Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Cheaper utility bills? Don't forget the service!

We all love a bargain don't we?

Hunting in the sales and scouring the internet to make sure we have the best price for a particular item.

Or, do you take it a step further and actually haggle the price down?

Savvy shoppers do this all the time -  after all, why pay more for the same product?  

So, are you seduced when a cost cutting utility company calls your business or you get a flyer through your letterbox promising your energy and telecom bills slashed to next to nothing?

We all know that trying to analyse any utility bill, whether it be electricity, gas or telephone is a nightmare.  So many different tariffs, charges, periods, call packages!  We appreciate it might be a great idea to get someone to crunch the data for you, and offer you a cracking good deal, but before you do, please take on board these useful tips.

First of all, if the deal they are offering is really too good to be true then it probably is!  No such thing as a free lunch as they say.
Find out how the consultant/broker is paid and make sure the commission structure is completely transparent.  Often as not, the amount you can save sounds brilliant, but then you discover that you have to pay the cost management consultant up to 50% of the savings over 12 to 36 months.  Hmmm, not so attractive after all!
Although time consuming, you may just be able to secure better deals yourself, taking into consideration the commission you will have to pay.  You just need to do the homework.

Are you offered several different types of contract or just a fixed contract?  Being locked into a long term contract may be easier for your consultant to manage, but won't do you any favours if prices fall.  Invariably,  if you are tied into a contract you won't be able to move and this is a bit crucial if the support and service you receive is not all you expect.

If you have signed up with a consultant to investigate savings and don't go ahead you could also find yourself being sued for the savings that they have identified that you are not taking up.  It happens.

Check the consultant/broker out at Companies House (just to make sure they do exist and you're not being sucked into any sort of scam) and it might also be a good idea to Google the name of the company to see if there have been any complaints made against them.
It's also a very good idea to find out exactly how many companies the consultant has access to.  Needless to say, a small broker may only have access to a limited number of companies and therefore may not be able to get you the very best deals.

Lastly and probably the most important aspect will be the customer service and support you receive.  It goes without saying, that if you are paying peanuts for your energy and telecoms, then you won't be getting the best customer service.
Are you prepared to compromise the level of service for cheaper prices? If so, then ultimately this could be to the detriment of your business.  
Think long and hard before you sign anything.

If you take the time to locate a reputable company (get recommendations and read testimonials) with:-

1. Open and transparent pricing
2. No lengthy tie in period
3. Excellent technical support and customer service

Then although perhaps not the cheapest on the market, surely you will have achieved the best balanced deal all round?


Afterall, a cheap buy can be an expensive buy!


All images courtesy of Stuart Miles @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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