The operating costs of a business are generally the costs associated with maintaining the existence of the business. The operating costs are the recurring costs that the business owner must pay on a regular basis -- weekly, monthly or yearly. Some operating costs may remain the same on a continuous basis, while other expenses fluctuate regularly.
Most established businesses must maintain some form of communication systems to work with customers, clients, employees and vendors. In addition to the conventional telephone lines, businesses can communicate using email, websites, fax machines, cellular phones and Skype communication services. The costs of communication services may vary monthly, depending on the amount of usage, while some communication systems carry fixed rates. Telephone operating costs depend on the amount of telephone lines and other add-on services, such as fax communication and long distance.
Nearly all equipment incurs costs to maintain. Office equipment includes such things as office furniture, copy machines, computer equipment, fax machines and office supplies. Business office equipment can malfunction at times, or become obsolete. Therefore, businesses usually upgrade their equipment, or purchase more on a regular basis. Additionally, some equipment may only need maintenance, and the business owner must pay for repair expenses. Also, office supplies must be purchased on a regular basis to maintain an adequate supply for business operation.
Unless a business owner chooses to operate a home-based business, he's responsible for the costs associated with leasing and purchasing commercial space. In addition to the recurring amounts to occupy the space, the business owner must pay for utility expenses and security systems. Renovation expenses may also be an operating expense for the business owner.
Any company that maintains employees must include the employee salaries as part of the business operating expenses. Employee salaries are included as operating expenses, because employees are used to operate the business on a daily basis and maintain the existence of the business.
Maintaining an insurance policy for a business is an essential component of protecting the assets of the business. Business insurance must be paid at regular intervals and is therefore an operating expense. Most business owners will purchase property and liability insurance for their company.