December 21, 2021

Basics of Choosing a Utility Billing Company

By
Team Nutiliti

Property owners and managers can save time and money by outsourcing utility billing to an RBC, which improves cost recovery and the bottom line. However, you will only gain if you partner with a trustworthy, competent billing and submetering provider. In this article, we'll go over five things to consider before hiring an energy billing business.


Why Do People Hire Utility Billing Services?

The time and effort required to control electricity expenses may soon become a second job for many property owners and managers. There are a lot of responsibilities:

  • Collect data for monthly billing, such as utility bills and meter readings.
  • Check the information.
  • Compile utility prices.
  • To make bills, assemble the validated utility.
  • Bills should be run through a variety of billing mechanisms, with numerous methods being used on the same property at times.
  • Bills may be added to your property management software.
  • Create bills on paper
  • Send invoices on paper
  • Answering inquiries from locals
  • Finally, collect payments (unless when customers fail to pay their bills, in which case you must keep track of delinquent accounts and charge late fines).

Don't worry if this sounds familiar; you're not alone.

On top of their day-to-day responsibilities, most property owners and managers don't have time to perform utility bills. That's where a good read, bill, and collect (RBC) provider can help - one that provides utility submetering or RUBS billing services as well as excellent customer care. What's the benefit? You can boost NOI, average tenant stay, and cost recovery with the appropriate partner.

Utility billing businesses, on the other hand, do not all provide the same services and solutions. This implies that if you choose the wrong utility billing firm – one that can't match your service level requirements – you'll end up with a greater hassle. So, let's have a look at five elements that might assist you in making your decision.

For busy property managers, choosing a utility billing firm is critical.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Utility Billing Company

BILLING METHODS THAT ARE FLEXIBLE
Every property is distinct in terms of design and construction. As a result, utility billing must be flexible enough to match the property's demands and constraints.

Many homes, for example, only have one utility that can be submetered, while the other utilities are logistically impossible to submeter. Multiple billing systems, such as submetering for electricity and RUBS for gas and water, would be required in this instance. It may even be essential to employ several billing methods for a single utility. To handle this level of complexity, you'll need a system that can track numerous billing methods and ensure that everything is working properly.

You'll need a solution that can handle complicated conditions while being flexible in order to receive accurate readings and utility bills. If you're considering outsourcing your energy billing, seek for a company that can supply you with the billing alternatives you require rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.

MONITORING AND ANALYTICS
Many businesses provide auditing and benchmarking services for invoices. They could, for example, compare your building's performance to that of comparable buildings throughout the country in order to discover methods to save costs.

While this is not the same as utility billing, working with an RBC that can give billing statistics has certain advantages. Some energy billing firms would even compare last year's billing period to the current bill to look for consistent percentages. They do so to ensure that the property continues to function well over time.

If someone is monitoring the performance of your property, it is simpler to examine disparities, rectify problems, and catch errors. It also helps to keep spending in check, which is crucial for improving NOI.

UTILITY SYSTEM DESIGN & CONSULTING
The most important aspect of utility billing is determining how to set a price that residents would accept. This need front-end consultancy to ensure that the solution provided generates a bill that can be paid. During the consultation process, several decisions must be taken, including but not limited to:

What are the best charging strategies for the property?
Is it better to place submeters inside or outside?
When dividing RUBS bills with unequal occupancy counts, what spread factor should be used?
Your utility billing's long-term success will be determined by the decisions you make now.

As a result, having a utility billing business that will work with the property to ensure that they're invoicing a payable and appropriate fee is vital. The goal of RUBS, for example, is not to divide a $10,000 amount and put it on an invoice. If the bill is unjustified, the renter may refuse to pay it or vacate the premises.

When you deal with a supplier who starts with consultation, utility billing becomes a tool for increasing NOI rather than a means of evicting residents.

INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE AS A COMPLETE SERVICE
Installation and continuous maintenance of utility billing systems can range from simple to sophisticated. A software-based charging solution such as RUBS may be set up in a week or less. Submetering, on the other hand, takes longer since the supplier must install the submeters physically.

However, installation quality varies from one provider to the next. It all relies on the utility billing company's techniques. A submeter solution that is poorly installed and contains low-quality parts will operate badly. This might result in a loss of revenue and a decrease in efficiency.

Look for a company who excels in three essential criteria to get the most out of your utility billing solution:

Services in the Field
For submeter installation, the first step is to hire licensed field service professionals. Many corporations have plumbers install the meters. Plumbers, on the other hand, are not qualified to install submeters for accurate readings. Certified professionals that specialize in this sort of installation can guarantee you years of reliable readings.

Components of High Quality
When it comes to submetering, saving money on equipment up front will end up costing you more in the long run. If your submeter equipment breaks, you might lose three months' worth of reads and, as a result, collections. Longevity and consistency are provided by high-quality equipment.

Maintenance that is ongoing
The third consideration is on-going maintenance. Submeters are durable and long-lasting, but they, like any other piece of equipment, need to be maintained in order to function properly. As a result, preventive maintenance is essential to ensure that your submetering system lasts its entire lifespan.

RECOVERY AT A HIGH COST
Utility collection is a thriving sector with the goal of maximizing cost recovery on utility bills. However, the majority of cost recovery issues arise early in the utility billing process, before the bill is even received.

Residents, for example, are less inclined to pay a bill that they believe is incorrect or unjust. This is also true if they don't comprehend why they're being charged the way they are.

Residents, on the other hand, are more inclined to pay a bill if it is correct and the persons who are charging them can explain how it is computed. Delinquencies decrease and cost recovery increases when electricity bills are accurate and easy to comprehend. Submetering and RUBS systems that give accurate readings and equitable expenditure allocation may take care of 80% of collection difficulties and recovery on the front end.

Final Thoughts on Choosing a Utility Billing Company
RBCs are increasingly being used by property owners and managers to control their utility costs. However, in order to reap the benefits, you'll need to work with a supplier who can give flexibility, insight, efficient installation, and excellent service.

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