Cutting Back on Utility Costs in FM to Offset Business Rate Increases

There’s no doubt you’ve already heard that business rates are rising. Bills will be skyrocketing for hundreds of thousands of companies across the UK. That means employers will be relying on their Facilities Managers to keep things cost-effective more than ever. And budgeting for your facility in tough times requires being extra thrifty.

With many FM professionals having dealt with the need to cut costs back during the financial crisis, Maxwell Stephens are here to help you navigate these new challenges. Here are some great ways you could cut back on utility costs to balance out the rate increases that might be coming your way.

Walk around your facility to discover little savings opportunities

Big stories have little beginnings. Even making minimal changes in your facility, like removing the light bulbs from the vending machines around the building, can have big effects on your energy bill. The lights aren’t essential to using the machines so the electricity can be saved for where it is genuinely needed. It also helps set the eco-conscious tone within your company for the bigger changes to come.

But you could also consider removing that vending machines all together. Lindesay Audin, president of EnergyWiz Inc. recommends reconsidering the need for any plug loads that don’t contribute to the actual running of your business. Things like coffee makers may be a great perk but in times of need your company will benefit more from tightening the purse-strings more than a caffeine kick.

Engage your greatest asset

The stakeholders in your company are your best bet for saving money. Asking for suggestions from employees in the facility could help you find ways to cut utilities costs that you hadn’t thought of. Suggestions like having the restroom lights on motion sensors may only come from those working in certain areas of the building every day.

Alternatively, your external stakeholders may be able to help you out too. Your company’s suppliers may be taking a hard hit from the business rate hike too, so they could be more understanding if your budgets are being stretched. Talk to your electricity, water or internet providers prior to the changes. They’ll want to keep their customers in business so may be willing to negotiate your utilities costs.

Offering suppliers’ benefits like extended contracts could mean they’re happy to reduce your bills in exchange. Consider their business needs as well as your own and you could help each other to make the best of these changes.

Is now the time to spend to save?

With some big business rates bills potentially coming their way, your employer may not like the idea of spending money right now. But with the next revaluation of business rates five whole years away, today could be the perfect, and possibly only, time to invest in some long-term initiatives for your facility.

Immediate cost-reductions are great, but replacing old and inefficient equipment will help to save the company incredible amounts of money over time. Having effective facilities will greatly lower your utilities bills each month. That kind of forward thinking is what your company will really need over the next few years.

Focus on the long term

More than ever, you need to make sure that what you’re doing will continue to benefit the business in the long-term. Your company may have a tougher time ahead with the new business rates revaluation but, by cutting back on utilities costs, you can ensure they make it through.

Look around at new suppliers

It seems that, since deregulation, every man and his dog has set up as a business energy consultant. Unfortunately, as it’s unregulated (unlike consumer brokerages), there’s a lot of dirty tricks occur in the industry.

You can get better deals by going through brokers but line up three of them against each other. There’s a finite number of energy generators and these brokers buy their energy from them. They then all apply their own margins and contract terms on top.

With all that information in front of you, make your selection, hopefully free of the pressure of being bombarded by eager reps keen to get you to sign across the dotted line.

Maxwell Stephens is the UK’s leading facilities management recruitment company. If you’re looking for a new role or you’re looking for a brilliant new staff member, please call us on 0207 118 48 48 or email info@maxwellstephens.com 

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