You turn a tap on in the office. Do you know the how and why of the water that comes out? You need to clean down surfaces outside the building. Do you know how much that roughly costs? Water bills are a tricky and often overlooked aspect of a business’s overheads.
The water we use doing anything from making a pot of coffee to mopping the floor has a cost attached. Many people will think it is an insurmountable figure that simply gets plucked out of the air, but every business should have a solid grasp on their water.
I’m briefly going to talk about the factors every business owner should think about when it comes to the water they use. This accounts for all types of business, regardless of size.
Know where your water comes from
Unless you’re one of the few businesses which are lucky to have a dedicated private supply, your business water will come from the same local supply as everyone else. You should expect water to have the same hardness and mineral composition as other buildings in the area.
It helps to have a water audit carried out (the company you pay bills to should put you in touch with one) to see that your supply is working as best it should and there aren’t any problems in your connection that could be costing money.
Know what exactly your bill is charging you for
Do you know, down to the penny, what your water bill is charging you for? Most people don’t realize that their bill works off an estimated tariff, or that there are additional costs lumped in which may be entirely off.
Again, get in touch with your water provider and ask them:
- Am I on an estimated tariff?
- Is my water usage normal for the area?
- Can I get a dedicated meter installed?
- How is my wastewater being calculated?
- What other services are included in my bill?
Know where to get help
You don’t just pay for a water bill every few months and forget about it. Your business water provider has to point you in the direction of what to get additional services if you need them.
Remember that I mentioned getting a water audit carried out. Your water company will usually not be in charge of maintaining the local network; they’re just the provider for you. You have the right to ask them to find you a water agent who can come along and carry out an audit.
Because they are an independent resource, an agent has the autonomy to provide unbiased advice and point out areas that need improvement. In many cases, something like leak detection and water contingency planning is something your provider will have to provide if an agent finds you need it.
It’s just one way of getting help without the onus put on your business.
Know that you can shop around
Just like picking an insurance or internet provider, you have the right to shop around for business water suppliers in England.
If you know someone who has moved into a new building, remind them to check that their water provider is the best option. Many business owners tend to inherit the water bill with an existing company without knowing they’re allowed to go and get a better deal elsewhere.
Shop around and see what services a competitor can provide. Even if you don’t want to switch, you can get in touch with your current provider and barter with them to get bills lowered.
Want more advice on getting bills under control?
Any way a business can save on bills can help immensely. There are some helpful articles on the accounting & budgeting section of the website which provide handy tips and information that any business can employ.