Every business should have a good grasp, or at the bare minimum some notion, of what they pay for every time they get a water bill. Not knowing what you pay for, or whether you’re getting a good deal, could put you in a position where you are literally flushing money down the drain.
With tips from the water experts at Castle Water, who are helping business throughout Great Britain with switching water supplier, here are some of the main questions to ask your current, and future, water supplier before switching.
Is the tariff locked?
Let’s start with what could be the deal-breaker between switching and staying put. When you’re talking with a possible new supplier, and they offer a tariff/rate that knocks the competition out of the water, ask how long that tariff will last. They should be able to state that it will be frozen in place for, on average, a year before you can re-negotiate a new tariff based on usage.
You never want to jump ship because a different supplier offers an amazing rate, only for it to last the first three months before “re-adjusting” to meet usage.
How do you handle wastewater charges?
As important as every drop coming in is every drop going out. The problem with most businesses is that only the water coming in can be accurately measured. Wastewater is often a fee hiding in plain sight and is something that can be quite volatile for business. For example, an ice cream shop by the beach would have spikes in wastewater in the summer, so would need to ensure it isn’t billed as such for the rest of the year.
Talk to your provider about how they handle wastewater, be that through a fixed charge in line with the local council or dictating their own fees based on local averages and your industry.
What is included in my bill?
Just like paying for internet for your business, you’re not only paying for the “internet” to come into your building but always paying towards a range of supporting services. The same goes for water bills. I often find that a new supplier that costs slightly more may be down to the additional services they provide, which can come in the form of water network checks, automated meter readings and emergency water planning.
It is very much a case of “you don’t ask, you don’t get”
Will you handle the switch?
I think this question will be the one to help you avoid any headaches and having to hold the line for hours on end, so make sure you ask any potential new supplier if they will sort out contracts and liaising with your current provider. There is a surprising amount of paperwork involved in switching. Having someone else take care of business will be a big relief.
Again, if the new supplier is as good as they say they are, they should have no problem taking care of things. After all, they actively want you as a customer.
Can you beat that?
This last question would be one to raise with your current/(hopefully) soon-to-be previous supplier. When you have an idea of what you pay for, and you have made a few phone calls with other water suppliers, take that data, and present it to your supplier.
Tell them what you can get elsewhere, before asking them what can be done to keep you as a customer. I would recommend against the “match it” tactic and lean towards a “beat it” way of thinking. If your current provider is attuned to what you’re saying, they’ll have no problem highlighting ways to lower bills or provide additional services which may not have previously been made clear.
Remember, at the end of the day, you are always paying the most for water services, so place yourself in a position to make it work for you.
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