Four Interview Questions You Should Ask Utility Billing Providers But Aren’t
If your properties are new to resident utility billing, then the task of finding the right vendor may seem a little overwhelming. To help you do your homework, here are a few important questions you should ask to evaluate each potential vendor’s expertise.
Will I have to change my lease addendums to reflect our new billing program?
If your property does not have a billing program currently in place, then lease modifications will need to be made and then charges can be assessed on new move-ins and renewals. If there is already language speaking to the residents being able to be billed back for utilities, then typically only 30 days’ notice is required. Ask each provider you interview if they will help guide you making lease modifications.
What kind of integration do you offer with my current software provider?
A good integration with your property management software is a necessity so that you can view accurate data in real time. However, if the vendor does not currently offer an integration with your property management software, it ‘s not necessarily a deal breaker. Inquire if they are willing to build custom web services, and if they have done so with other clients.
Is your system SSAE 16 audited and SOC compliant?
It’s critical the provider has the proper security certifications to protect not only your resident’s info, but your business too. Ask specifically if they have SSAE 16 and SOC1 Type 2 certifications as these are the highest levels of compliance for utility billing providers.
Do you have membership to regulatory boards such as the UMCA (Utility Management Conservation Association)?
Participating in regulatory boards is a good sign that that the billing provider is up to date on industry on best practices and regulations relative to utility cost recovery. Ideally, the provider should be active in both large national organizations and regional regulatory boards.
These are just some of the things you should think about when interviewing resident utility billing providers. For a longer list of questions to ask, click here.