September 9, 2020
Top 5 Benefits of Utility Billing for Mobile Home Park Owners
Many mobile home parks struggle to charge tenants fairly for their utility consumption. As a result, rising utility expenses can quickly cause financial issues. In this post, we’ll review how working with a utility billing company can help mobile home park owners save thousands on utility expenses.
Reliable Leak Detection
Few things drive up utility expenses and crush bottom lines faster than utility leaks. When utilities are lost between the master meter and the submeters, there’s no way to recover the costs from tenants, and the owners have to foot the bill.
While this is a problem for many types of rental properties, mobile home parks are particularly vulnerable. This is because the layout of the community requires the pipes delivering utilities to mobile homes to run underground. And since the pipes are mostly out of site, it can be impossible to identify leaks through visual confirmation alone.
As a result, you could be losing thousands of dollars a month in leaked utilities and have no way of knowing.
To keep your expenses from spiraling out of control, you’ll need a way to identify and prevent leaks quickly. To detect them though, you’ll need data on your property’s utility consumption and the means to analyze it.
Submeters, one of the methods used for utility billing, will help you do this.
To detect a leak, compare your total submeter consumption against your master meter data every month. If you notice that you’re not billing a portion of your bill, or that consumption spikes without explanation, you likely have a leak. You’d then have the opportunity to improve cost recovery by repairing your water lines.
Because this involves a lot of monthly due diligence, many properties turn to utility companies to stay on top of leaks for them.
Greater Visibility into Utility Consumption
In addition to being great for leak detection, submeters also provide park owners greater visibility into the consumption of utilities on their property.
Because tenants have their own mobile home, owners often have no way of knowing how tenants are using their utilities. Sometimes tenants use utilities in ways that don’t align with the agreements of the lease. This can lead to owners undercharging for utilities, cutting into costs.
For example, we once used submeters to learn that a tenant was using 180,000 gallons of water per month. On further investigation, we found they were operating a car wash out the home. Without submeters, it would have been difficult to know about this problem. But with them, the owner was able to address the problem and save thousands of dollars.
Expert Submeter Installation
Installing submeters in a mobile home park is a tough job. In many communities piping is not unform, often requiring multiple meter types or sizes within the same park. The submeters are also expected to endure the elements, making them more prone to wear and tear.
These factors can make it tough to get accurate reads from the submeters. But, if you want to accurately bill tenants for their utility consumption, accuracy is exactly what you need.
While it is possible to install submeters yourself or consult contractors, many park owners turn to utility billing companies for help. This is because utility billing companies provide expert guidance on tracking your utilities while bringing in certified technicians to install the submeters. This ensures your submeters are set up in a way that delivers accurate and reliable consumption reads.
Billing Tenants Fairly for Utilities
A park owner’s goal in managing utility expenses is for everyone to be responsible for their own utility expenses. The problem is, charging tenants flat-rate utility fees often doesn’t accomplish this.
Even if you charge all of the tenants one rate, each tenant’s consumption is going to vary. The result is some tenants paying more than their fair share and some paying less.
When mobile home parks implement submeters, tenants pay for the utilities they consume. This means everyone pays their fair share.
Leveraging Billing Software
The software you use to manage utility billing has a significant impact on how quickly and efficiently you can onboard. It does by automating bill calculations and integrating directly into your property management system.
For parks owners looking to manage billing themselves, there is utility billing software on the market. But many owners actually partner with utility billing companies for this. In addition to providing billing expertise, many utility billing companies have their own propriety software that they use to manage properties. These systems gives them the ability to handle more advanced calculations and functions, such as creating a simulation of a virtual meter.
If you partner with an RBC that operates on their own platform, you could leverage the utility billing company’s capabilities for direct integrations and custom mapping capabilities. All without having to select, install and set up software yourself.
Many mobile home communities struggle to charge tenants fairly for their utility consumption. If you’re looking for a way to cut expenses and balance the budget, working with a utility billing company is an effective way to do so.