For property owners who manage multifamily residential units such as apartments, condominiums, manufactured homes, military housing, or student housing, utility expenses can be significant. Owners must look for effective ways to assuage these costs. One of the fastest ways to increase net operating income is to transition a property from owner-paid utilities to tenant-paid utilities.
Utility Billing Services are Efficient
Some property owners prefer to manage their utility billing in-house, but another option is to use utility billing services. These billing services have invested in developing the software tools and technology to streamline utility billings so that it is affordable, well supported, and efficient. Successfully outsourcing multifamily utility billing can save property owners and managers time, money, and effort.
Choosing the Correct Billing Service for Your Needs
Property owners have a wide range of requirements and utility billing services have an equally wide range of services. Therefore, it is imperative to choose the billing provider that best suits your needs. When investigating service providers, be sure to be explicit about your requirements so they can help to guide you to the right provider. The questions that you ask potential providers should cover the following areas:
* Customer support – be sure that you know how the company works with property owners/managers as well as residents, what their response time is, and how their customer service representatives are trained.
* Billing services – be aware of the type of billing the company administers (submetered, flat fee, RUBS, etc.), the services that are offered (convergent billing, vacant cost recovery, electronic billing, payment processing, etc.), how utility bills are estimated, and whether or not the company offers any performance guarantees.
* Account and billing data integration – know how move in/move out data are exchanged, how convergent billing is transferred, and how billing and payment data are synchronized with your accounting software.
* Reporting capabilities – know what information will be provided to you, if that reporting can be accessed online, and how it can be customized for your needs.
* Legal and regulatory – make sure the company is aware of the laws in your state, county, and city, find out how the company will assist with legal compliance, and whether or not the billing service company has been involved in any lawsuits based on its service.
* Submetering services – be aware of what submetering installation and repair services are offered, how the repairs are scheduled, and what sort of analysis is done to detect meter problems, leaks, or other maintenance issues.
Being clear about your expectations and asking probing questions to utility billing services will help to ensure that you end up with the company that is right for your property management needs. The right billing servicer can save property owners and managers time, effort and money.
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