RUBS by Person or RUBS by Bedroom Count – Which Billing Method Should You Use

Two of the most common billing factors to use when setting up RUBS are occupant count and bedroom count. But which one of these is a better utility billing method? In this article, we take a deeper look at both RUBS by person and RUBS by bedroom count billing methods.

RUBS stands for ratio utility billing system. In RUBS the property owner proportionally allocates the utility cost with a formula that uses a billing factor to divide the total cost to create fair and accurate bills when submetering cannot be used.

When To Use RUBS by Person

RUBS by person is, in most cases, the most accurate and outwardly fair billing method because you are dividing the utility cost evenly among your tenants. This is important when it comes to cost recovery. To recover those utility costs each month, your billing method needs to be fair and equitable to your tenants.

In a RUBS by person billing structure, a unit with four people would get a larger bill each month than the unit with two people to reflect potential usage.

Furthermore, a RUBS by person billing method is especially important to use when you’re billing a utility like water, where usage goes up proportionally with the number of occupants in the building.

The more people that live in a unit, the more water that unit will use. This billing method includes that fact in the calculation by making sure every occupant is accounted for in the total billing amount charged back to a unit.

When To Use RUBS by Bedroom Count

A bedroom count billing factor is still a serviceable factor to use in some cases dependent on…

  • The utility being billed.
  • The accuracy of your occupancy count.

The Utility Being Billed

There are some utilities like gas and electricity that don’t increase in usage by the amount of people living in the building.

If your building runs on gas heat and assuming your square footage per unit is close to the same, then the amount of people living in a unit does not generally influence the amount of gas used by that unit.

Depending on how similar your units are, you can get an idea of the amount of electricity a two-bedroom unit in your building will use. Light fixtures and window AC units are used the same regardless of the amount of people living in the unit. As such the usage of electricity does not proportionally rise with the amount of people living in the unit.

In both cases, you can divide the total cost of gas and the total cost of electricity by the number of bedrooms in your building and still get a good bill distribution that will reflect potential usage.

How to Get an Occupant Count

If you don’t have the time or the capacity to track down occupancy counts regularly, then you can set up a RUBS by bedroom formula, and still get a serviceable billing allocation method that will recover most of the costs.

But if you want an easy way to get an occupant count, you can always use the number of tenants on the lease for each unit. Even if that count isn’t quite accurate, you can still bill by person, and when renewals are due, you can use that time to get a more accurate occupancy count and refine your RUBS formula accordingly.

Conclusion – It Comes Down to Cost Recovery

The goal of any utility billing method is to recover every cent of the total utility cost each month.

RUBS by bedroom count is an easy and serviceable billing method that can work for some utilities. However, we advise that you use a RUBS by person formula in all cases RUBS by person usually leads to a better distribution of that utility cost that will help you recover as much of that utility cost as possible month to month.

Billing accurately and fairly goes a long way to fully recovering utility costs, so make sure you take the time to find the RUBS method that works best for your property.

If you need help setting up the RUBS right for your property, speaking with a utility billing expert can help. Get in touch with Synergy today.