April 29, 2020
Utility Billing & Social Distancing: 3 Safety Tips
In light of COVID-19, landlords are looking for ways to maintain their business while following social distancing protocols. Fortunately, there are three ways to remove human contact from your utility billing process.
Use Online Bill Payments
The fastest way to reduce contact in your utility billing process is to use electronic billing. Online payments can eliminate most contact in the utility billing process. Credit card, over the phone – anything electronic will help replace in-person payment methods, like cutting checks or paying at the front office.
Similarly, transitioning invoices and bills from paper to electronic can eliminate contact.
Most RBC companies (read, bill, collect) will offer the payment methods you need to set up contactless utility billing. If you’re taking payments in-house, you can utilize the RBC’s electronic payment options.
By making sure your billing is electronic, you can maintain social distancing protocols and eliminate contact between management and tenants.
Use Automatic Meter Reading
There are two ways to read a submeter: manually or automatically. Depending on the layout of the property, reading submeters manually could involve entering an apartment, increasing contact between staff and tenants. You can avoid this by using automatic meter reading (AMR).
AMR devices automate the collection of utility data from submeters. They’re designed to reduce labor costs associated with manual reads and improve data on utility consumption. But they also eliminate the need to enter a unit for a manual read.
During the pandemic-induced recession, a lot of property owners might not have cash on hand to invest in AMR devices. But in a post-coronavirus world, setting up automatic reads will prepare you in the long term in case of another pandemic.
Work with a Utility Billing Expert
For the residential housing industry, each month of the pandemic presents a new challenge. Right now, a lot of landlords are struggling to collect rents and utilities.
Landlords across the country are taking steps to collect rent and utilities while accommodating for the fact that many tenants are out of work.
Landlords are trying approaches such as:
- Slashing utility payments by 50%
- Waiving late fees
- Waving utilities if tenants pay rent on time
If you’re trying to figure out the next move for your property, there are ways utility billing companies can help.
RBCs can automate some of your operations to facilitate remote work. They can help with communicating new rules and initiatives to tenants. And some RBCs can even assist with collecting rents and processing payments. Because of this, many landlords are consulting their RBCs to best respond to these unknown times.
Coming up with the right solution to your pandemic-based challenges can be difficult. But there are steps you can take to align the utility billing process with social distancing guidelines and ensure the safety of everyone on your property.