste and recycling hauler and you don’t need to think about it any more.  Or so it seems.

This is where the Stupid Tax comes into play. 

We’re all guilty of paying Stupid Tax.  You, me, everyone we know.  Remember that car you bought back when you were a lot younger and perhaps a little more naïve and equally less endowed in the wallet?  It was supposed to be something reliable enough to get you from point A to point B, but it turns out that the brakes needed to be replaced, it leaked oil, and it gulped gas making you wish that you had your own private refinery in the back yard.  It somehow sucked money directly out of your pocket all of the time.  Remember that car?  I sure do!  And that’s just an example of a low-cost Stupid Tax.  Ever buy a rental property that didn’t pan out?

So back to our business example.  It now has garbage and recyclable pickup service, and everything seems to be fine.  Revenues are expanding, as are profits.  There’s never an issue with the garbage.  They come and empty the Dumpsters/compactors/rolloffs and send an invoice, which is paid without question.

But here is where many businesses fail to see potential bottom-line leaks.  The waste hauler is doing a great job on the surface, but there are many areas that can be major sources of inefficiency, and thereby more cost.  One is by simply over-servicing the client.  Scheduling pickups of Dumpsters too frequently so that they’re not coming anywhere close to the full mark, particularly if a business is cyclical in its trash production.  Another is by giving unfavorable rates for their service regardless if the equipment used is Dumpsters, compactors, or rolloffs.  And something that businesses will do to themselves to sabotage their efforts to curb costs is to not fully realize the advantages of recycling.  Likewise, not understanding all the terms in the waste hauler’s service agreement can lead to artificially high rates over time (courtesy of a little something called an auto-renew clause which automatically resigns existing clients to new service agreements at higher rates, even if the hauler’s expenses have decreased).

Having a trusted source independent of the waste hauling company come in to audit the waste and recycling system can be very beneficial.  Our company prides itself on helping clients increase profits by reducing costs an average of 30 to 50 percent.  That’s a lot of Stupid Tax not going out the door.

Our services are risk-free.  There are never any up-front fees, and if we can’t find any cost reductions or credits, no money is due to us.  And when we do get paid, we simply share the savings that our work generates.  It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Small, local companies like Cedar Village retirement community and the Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, as well as large, multi-location corporations like American Airlines, Winn Dixie grocery stores, and the McDonald’s corporation have benefited from the types of services we offer.  When you’re ready to “pay less taxes”, we can help you, too!

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at 513-398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.

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The Key to a Sale? Talk the Buyer’s Language

May 24, 2010

Businessman and columnist Harvey Mackay, perhaps best known as the author of five business bestsellers,  including Swim With the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive), Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt, and Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, has a very educational and entertaining column in the May 21, 2010 edition of the Cincinnati Business Courier.  Titled “Actions, not words, help make sales pitch personal”, Harvey explains the different ways sales pitches can be delivered, some more effective than others.  He concludes with a very poignant story to get his point across:

“During World War II, the U.S. government began offering soldiers a life insurance policy with a $10,000 benefit if they were killed in combat.  In one unit, a young lieutenant delivered a polished presentation on the details of the plan.  No one signed up.  Then an older sergent quietly asked the lieutenant if he could talk to the troops.

‘Men,’ he said, ‘if you get this life insurance and you get killed, the government is going to send your family $10,000.  If you don’t get this insurance and you get killed, the government isn’t going to send your family anything.  So who do you think they’re going to send up to the front lines – the ones who’ll cost $10,000 when they’re killed, or the ones who won’t cost anything?’

All the soldiers immediatley signed up.”

In this case the buyers didn’t care very much about the details of the insurance.  But give them a small dose of reality – aka, the government is somewhat selective in who it wants on the front line – and all of a sudden, insurance seems like a pretty good investment.  I’m going to keep this lesson in mind the next time I’m preparing to speak to a potential client!

And don’t forget – the real meaning of Memorial Day isn’t to kick off summer, or to have a three-day weekend…

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at 513-398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.

Leave a phone, enjoy a vacation!

May 16, 2010

Back in April, my daughter, a junior in high school, had spring break, and as has been the tradition in our family since she was in kindergarten, my daughter, my wife, and I visited my parents who live in rural Georgia.  And as a business owner (or these days, a normal human being), I brought my cell phone with me.  Only just to check email every now and then, I promise.  Or so I tell myself every time I leave town to “relax”.  Of course, what actually happens is I get calls from potential customers wanting more information, and calls from existing customers who have fires that I need to put out, and calls from my friends wanting to know if I’m interested in watching the Reds at our favorite watering hole after work.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d tell my parents to take a tax deduction because I’m running a company out of their home (that’s gotta be deductible to someone, doesn’t it??) and not really doing much vacationing.

Since my daughter is, as previously stated, a high school junior, she is in full college-search mode.  And since one of the colleges she’s looking at is the University of South Carolina, what better use of our time than to kill two birds with one stone and make a campus visit while we’re in the same general vicinity.  So on the Wednesday after Easter we bade my parents farewell and made the two-and-a-half hour drive to Columbia, where we had scheduled a campus tour for Thursday and planned on driving home on Friday.

Except on the way there I noticed that my world was significantly quieter than normal.  I then realized somewhere around Augusta that I had left my phone at my parents’ home.

After the initial thoughts of horror almost forced me to drive my family and me off of I-20 and into the Savannah River, I decided that to turn around and drive the 90 minutes back to my parents’ house would be very counter-productive, and we charged forward to USC.  Besides, both my wife and my daughter have Crackberries, just like me.

Oh, but as anyone who’s been in this situation knows, it’s just not the same.  Different apps, different homepages, and obviously none of my friends will be answering a phone call from my wife’s phone.  I’m not the smartest person on the planet, and neither are my friends, but we’re all smart enough not to answer calls from each others’ war departments.  None of us wants to have to answer the dreaded “Where is my husband?” question!  (Kim, Mary Pat, and Leah, I haven’t seen your husbands – honest!)

So I ventured on, praying that any million-dollar deals that would happen to be left on my phone (IF they were left on my phone) could wait until I got home in a couple of days.  As the only employee of my company, I can’t rely on someone else to handle my company…it’s just me.

Wednesday night, I checked my phone’s answering machine – nothing of any consequence.  Thursday morning – ditto.  And our tour of the campus was great.  By the time the tour was over, I was almost enjoying not having my phone with me.  And by that evening, I was actually glad I’d left the phone behind.  I hadn’t had this much seperation from my business since I started it! 

Driving home Friday I was beginning to wish that I had left my phone at home on all of the other “vacations” I’ve been able to take.  I wasn’t constantly feeling the need to look at email or having to answer calls.  By the time we crossed the Appalachian Mountains I had promised myself not to bring my phone on our next trip…we’ll see if that actually happens.

After arriving home on friday evening, I was able to get all of the email and phone calls answered by the end of that weekend.  Not bad!

The lesson learned?  You can always work, but every now and then it isn’t such a bad idea to disconnect, recharge the batteries, and enjoy being with family.  And Mom, the money to reimurse you for mailing my phone back to me should’ve arrived by now.  Send me an email if it hasn’t.  If I’m not on vacation, I’ll respond.

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at 513-398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.

What’s an easy way to increase your company’s bottom line? Reduce this cost!

May 10, 2010

And that is, the cost of removing the waste and recyclables your company generates.  And something we’ve been noticing lately is that we’ve been able to realize a large amount of savings by some of our clients who’s trash hauling service agreements have come up for renewal. 

As an example, we were hired by the Hyde Park Golf and Country Club here in Cincinnati in 2006.  Among other changes, we implemented a recycling program, and changed the trash pickup schedule to ensure the Dumpsters were closer to capacity before they’re emptied (they’re charged the same amount wether the containers are nearly full or nearly empty).  We also negotiated a new service agreement with more favorable terms and lower pricing.  In all, we saved the club 47 percent annually.

A couple of months ago, the service agreement came up for renewal.  When we got to pricing, we negotiated for lower rates, and the hauler agreed to lower prices even more…by more than 10 percent!

Needless to say, the club is very happy.  They’re confident in knowing that their waste and recycling hauling needs are being met, and with the same company they’ve used for years.  They also know that they’re paying the lowest rates possible.

Is your company in the same position?  If you’re unsure, don’t feel bad.  Most companies assume the waste haulers will take good care of them, and they usually do.  But it’s kind of like the fox guarding the henhouse – they deliver good service, but the pricing is way out of line compared to what it should be.  The invoice arrived every month, and as long as there aren’t any issues with overflowing Dumpsters or malfunctioning compactors, the hauler is paid.

We can audit your company’s waste and recycling system and find inefficiencies that drain money directly off of your bottom line.  We work with your staff to help streamline the disposal of your trash and recyclables, and to manage the cost of this necessary service.  Our clients see cost reductions of between 30 and 50 percent on average, risk-free.  There’s no up-front fees.  The way we get compensated is by simply sharing the savings our work produces.  If we can’t find any cost savings or credits, you don’t owe us anything. 

Want to see if we can produce the same, or better results with your operation?  Contact us today to set up a risk-free audit for your company!

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at 513-398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.

So what exactly does a solid waste management consultant do?

March 1, 2010

When I first introduce myself to someone in a business setting and am asked what I do, the answer doesn’t necessarily paint a clear picture of my job. Not that I haven’t spent many nights laying in bed, many mornings in the wet think tank (otherwise known as the shower), and many Tristate Business Network meetings trying to come up with a clearer, more concise explanation. So until the big anvil in the sky lands on my head with that answer, I will respond that I’m a solid waste management consultant. And then when I’m met with the expected quizzical look, I’ll elaborate.

My company looks at our clients’ solid waste and recycling systems and finds ways to dispose of this material in a more cost-efficient manner. Anything that goes in a Dumpster, compactor, or a recycling container is costing bottom-line dollars to be removed. Sometimes companies are very good at having this stuff picked up for a low cost. But most of the time, they aren’t.

Many years ago – or if the company is brand new, a few weeks or months ago – someone at the company called one of the local waste hauling companies, told them that they needed trash service, and presto! Equipment was put into place, and a monthly invoice started arriving in the mail. A check has been getting cut every 30 days since then, and as long as there isn’t trash overflowing from the recepticals, everyone’s happy. Especially the trash hauler.

Trash haulers are terrific companies that provide jobs to the community and essential services to their clients.  I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not have an agenda to insult or belittle anyone associated with these companies or what they do. My company couldn’t exist without them. But the reason my company is in business is because an estimated 90 percent of companies overpay by an average of 30 to 50 percent what they really need to be paying to have trash and recyclables removed from their facilities. A lot of companies tolerate this (why, I don’t know). But most really don’t know this profit-leaking is taking place.

Why is this? It’s simple. Trash removal is never a core competency for any company outside of the trash hauling industry. It’s the guy on a unicycle at the circus that features a high-wire act and a trapeeze. You see him do his thing, but bring on the Wallendas!

The monthly invoice arrives, it gets paid. As long as there’s no trash on the ground by the Dumpsters and there’s money in the bank account, no questions are asked. And that’s how waste hauling has become a multi-billion dollar business. Waste Management, the largest player in the solid waste services industry, had well over 13 billion dollars of revenue alone last year. Granted, a large portion of that is residential service. But assuming that even just a quarter of that revenue is business generated (and that’s being VERY conservative), and taking the mininum overpayment average of 30 percent, businesses are overpaying for this service by about a billion dollars every year.

Waste removal is one of those things that’s kind of like breathing: everyone knows it takes place, but no one really thinks too much about it. Which is why a consultant specifically trained to help contain these costs has a very positive effect on the bottom line. And when you consider that our company only gets paid if we are able to provide cost reductions, and that we just simply share the savings that’s generated, we are a risk-free bargain!

So in what ways can my company save a client money? I will blog about that sometime next week!

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at (513) 398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.

Is reducing costs on your company’s “wish list”?

January 30, 2010

In the October 19th edition of Newsweek magazine, Newsweek Chairman Richard M. Smith interviewed Richard Baird, co-leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ People and Change Advisory Service, about managing talent during this epic downturn.  When asked why companies need outside consultants, Baird replied:

“Consultants are good at helping surface factual information that the company either can’t or doesn’t know how to find on its own.  We help them understand the context of experience across multiple companies in their industry and what constitutes best in class.  And we help provide the courage to get them to understand and execute.  Because the execution is the most important part – otherwise the strategy is just a wish list.”

Is your company’s strategy in 2010 to reduce costs?  Get it off the “wish list” and let it start having an impact on your bottom line.  Waste Auditing Consultants can help you meet your goals and objectives.  We can help reduce the cost of disposing of your company’s waste and recyclables by an average of 30 to 50 percent.  Risk-free.  There are NEVER any up-front fees, you don’t need to change waste haulers, and there’s no budget needed for our services because we simply share in the savings that’s generated by our work.  We work locally and throughout North America.

Call or email today.  And get the cash out of your trash.

Trip Topken, 513-398-2117, trip@wasteac.com, www.wasteac.com