With the economic issues all small businesses have been facing the past few years, everyone is focusing on ways to save some money. There are a number of ways to help make your law firm more profitable, such as focusing on collecting accounts receivable, ensuring you have a system in place to document billable activities and expenses, and considering dropping unprofitable clients. There are also a number of internal items that you can put in place to reduce the amount of expenses your firm encounters.
1. Switch to VOIP. Are you still using that old PBX phone system from the 80’s (or older)? Switching to a newer, IP-based phone system can save money a couple of ways. First of all, you’ll have savings over traditional phone systems in your monthly service. Even better, if you use a hosted phone system, you can use metered phone lines on conference room phones and other phones that aren’t used as much to save some money. No system to break down or need to pay for equipment maintenance agreements, and you get constantly updated software and features on your system as they’re released by the hosted phone vendor.
Secondly, you’ll have some great new features, such as unified messaging, voicemail to e-mail, and the ability to plug a phone in anywhere as an extension to your main system. Some systems even have mobile apps so you can make your caller ID look like you’re at the office, when you’re actually at the beach (we won’t tell anyone).
2. Shop Online. With common items like office supplies and technology, you can find some pretty significant savings online. While some items make sense to purchase locally, being selective in where you make certain frequent purchases can save your firm significant money throughout the year.
3. Do your own hiring. Did you know that the average staffing agency charges anywhere from 15-40% of a staffer’s annual salary for placement? We have some clients who have reported great results from networking, posting on Craigslist, or reaching out to local law schools for certain positions.
4. Reduce in-house technology. How many servers do you have? A number of the firms that we work with have a pretty significant in-house technology footprint from legacy systems. How can you consolidate? Check out cloud document management and case management solutions, such as NetDocuments, Clio, RocketMatter and others. They’ve had a ton of experience migrating law firms from burdensome, expensive on-premises systems. If you have custom needs, we’ve even seen several firms roll their own custom systems using SalesForce with great results.
5. Outsource Advertising & Marketing. Outsourcing has the benefits of getting a team of professionals for less than an individual employee, plus you get the benefits of having a much broader base of expertise in certain topics. Law firm marketing, for example, can be difficult for a small firm to manage, given all the other responsibilities they have to handle.
We have seen law firms that have tried doing their own SEO in-house, with mixed results. The challenges, they found, ranged from finding qualified SEO experts, to designers, to copywriters, and having to do it all on a small budget. If we can help with your law firm marketing, let us know.