Bills are one of those things that everyone will, from time to time, give a subtle groan to when they get them in the post. When running a business, it can sometimes feel easier to simply pay whatever it says on the paper and not stop to think if it makes sense.
One bill worth taking to the time to stop and actively check on would be your business water bills. There is a high level of variance across the UK dependent on several factors, and not just location. The services used (and entitled to), who your provider is, and how you use water all play a role.
Here, we look at what every business in England should know about water, as told by Ellie Campbell in collaboration with Castle Water.
You might have inherited a provider
If you’re operating a business after moving in somewhere, you may have inherited your water provider. This can happen when ownership of services changes, or if another company buys and merges with your water supplier.
When this happens, you need to check that the provider is offering the best value for money. Do some research online to see what other suppliers in the area charge businesses for water. If you see that other suppliers have better rates, call up your supplier and ask if they can match it.
Because the commercial business water market is completely open, if your inherited provider isn’t giving you a good deal, you have the right to switch over without interruption.
Your bills could be completely wrong
If your supplier is taking the reading automatically from your water meter, your tariff is typically based on the rateable value of your property. I urge anyone billed this way to ask for help with getting a smart meter installed. Your assumed bills could be way off the mark, especially if you’re in an area like the Midlands or Greater London where water dependency is much higher, costing businesses more money year-round.
Your business should have unique tools available
Every business uses water differently. You only have to look at the businesses neighbouring yours to see that in action. So why do so many businesses fear getting in touch with their supplier to ask for individual services?
It will usually be due to the preconception that asking for anything out of the ordinary is going to come with an overloaded price tag attached, which isn’t the right way to think about additional tools, namely the likes of:
- Moving to digital water meters
- Getting leaks repaired
- Asking for help with wastewater disposal
- Changing internal operations to lower usage
Some businesses will tend to overlook such actions as they feel it isn’t worth spending the money on. I encourage anyone thinking like this to talk with their supplier and ask what the long-term savings for your business could be if you were to ask for help and pay for additional services up-front.
Your business isn’t using water efficiently
A major bug-bearer for me and something I think every business owner should be pushing for, water efficiency is the most overlooked area of business water usage. Simple measures can have the biggest impact, and you should be asking your supplier if they provide water efficiency checks or guides.
In many cases, a provider should have free checklists for their customers to use on-site, looking at everything from meter size (you’ll be surprised how many are wrong) and water balance modelling to landscaping and low flow technology. It really is often the simple measures that can provide the benefits which are reflected in lower bills.
Find out if your business can benefit from better business water services
Many of the factors covered in this article, and additional services businesses can avail from, are available by switching water supplier. I would recommend visiting the Castle Water website to find out more about how businesses can get better billings and services from changing business water supplier.
Even if you’re not wholly interested in switching just yet, do get in touch with your current provider and ask them to lay out the additional services you are entitled to as one of their customers. There could be some that your business could use immediately to lower water reliance and bring bills down.
More on cutting business costs and business costs that can be reduced or eliminated.
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