How to Present the Benefits of Outsourced Utility Billing to Investors: 6 Key Talking Points

As a property manager, the benefits of working with a third-party utility billing service provider may seem obvious. However, if you work at the pleasure of an investment firm, you’ll need to come prepared if you want to convince them to pay for an outside service provider. Here are some talking points you can use to help make your case.

Talking Point #1: Save More with Utility Cost Recovery

Utilities make up a large expense each month for multifamily property owners. Even worse, it’s a large and variable expense. Without a proper utility billing system, it’s impossible to fully recover that utility cost each month. A flat rate utility charge or including utilities in rent is not a sufficient solution if you want to maximize cost recovery.

That’s where a utility billing provider comes in. They can help you implement a utility billing system or make optimizations to one you already have.

So, the first point you need to make to your investor board is that you can save thousands of dollars a month by improving your utility cost recovery. A utility cost recovery improvement of 10% across hundreds of doors adds up quickly.

Talking Point #2: Increase Accuracy and Efficiency

There’s a lot that goes into managing multifamily properties. Conducting showings, processing rent payments, monitoring financials, coordinating repairs and managing tenant relationships is time-consuming work. Plus, if your team’s attention is divided between those tasks, they’re much more likely to send out utility bills with errors. Incorrect utility bills are less likely to be paid on time, further harming cost recovery.

Taking utility billing off your plate can free up valuable hours that can be better spent on revenue-generating tasks. Plus, an outside utility billing provider will have the systems and processes in place to ensure accurate bills get sent out on time every time. Make sure when you’re presenting to your investors that they understand how this time saved will improve the work of you and your team.

Talking Point #3: Scale Your Investment

Are your investors looking to scale their multifamily investment in the future? Now is the time for them to onboard a utility billing provider.

As your team scales operations, a utility billing provider can act as a consultant at every stage of a property’s life cycle. Once you’ve started working with a utility expert, adding new properties is simple. Plus, they can advise on utility system planning for new development. They can help during the due diligence process to make sure an existing building’s utility system won’t bleed cost.

Talking Point #4: Access Advanced Analytics

Utility billing experts can help you get 24/7 access to useful utility metrics. This access allows you to fully optimize your billing systems as you grow.

As property holdings grow, it will become harder for your team alone to see when problems are occurring. A utility billing partner will be there for you monitoring your entire system to make sure everything is running as it should. When a problem is detected, you can get it fixed before it ends up costing your group.

Talking Point #5: Improve Tenant Satisfaction

Resident experience should always be top of mind in today’s competitive rental market. Unjustified bills, inconsistent billing schedules, and poor communication from the billing company all lead to negative resident experiences. These issues can cause residents to leave and hurt your building’s reputation on the rental market, ultimately hurting your investor’s bottom line.

Make sure your investor board knows that the right utility billing provider can improve resident experience by providing accurate and transparent bills at a predictable cadence. Of course, utility billing is a small part of the overall resident experience, but if it goes wrong, it can cause huge headaches for you and your residents. A utility billing provider eliminates those headaches.

Talking Point #6: Ensure Risk Mitigation & Legal Compliance

Errors in utility billing can lead to costly tenant disputes. If they go on too long, then they can damage your property’s reputation on the rental market. Like we’ve said in previous talking points, a utility billing services provider can ensure utility bills are fair and accurate and sent to tenants on time – every time. That greatly reduces the amount of billing disputes.

Another key form of risk mitigation comes with legal compliance. Utility billing laws and regulations can vary dramatically from state to state. Even city and minimalities can have their own unique utility billing laws. If your investors have a property portfolio spanning many states, a utility billing expert can help them ensure their utility billing systems are not liable to any fines or legal trouble for noncompliance.

Conclusion: Don’t Undervalue an Expert Service Provider

As you start to vet potential utility billing providers, don’t discount personal service and consultation. There are plenty of read-bill-collect utility billing firms out there, and they do their job well. However, they rarely devote the time, dedication and personalized service that will help you extract every bit of value from your utility billing system.

That’s where a utility billing partner can excel. Partnering with a utility billing consulting firm can help your team realize value across the entire utility billing cycle – from system design, to installation, to collections and optimizations.

At the end of the day, a utility billing provider helps you and your investors get even more value out of your multifamily investments by taking the variability out of utility costs, helping you stabilize NOI so that investors get reliable returns. Stay focused on the added value a utility billing provider can give your investors, and your pitch will go well.

Ready to get started with a utility billing provider? Get in touch with Synergy to see how we can improve your utility billing system and cost recovery efforts.