It's hard enough running a business without been eaten alive by the banks. Apart from seeing your margins crimped by humungous fees or loan interest rates, the banks are taking the mickey with some of the slim, slim rates they pay out in interest on corporate deposits. For €500,000 locked away in a fixed rate account for three months, with rates from irish deposits.ie. The Permo has really whacked up its savings rates for businesses in the last fortnight. Fill your boots.
Best: Permanent TSB 2.1 per cent
Avoid: Lloyds Banking Group 0.03 per cent
contact: www.permanenttsb.ie or local branches
Small businesses and professionals in practice can make big savings on specialist insurance for their work. Doyle Mahon has crunched some numbers for us, finding that an optician in Galway could save €800 switching from FBD to a special Doyle Mahon practice insurance scheme using Zurich, with a Waterford dentist able to save €500 by switching from their Aviva policy to the Doyle Mahon policy through Zurich. We've compared the opticians policy below.
Best: Doyle Mahon (Zurich) €1,400
Avoid: FBD €2,200
contact: www.doylemahon.ie or 053-9123630
Cash handling fees
Cash-intensive businesses like pubs or shops are a dream for banks, which can absolutely squeeze the life out of them with ferocious cash handling fees. If you queue up at the bank to plonk in a big wodge of cash, then expect to pay through the nose for the privilege of giving the bank your own money. AIB will charge up to 2 per cent to handle coins, so God help you if you run an amusement arcade. You'll pay close to €50 to lodge €10,000 in notes. You'd save a week's wages for a low paid staffer by switching banks.
Best: AIB 0.45 per cent
Avoid: Ulster Bank 0.5 per cent
Saving: €260 over a year
contact: www.aib.ie or local branches
Company mobile phones
For a small start-up business, mobile and data charges can eat away at the seed capital pretty sharpish. Sim-Only business packages from the big mobile firms make a degree of sense as the employees use their own smartphones or devices. O2 and three have similar packages, both with on net calls, landline and calls to other mobiles thrown in. Crucially, three has all you can eat data versus a 1GB allowance from the O2 Mobile control package.
Best: Three Business Saver €20 per month
Avoid: O2 Mobile Control €59
Saving: €468 per year
contact: www.three.ie or local store
Internet security software
There's nothing like an urgent presentation or sales pitch to guarantee that your work PC will go into meltdown. Online security and anti-virus software is vital to stop your computer from going all Pete Tong. We've compared products for three PCs on price alone. My chap in the computer fixing shop says that AVG is the best of the lot... but what does he know? A similar AVG package costs €59.95.
Best: McAfee Total Protection €34.38
Avoid: Norton Internet Security €59.99