As businesses return to work, optimising buildings and facilities have come under the spotlight. Having running water is a simple necessity when it comes to operating any business, especially with the new cleaning and sanitising requirements associated with COVID-19 prevention. In addition, businesses are looking for ways to save money, and taking stock of your business water bill is a good place to start. Often overlooked as ‘just another monthly expense’, your water rates can often be reduced, saving you a substantial sum of money, and helping the environment.
In these uncertain economic times and amid a slowdown in Britain’s productivity growth, any potential business savings are worth exploring. So, to help you to lower your costs and find the best rates, here are our top money-saving tips.
1. Compare business water bills, rates and tariffs
With the open water market, businesses now have the power to shop around and switch water suppliers, so take advantage and get hunting for the best deals.
Over 36,000 businesses have switched water suppliers since the market opened in 2017, with more than half of these being low water users.
Although it might take time and effort, it is a good idea to switch suppliers every once in a while, as rates are always changing. If you have been with the same provider for quite some time, the savings you could amass may be worthwhile.
There are plenty of water suppliers within the UK, and with it, a huge number of deals to be considered, along with fantastic savings. In fact, research shows that the current standard rates, from the most expensive provider to the cheapest, differs by approximately 57%.
If you are loyal to your current supplier, try and negotiate with them. If you have found a better quote elsewhere, tell them – they may be able to match it or even beat it.
It pays to shop around…
CBGA Robson, an established commercial investment property and asset management company, manages 1,200,000 m³ of water per year. In order to manage this volume of water efficiently, they chose to outsource their water management to utility consultancy Smarter Business. As a result, CBGA Robson have been able to expand their operations and focus on winning mandates, confident that the administrative burden of procurement is managed to the highest standard, adding value to their proposition and actively surpassing tenants’ needs. Combined with a greater understanding of their consumption habits, CBGA Robson has seen a rise in the profile of their properties and a diminishment in cost.
Richard Turner, Partner at CBGA Robson, says: “Since Smarter Business took over, we have been able to spend more time focusing on the core of our business, knowing that the utility administration is in safe hands.”
2. Check for water leaks
As simple as it sounds, regularly checking for water leaks can save you a lot of money in the long run.
An easy way to keep on top of this is to encourage employees to conduct frequent maintenance checks for drips, leaks and other forms of water wastage. What’s more, leaks happen more often than you think – CCWater reported that 3.1bn litres of water were lost in England and Wales every day in 2016/17.
Make sure that employees and those related to your business know where your main water supply is, so that it can be turned off as quickly as possible if need be.
To reduce the risk of burst water pipes and leaks, it is a good idea to consider having your pipes insulated. This will eliminate the chances of your water freezing.
In addition to this, it is also advised to have your water pipes and boiler regularly serviced and maintained by professionals. This will help prevent any potential water leaks and will ensure that your equipment is working efficiently.
3. Reduce water usage
Our own research, based on our client data, indicates that on average, firms in the UK are using 30% more water than they need and sometimes, making the smallest of changes can make a big difference.
Check your monthly or quarterly water bills to find out exactly how much you are spending in that period of time. Be sure to monitor just how much water you and your employees are using on average, so you have a clearer idea of how much you realistically need.
Once you know how much you should be using, it’s time to put into action ideas that will help you reduce your usage and ultimately cut costs.
Some ideas to save water:
- If you have a dishwasher, wait until it is full before switching it on (as opposed to when it is only half full).
- If you don’t have a dishwasher, wait until you have enough pots to fill a washing up bowl, rather than doing little bits at a time.
- Scrape plates and dishes clean instead of rinsing them.
- Replace single-flush toilets with dual-flush toilets and regularly check for leaks to keep on top of any potential maintenance work.
- Hot water can cost up to four times as much as cold – only use hot water where it is completely essential.
- Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that is needed – saving water and energy.
- Don’t wait for the tap to run cold – this can waste more than ten litres of tap water a day. Instead, fill your bottle up and pop it in the fridge to chill.
By reducing your water usage, you will not only be saving your business money and reducing your business water bill, but also helping to preserve the environment, improve your carbon footprint and reduce carbon emissions.
4. Long-term water-efficient equipment
It may be worth your while to invest in some water-saving equipment. Although you may have to pay a lump sum at first, implementing water-saving technology will result in long-term savings.
For example, rather than paying a set bill, if you switch to a water meter, you can keep track of just how much your next payment is going to be. This way, you can monitor your usage and take action if it is starting to rise above the norm.
Having a water meter installed means that you will only be paying for the water that you use. It is also wise to regularly check-in with your water company and send frequent meter readings to ensure that you are only being charged for what your business is using.
Water-efficient taps are another great way to save on water, energy and your business water bill. These devices will save both water and energy by minimising the use of heated water. Automatic and sensory taps are also another great option, as they eliminate the risk of taps being left on when they aren’t being used.
Finally, spend some time investigating your business’s cooling system to find out if you are able to use other sources of water, such as rainwater. If you can, install a rainwater harvesting system for any landscaping and cooling needs.
5. Get everyone involved
Encourage employees to get involved and create a fun, friendly challenge to help contribute to your water-saving goals and bring down your business water bill.
Everyone within the business will play a part in the amount of water being used, so it makes sense to get them all involved. Remind employees to be conscientious of water use and ask for new ideas on how to save as much water as possible.
Put up signs around the premises to promote a water-efficient culture. This will help remind and encourage staff to be more water conscious.
Here are some examples:
- Remind your employees to turn off the water while lathering up hand wash, and to turn it back on to rinse.
- Put signs in all bathroom facilities and kitchens, reminding staff not to leave the water running any longer than necessary, and to ensure taps are turned off when they’re not in use.
- Put signs on the dishwasher to encourage employees to only switch it on when it is completely full.
Ethically, saving water is the responsibility of every business. Financially, it can also benefit the bottom line. We hope these tips will help you better manage your water portfolio to ensure significant savings on your business water bill.