Getting a startup off the ground and running is one of the most exciting experiences someone can have. There’s a slight rush in juggling every facet of running a business, making it all too easy to overlook the seemingly minor things that can cause headaches down the road.
From experience, startups will typically spend a lot of time looking at how they’re presented, from branding to how the front office looks, and not so much on the things that keep the machine running, i.e. services and billings.
3 Important Things Startups Should Know about Water Bills
In particular, there is one area that I see as a prime example of saving a little money at the beginning to help yourself a few years down the road: your water bills.
Water is taken for granted more than anything else in a business.
You might be the kind of boss who will always ask staff to have computers turned off fully at the end of the day and make sure no lights are left on at night. Because you can’t easily notice or check on water, people tend not to think of it in the same way.
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I want to highlight some of the things every startup should know about water bills, and why spending a few minutes now looking into them could save you money for years to come.
1. Your internal water network isn’t up to scratch
Ever have a sink that drips all the time? Or what about a toilet that seems to flush aggressively?
Your business will have some unique instances where water is misused or abused without you noticing. So what can you do about it?
If you think your network isn’t up to scratch, hire a local water agent (if you can’t see any online, look for leak detection companies that may also provide these services).
A local water auditor will know how businesses in the area get their water and use it. They do more than check taps.
They’ll want to know what your business needs water for and carry out a full audit of the business to see if there are areas water is showing up where it shouldn’t.
After a full audit, they should provide recommendations on how to lower usage, as well as a report on any problems they’ve used. You can then go to your provider and ask them to help fix issues.
If they don’t respond or offer assistance, then it may be time to look elsewhere.
2. Your provider isn’t best for you
I said that water was taken for granted and I meant it.
Most startups will be fixated on getting their electricity and internet in prime position and might never think that water matters.
If someone could quickly show you that your water provider was charging too much, or your bill had fees that didn’t make sense, you would be quick to ask why.
I recommend allocating an hour and doing some research online for local water companies. It could be a simple case of picking up the phone and letting competitors know you’re thinking of switching.
Tell suppliers how much you’re already paying and if they can do you a better deal. If you’ve had a look at your water network like I just mentioned, and know some things need improved, see if a competitor will make the changes for free.
To learn more about moving to a different water company, click here.
3. Your bills are from a former life
A bit like sitting down at a restaurant table and noticing the table hasn’t been wiped down before you get there, your water bills could be leftover that will make assumptions.
Everyone knows at least one startup which is operating from a converted space or more unique office setting.
Whether you’re based in an old factory, working from a converted retail unit, or whatever set-up is now your office, double-check you haven’t inherited a water bill from a former life that thinks you’ll operate the same.
A good example of this comes from businesses that take over former hospitality spaces in the city center.
Imagine your startup was in a former coffee shop. Do you think your little office is going to use the same amount of water that a café would every day?
If your business’s water bills have simply moved ownership to you, without you knowing what the previous owner’s usage was, and your supplier passively lets the rates stay the same, you’re throwing money away.
Get in touch with your water supplier, ask them what usage for the previous tenant was like, and whether they will lower rates based on your business type.
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
Never be at a loss
Thanks for reading.
If you’re running a startup, you will want to look at our ideas section. It has many helpful articles and tips on everything from building a store on your website to refurbishing your new office on a budget.
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