"If you could buy eggs for $4 per dozen, or a dollar per egg, what's the better deal?" says Providence Plantation resident Barry Bazen.
Most would think it's obvious buying the dozen is the way to go but, says Bazen, the correct answer is it depends on how many eggs you need. If you need only two eggs, buying a dozen does not make financial sense; nor does it make sense to pay per egg if you need more than four.
Bazen uses the egg analogy to explain what his business, Profit Advisory Group, does for companies.
Bazen, 47, and business partner Ken Reda, 50, look at the efficiency of a company's procurement across a wide spectrum of services - such as utilities, freight, telecommunications, real estate, waste disposal, medical claims, recycling and accounts payable - and find ways to save the company money.
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The two work primarily on a contingency basis, with fees coming from the "lost revenue" they unearth for each client.
"We benefit our clients and it doesn't cost them a nickel," said Reda. Or as Bazen puts it, "We create the money that a company uses to pay us. It's a redirection of the money they're already spending."
Bazen and Reda met while both were working in the telecommunications field, and both lost their jobs during the dotcom explosion that crippled the industry.
Bazen, whose long-term goal was always to start his own business, began a telecommunications consulting business - MBA Technology Consultants - in 2002.
Reda partnered with him three years later and they changed the name to Profit Advisory Group, using the same money-saving concept of Bazen's telecommunications consulting but extending it to a slew of other services.
The business' clients, many of whom are from referrals of customers, range from the Town of Matthews to companies throughout the United States, Europe and Canada.
So how does Profit Advisory Group find lost revenue?
"First we analyze a company's bills and find errors," said Bazen. Once the oversights and errors are discovered, Profit Advisory Group documents them, gets them corrected and secures a refund.
Another common area rife with overpayment is waste disposal, which has become a $52 billion industry.
"A company may be paying to have its dumpster unloaded three times per week," said Bazen, "but it is only one-third full each time." The same is true for property taxes, which can be assessed for property the company might no longer own or has been incorrectly assessed. Asked why clients don't find these billing discrepancies themselves, Bazen and Reda point out that most bills are long and detailed and the waste or error is a line item that is easy to miss.
"We're a fresh set of eyes," said Reda notes. "We look at what it is, not what the bill says it is."