July 17, 2020
Implementing an HOA Submetering Initiative: 5 Steps
Submetering makes it easier for HOAs to balance the budget and charge homeowners fairly for utilities. But getting homeowners and the board to approve the initiative is easier said than done. In this post, we’ll break down the steps you can follow to implement an HOA submetering initiative.
#1. Start Budgeting
Deploying submeters at a homeowners association can take longer than at other types of properties. And while that can become frustrating, it does provide one advantage. You’ll have plenty of time to budget for the submeters
A submeter typically costs a homeowner several hundred dollars. The more time you give homeowners to budget for this expense, the more willing they will be to do so.
Even if you’re a long ways away from deploying submeters, you can at least give everyone the heads up to start budgeting for it. By getting the budgeting under control well in advance, you can remove one the most common objections to submeters right away.
#2. Get Quotes
The next step is to find a few Read, Bill Collect (RBC) companies to help you start submetering. This means shopping around for quotes online. Quotes will typically include an ROI assessment, meter costs and costs & savings for each homeowner.
While this step sounds straightforward, for many HOAs it’s the biggest roadblock. After getting several quotes, the board reviews them and…then they don’t do anything. If this happens, your submetering initiative will die before it begins. The best thing you can do to get through this is to push onto the next step and get a consultation.
#3. Set Up Consultations
After you’ve gotten a few quotes, set up site visits from one or more RBCs. This will add momentum to the project, turning quotes into action. The RBC can then also gather information required for a formal bid, as well as ROI and cost assessments. They’ll also provide guidance or advice on any particular challenges that might complicate the project (like leaking pipes.)
The consultation will also give you the opportunity to ask any question you or other board members might have.
After the consultation, you’ll need to provide information for the proposal from the RBC. This might include:
- Utility Costs
- Property information
- Property map
- Number of units
Once you have the quote and consultation in place, you’ll need to present it the board.
#4. Present to the HOA Board
The next and most important step in executing your submetering initiative is to secure the HOA board’s approval. Similar to the preliminary quote, it’s important
There are a number of ways to run these presentations. In our experience, you’re most likely to succeed if you set up a conference call with the board and the utility billing company. They’ll be able to work with you to answer questions and communicate the benefit of the initiative. They can explain how it raises homeowner property value and balances the budget. This makes HOA members more confident that the initiative will be a successful one.
#5. Keep It Top of Mind
After presenting the proposal to the board, there’s a good chance they won’t be ready to move forward. This happens at a lot of HOAs. Implementing utility billing at an HOA is more complex than other types of properties, and usually takes longer.
If you’re not ready to move forward, the best thing you can do is to keep the utility billing idea on the monthly agenda. This will keep the project top of mind, so no one forgets about it. This way, when the HOA is ready to deploy submeters, you can pick up where you left off without having to start over.
Many HOAs run into challenges when implementing submeters. If you’re looking for a way to cut expenses and balance the budget, these steps will help you do so.