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Do you understand your energy bills?

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Person confused about billsConfusing energy bills could stop you getting the best deal.

From a recent Which? magazine article of the same title, they highlight the fact that many of us either don’t understand our energy bills and tariffs or find it confusing, that they spend so much time reading through it, just to make sense of it – eventually.

Are the energy companies doing this on purpose, a sort of conspiracy theory? In the hope that you or I will receive our renewal letter and think to yourself:

“I’m just going to stick with them because I really do not have the time or inclination to trawl through the bill to make ‘head nor tail’ of it?”

Perhaps! Either way, we as the consumer lose out. Do nothing and pay more than need be. Spend time understanding the bill and searching for better rates, you are assigning a lot of time, some might say ‘wasteful time’ in your quest for improved rates.

I have been in this position as well, both domestically and commercially. Trying to fathom my home electricity bill – economy 10. Would it be better for me to switch to economy 7? What are the pro’s and con’s of this? Who do I call and will I go from option to option before eventually speaking with another human, by which time you’ve assigned half an hour of your life to listening to what is now, rather irritating music.

Try sorting it yourself, to keep on top of it, which is admirable, then you will probably want to compile a spreadsheet. Noting your current rates, consumption levels, new rates from current supplier then from competitors. Once more, you’ve spent time on this task.

And then once you think that you have sorted it, you decide to try the suppliers once more, in the hope that you can re-negotiate the rates.

So how long has all this taken? A morning, a whole day perhaps. Either way, it’s time that you could and would have liked to of spent in some other way. Ok, so you may have saved yourself £££’s, but you feel drained. I know, I have been there. I’ve done this for businesses too. I would say that it’s not fun, but actually, I do enjoy the challenge, the fact finding, the analysis, yes, sometimes it isn’t as straight forward as you may think. But that’s for another time.

So what can you do? Ideally, as Which? are campaigning for, is to have our bills simplified. That’s a start. However, do you still want to spend all this time searching for the best rate? I’m certain that you don’t. There are sites and business that can do this for you and yes, it is often FREE. They won’t charge to look through your bill and find you a new rate or a selection of rates for you to choose from.

Domestically, the comparison sites do this for you, with some basic data entry from yourself. For business energy, it’s similar, however, there are companies such as U-GET that simply require a copy of a bill and a ‘letter of authority’ to begin the process. What we can provide, is the human element, helping resolve your problems; not knowing who a supplier may be when moving into a new shop or building, needing someone to check your bill as you believe it maybe incorrect.

We know that it’s confusing as well as time-consuming. When you have a business to run, this is something that you simply do not want to deal with. Allowing energy brokers and consultants to act on your behalf is a convenient and hassle free solution. Using the various suppliers to source rates and tariffs from means that we are independent and impartial, not favouring any one.

What’s more, you don’t have anything to lose by using the service, as you won’t pay us a penny.

Through affiliates, we are able to help with your energy consumption habits. Assessing  and reducing them, with the aim of further reducing your costs. Energy management article

Have you found it difficult to work out how your bills have been calculated?

  • Are any of these easier to understand: your telephone bill or your gas and/or electricity bills?
  • What do you think could be done to improve things?

Contact U-GET Consultancy today, we’ll explain what we can do for you. Also, check our home energy comparison site.

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If you had a power cut, would you know who to contact?

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

How many of you would call your energy provider?

I bet the majority of people reading this article are probably saying to themself, ‘well of course I would call my provider…wouldn’t I’? Now the doubt has been sown in your mind, hasn’t it?

As you may have gathered, no you don’t call your energy supplier when you have a power cut.  Your network distributor is who you should contact.

Who? I hear you say. The distributors are responsible for maintaining and operating the network (all the cabling/piping and infrastructure). Your energy provider will be sourcing the energy for you, but they won’t necessarily be responsible for making sure it makes it to your home. With gas, there is a single operator and number that you contact. With electricity, the network distribution is broken up.

There are currently 14 distributors in the UK. Take a look at this link that shows the distributor map. The gas is quite straight forward to understand. To work out who your electricity distributor is, use the map and table that is directly beneath it.

So how does it work? As an example, if you live in London, simply locate this on the map, which we can see is number 12. Move along to the table, look up number 12 and we can see: that the distributor is EDF Energy Networks and you should contact 0800 028 0247.

It would be extremely useful to print this out and keep in a safe and easily accessible place, for reference when you do have a power cut. Energy Emergency Contacts download.

Are SMEs Adverse To Changing Energy Suppliers?

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Whilst the larger organisations are switched on to managing their energy costs and even improving upon their energy efficiency, by reducing their consumption levels, can the same be levelled at the sme market?

As many smaller businesses are owner-managed, they are responsible for many aspects of the business. Unfortunately, they see that renewal letter for their energy rate and set it to one side for a later date. The all too common mistake, as discussed in our ‘about us‘ section. The larger a business the more likely they are to have a department to deal with such matters.

There are options to them if they don’t wish to take on the responsibility themselves. Comparison websites will still require you to do the work. Many people will not know what details they should be entering, often using just their monthly direct debit figure. This doesn’t reflect their actual annual consumption, which will give greater accuracy.

Energy consultants/brokers will not only alleviate this burden from you and use their range of suppliers, they can also find out your annual consumption figure, thereby helping to provide a far more accurate reflection of your annual spend.

SMEs needn’t be adverse to changing suppliers, by simply farming out the responsibility to experts they can focus on other key aspects of their business that can generate revenue. Being pro-active and on top of all bills, not just the energy is critical.

When starting a business, or more precisely, a service, how does one engage with those potential clients?

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

In my industry, making contact with businesses is vital to generate custom. I have read articles, posts and discussions from people on various web platforms, about this very topic. However, is there that perfect way to engage people?

Is the only way for businesses to use your service, through meeting face-to-face or recommendation from someone that knows you? This seems to be the message that comes across. So all those nicely crafted marketing letters and the daunting follow-up calls, are simply a waste of my time?

I know that my service is required by all business with premises. And, that everyone wants to save money, essential in the current economic climate. So why are they reticent to read my letters, or speak with me? Why do we hear the receptionist say: “I’m sorry, Mr. Jones won’t be interested in this service” and this coming from an accountancy firm?

Amazement! An accountancy firm that isn’t interested in helping their new business start-ups or existing clients to save money. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry! Would we be anymore successful by actually rolling up at their office and asking to speak with the said accountant, face-to-face?

Obviously face-to-face communication is important, but surely business can be done without having this interaction. Ebay would be a fine example of this. Alright, so there are seller/buyer ratings, but this doesn’t always account for much, besides, we still buy from someone without having met them.

Perhaps it’s just me, I have a service that I believe in, I enjoy what I do helping people attain savings. Helping people resolve issues with their energy bills; meter changes, change of tenancy assistance, invoice assistance, capacity demand issues and energy assessments. All of which can be provided without having to meet the client, although I am happy to do so.

Are we all more savvy to the cold-caller these days? I can empathise when a cold-caller tries to get you to buy their product or service over the phone. However, when you are simply informing them about a service, asking if it maybe of benefit to them and to leave it with them to think about and possibly meet or call back, once they have had time to review it at their own leisure, is this a reason to not give you the time of day?

Whose loss is it? The cold-caller for not acquiring their custom, or them for dismissing this hard-working person from wanting to help them save money? Nowadays, is it all about networking and referrals rather than letters and telephone calls?

Put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

That’s correct, you read it right, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you. So why this title?

I was thinking about business and their reluctance, at times, to do certain tasks immediately, but instead, setting them aside for another day. It also made me ponder whether this attitude is in fact a national habit! Do other countries have this similar trait?

So what made me pose the question? Well, like many of us, I have spoken to businesses, waited on them to respond to me, waited for deliveries that never appear, workmen that don’t show on time yet think nothing to call, apologise and even re-schedule. No doubt we’ve all had these experiences. I’m just astounded though, that so many businesses can still be in operation with this level of customer apathy.

It has made me scrutinise my own area of work and the business that I provide. Being a service provider there can often be a reluctance to fully comprehend that sometimes, putting off until tomorrow may very well lead to higher costs and missed opportunities.

Take my own businessFree Business Energy Bill Review Service. We do exactly what it says on the tin. We’ll review your existing energy bill to make sure that you are paying the best (lowest) possible rates. We’ll even switch it for you, upon your say so. We do this free of charge and you don’t pay us a penny.

Perhaps it sounds too good to be true, I’m sure it does, however, wouldn’t it be worth using this service to find out whether or not you can in fact reduce your rates and consequently save your business £££’s? And, if you do put off until tomorrow, you may find the energy rates have just gone up – a missed opportunity!

Now what business doesn’t want to save money, especially in these economic times?

How about the example that I saved one business over £20,000!

Yes, by not being on a contract they were paying over 40% more than they should have been.

Another company was saved £3,000, again, due to not being in a contract and consequently paying higher ‘out-of-contract’ rates.

This brings me back to my original question: Why do businesses put off until tomorrow, what they could do today?

Can they ever change? Is it just the SME market that has this attitude or also the larger organisations?

Just another sales call?

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

We all turn our noses up when we get that cold-call from a sales rep trying their damndest to sell us their product/service. At the end of the day, they are simply carving out a career and a living to-boot.

Most businesses need sales, to enhance their own service and/or product, so why do we all dismiss their approach. Could we not afford them the courteousy to at least listen to what they are offering? Not all sales calls are for a product you’ll never use. You just never know, if that call which you put the phone down on, could in fact have lost you a great opportunity or even savings.

I mentioned that most businesses require sales. Think about it for a second! A local high street shop sells a brand new, great product. They can self-promote it – which will cost them. How about customers referring and recommending it to their friends. This is networking, or ‘sales’ if you like. Without it, you wouldn’t be gaining new customers, getting that extra income.

So as you see, sales is needed by all businesses. Returning to the cold-call sales, by hanging-up on these people, could you have just lost a lot of money? Yes, it’s fair to say that certain sales calls want to sell you something that you have, or will never have a need for. Others will want to sell you a better service or product than your existing one, whilst some will want you to use their service and not even charge you for it!

My business (U-GET), fits into this last category, however, to the potential client all they hear is ‘sales’. What does he want me to buy from him? How much will it cost me? I get so many of these calls a week and they’re all the same.

Wrong!

If they took the time to listen with an openmind, they would realise that potentially, I could save them £££’s and that to investigate this I wouldn’t charge them a penny. On top of this, it’s a no-obligation service, so even by presenting them with our findings, they do not have to proceed with it.

So I ask you, can I therefore be classed as a sales person, when in fact my client won’t be charged?

How can I stand out from the ‘typically percieved’ sales person.

  • I’m not costing you a penny
  • I am saving you valuable time
  • I’m auditing your energy bills to understand your current situation (which many have no idea about)
  • I am then attaining new rates and hopefully, savings.

All-in-all, surely it’s a ‘Win-Win’ scenario.

How U-GET can save your business £££’s

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Following on from my last post: “I love spending money on my Energy Bills!” I wanted to back it up with case studies.

It is surprising, even today, when we are bombarded with adverts about comparing this, that and the other (including Meerkats), that some businesses still don’t search out the best deals, quotes, rates etc for whatever service they are seeking at that particular time.

Nowadays, there appears to be very little reward for loyalty. The only rewards out there, seem to be for new customers! That being the case, then it really does ‘pay’ to shop around. As I referred to in the previous blog, there are reasons as to why people don’t do this. For me, my job is to help people attain these savings, through a direct, independent and impartial service from the various energy companies.

At U-GET we work for you, building a trusting relationship and allowing you to concentrate on your key business requirements, whilst we aim to cut your costs.

One property management company saved over £3000, through the utilisation of our service. How was this achieved? Well, they weren’t in a contract and by not being in one, were subject to ‘deemed rates’, which are normally far more than fixed contract rates. By moving them onto a contract, we attained these savings for them. This level of savings, wasn’t even for a particularly high level of consumption, either!

Another example has seen a saving in the 10′s of thousands of £’s. Again, simply due to the client being on an ‘out-of-contract’ tariff.

What many people do not realise, is that when you receive your renewal letter (often 3-4 months before the end date/renewal date), you only have a certain amount of time (as indicated on that letter from your supplier) by which you need to let your supplier know whether you will remain with them or move away.

‘Forget to notify them by this date and they will lock you into the tariff for the time & rate that they specify

At U-GET, we take care of this, preventing you from falling into this ‘trap’.

You need to act promptly to your renewal letter, or if you wish, contact us at U-GET and we can find out your renewal & termination dates, note them and respond to them accordingly.

You’ll not have to worry about getting caught in that trap and yet, have the peace of mind, knowing that U-GET will be working for you, to achieve the lowest rates possible for your business.

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