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New business says it can save you money

Jesse Aerlyn-Crook and Stephanie Aerlyn-Buchan pose with their business logo. Their business, AEL Solutions is run out of their home on Third Street. <i>Gretta Stark photo</i>

A new business opened in River Falls, but you won't see it as you drive through town. AEL Business Solutions is a web-based company currently run out of the home of Jesse Aerlyn-Crook and Stephanie Aerlyn-Buchan.

AEL Business Solutions helps struggling businesses find ways to save enough money to get back in the black. The main way they do this is by finding ways that businesses are being overcharged.

Aerlyn-Crook and Aerlyn-Buchan do a free initial consultation to see if they can help a company. If they can save money for the business, they work with different partner agencies to save customers money in specific areas.

"It's money businesses don't even know they're putting down the drain," said Aerlyn-Buchan.

Aerlyn-Buchan and Aerlyn-Crook said the two most common ways they can help businesses save money is through credit card processors and taxes.

Credit card processors charge money every time a credit card is run. Every time somebody swipes their card at a business, that business pays a fee for processing the card.

Card processors, said Aerlyn-Buchan, tend to overcharge. AEL Business Solutions negotiates with card processors to get its clients lower rates.

"We act as kind of a watchdog. Every month we have experts that go over all of their credit card transactions and make sure that they're being treated fairly," said Aerlyn-Buchan.

There are also several ways Aerlyn-Buchan and Aerlyn-Crook can save clients money on taxes.

For example, when paying workers' compensation, employers may inadvertently place their employees in the wrong classification, which could be costing them extra money.

Aerlyn-Crook and Aerlyn-Buchan partner with tax experts from a different consulting company to help customers figure out ways to save money on taxes.

Aerlyn-Crook and Aerlyn-Buchan work with several other firms to save customers money in other areas.

Aerlyn-Buchan said helping businesses save money can keep them from closing, and keeping businesses open is good for the economy.

"A lot of businesses are going under," said Aerlyn-Buchan, "and an extra 300,000 a year, for a lot of them, can make the difference."

Aerlyn-Buchan and Aerlyn-Crook said they can save a company anywhere from $20,000 a year to over $100,000 a year. It all depends on how many ways AEL Business Solutions can help a company, what those ways are, the size of the company, and other similar variables.

However, there are some companies Aerlyn-Buchan and Aerlyn-Crook cannot help. About half of the companies they hold initial consultations with can be helped, although Aerlyn-Buchan and Aerlyn-Crook would like to help more. They chose this business, said Aerlyn-Buchan, because they wanted to do something to help other people.

"I think we're doing a really good service for people, and it makes me feel good about what we're doing," said Aerlyn-Buchan.

Aerlyn-Crook and Aerlyn-Buchan have lived in River Falls for 16 years. Aerlyn-Crook came to River Falls in 1976 to attend the UW-River Falls. He stayed in the area, eventually settling in River Falls with Aerlyn-Buchan.

Aerlyn-Crook and Aerlyn-Buchan said they hope to expand their business into the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. There are other firms that help businesses with one way to save money or other -- consulting with businesses over income taxes, for example.

Aerlyn-Crook and Aerlyn-Buchan said AEL is the only business of its kind in the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin area.

Aerlyn-Crook and Aerlyn-Buchan said they also hope to be able to work with River Falls businesses.

AEL Business Solutions can be found at

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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