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The Garden State is now among the top three repetitive-loss states in the nation when it comes to flood insurance claims. This means that insurance companies, faced with paying out claims for flood damage on the same properties more than once, must make the unpopular decision to increase premium rates on flood insurance for New Jersey businesses.

While business owners may balk at hikes that can reach a 25% increase per incident, repetitive-loss properties are a proven risk and failing to maintain coverage in an attempt to cut costs is misguided at best and can prove to be catastrophic financially in the event of repeat flooding during a period without coverage. Storms such as Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 totaled well over $1 billion in damages alone.

While federal aid helped cover some costs for New Jersey residents in both cases, more than three years after Hurricane Sandy there are still an untold number of FEMA claims that have not been paid. With that in mind, New Jersey businesses hoping to remain secure in one of the most notorious states in the country when it comes to flood damage must spare no expense when it comes to ensuring adequate private flood insurance coverage.

So how can businesses weathering precarious financial times stretch funds to cover flood insurance premium hikes in instances of repetitive-loss? Below are 8 expenses to consider cutting instead.

1. Use Less Energy

One of the few regular expenses that a business has the potential to decrease is the cost of energy. Switch to compact fluorescent lighting and invest in better insulation and energy-efficient windows to save on energy in the office or retail location. To keep the savings coming, even on the road, reduce speed and always consult a GPS to ensure the route with the least mileage to save money on gas and keep vehicle maintenance costs when making deliveries, traveling to meetings or using a company vehicle for any other purpose.

2. Allow Telecommuting

Allowing as many employees as possible to work from home as often as possible will not only save on overhead costs like office space and electricity but can also often be used as trade-off for a lower salary when negotiating salaries and benefits with potential new hires. In fact, there may be some current employees willing to take a pay cut in order to enjoy the additional time with family, reduced cost of childcare and savings on commuting, a work wardrobe and other expenses that a remote position can eradicate.

3. Pay Invoices Ahead of Deadline

Many suppliers are happy to negotiate a discount for invoices that are paid in full early. Discuss this possibility with all current suppliers and consider a switch to new suppliers if necessary.

4. Reduce Travel Expenses

Some business trips are necessary, but those that are not, such as conferences that do not generate income, can be eliminated. For business travel that can not be nixed, choose the least expensive flights, accommodations and meals possible and send only as many employees as absolutely necessary. Closely monitor expense accounts for these trips and be clear ahead of time what only necessities will be reimbursed or covered by the company.

5. Pay Less Rent

In some cases, reducing rent payments will mean moving to a new location. Many times, however, especially in a market where an abundance of nearby storefronts or offices are vacant, a landlord will be willing to negotiate the terms of a lease to include a lower rent payment or even several months free in exchange for signing a longer lease than the current one. When negotiating for a reduction in rent in New Jersey do mention that an increase in flood insurance premiums has necessitated a reduction in other business expenses. A landlord who understands the situation may be more likely to make a deal, especially for a good tenant who pays the rent on time.

6. Buy Used

While many business owners believe that they already purchase only what is absolutely necessary to keep operations running smoothly, the truth is that there are often still savings to be found. By purchasing as much equipment and office furniture as possible secondhand, even frugal business owners can often enjoy additional savings.

7. Barter

The barter economy is here to stay, with businesses ranging from preschools to law firms engaging in the barter of goods or services at cost with other businesses and even clients to save on expenses. Make a list of every supplier and offer to barter the business’s product for theirs. Also, keep in mind clients who have skill sets or businesses that may provide services that can be bartered with for any owed invoices or future accounts.

8. Manage Inventory Wisely

Having shelves or stock rooms filled with product that is not moving quickly amounts to cash that is tied up which could otherwise be earning interest or paying down debt. Keep only the supplies and goods on hand that are actually necessary to enjoy savings and improved cash flow year round.