Utilities for Student Housing: Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Learn common mistakes made when managing utilities for students, and how student housing communities can best automate & streamline utility management processes.
Managing utilities for students comes with its unique set of challenges. From allocating utility costs amongst residents, to ensuring efficient usage of resources, to adequately tracking utility expenses, there are many mistakes that can occur. These mistakes can result in increased costs, billing disputes, and dissatisfied residents.
However, with the right approach and solutions, these challenges can be easily addressed and avoided. Effective utility management is crucial for student housing communities to control costs, promote sustainable energy usage, and ensure fair allocation of expenses.
Keep reading to discover the most common utility mistakes made in student housing, the importance of utility management, and how submetering, utility billing, and expense management services can benefit student housing communities.
The most common mistakes made when managing utilities for students
Challenge #1: Incorrect allocation of utilities for students
Many student housing communities divide utility expenses evenly among all residents, regardless of their actual usage. This can result in unfair utility charges, as some residents may consume more resources than others.
Effective utility management helps in controlling costs. By accurately tracking utility expenses and fairly allocating costs based on individual usage, student housing communities can avoid overpaying for utilities and ensure that residents are responsible for their own consumption.
Challenge #2: Inefficient energy usage
Residents may leave lights or appliances on when not in use, resulting in wasted energy and higher utility bills. But student housing communities with effective utility management can help promote sustainable energy usage and conservation.
By implementing measures such as submetering and utility billing services, residents become aware of their individual energy usage and are encouraged to use resources more responsibly, leading to reduced energy waste.
Challenge #3: Inadequate management of utility expenses for students
Receiving and paying hundreds of utility bills at a student housing property is not without its challenges. Inadequate tracking of these invoices can lead to inaccuracies and late fees, causing frustration.
Automated utility expense management ensures accuracy, on-time payments, and less stress on your team.
See how Zego's utility management services for student housing makes a difference
Zego’s student housing utility management software helps you boost recovery rates, improve accuracy, and gain visibility into portfolio-wide performance. By offloading the utility management burden, your staff can focus on what matters most for your business.
The importance of managing utilities for student housing
Effective utility management is essential for student housing communities for several reasons. With the emergence of utility automation, student housing communities are gladly handing off a few of the necessary evils involved in these processes to the experts.
Overview of utility services for student housing
There are various types of utility services available for student housing communities. These services are designed to help streamline the management of utilities for students and ensure accurate tracking and allocation of costs. Some of the common utility services for student housing include:
- Student Housing Utility Billing: Allocating utilities for students is complicated, and each community is different. Utility billing services involve tracking utility expenses, allocating costs among student residents, and generating accurate bills based on individual usage. These services automate the billing process and ensure fair and transparent allocation of expenses, reducing disputes and easing the burden on your teams. There are two primary methods that companies use to determine resident’s monthly utility usage:
- Submetering: Submetering involves installing individual meters in each unit, allowing for accurate measurement of energy consumption by each resident. This enables precise tracking of individual usage, ensuring that each resident pays for their actual consumption and promoting responsible energy usage.
- RUBS: RUBS stands for Ratio Utility Billing System, and is a cost-effective and fair alternative to submeters. RUBS is a popular utility management solution, and essentially divides the bill among your residents based on certain criteria such as number of student occupants, square footage, or a combination of the two. Different utility types can often influence the type of RUBS formula a property uses.
- Utility Expense Management: Utility Expense Management for student housing streamlines the utility AP process and removes the entire burden of utility AP from your team. The provider will receive your property’s utility bills on your behalf, carefully audit them for accuracy, and pay the accurate charges on time. Best-in-class providers also track energy consumption, identify areas of inefficiency, and provide insights and recommendations for optimizing energy usage and reducing costs.
- Utility Intelligence: With Utility Intelligence, you gain access to valuable insights regarding your properties’ utility usage, recoupment rates, and portfolio trends. A best-in-class provider will offer you detailed reports and a user-friendly dashboard, empowering you to make data-driven decisions that enhance your portfolio management.
Importance of selecting the right services for managing student housing utilities
Selecting the right provider is crucial to ensure effective management of utilities for students to avoid common mistakes. It is important to choose a reputable and experienced service provider that offers reliable and accurate tracking and billing processes. Your selected service provider should also provide excellent customer service and support to address any issues or concerns that may arise. In addition, they should be able to provide you with valuable insights that you can use to improve operations.
How submetering and utility billing services benefit student housing communities
Benefits of submetering and utility billing services for student housing
Because effective utility management helps student housing communities with accurate billing, fair allocation of costs, and streamlined utility AP, this can in turn lead to increased resident satisfaction. Student housing communities with effective utility management practices can benefit from improved retention rates and a positive living experience for students.
Factors to consider when selecting a submetering, utility billing, and expense management provider for student housing
To achieve success, it’s essential to select the right utility management service for your community. There are various types of managing utility services, including submetering, utility billing, and expense management, which can greatly benefit student housing communities.
Use the following criteria to carefully select the right utility management provider for your student housing community:
- Is this a reputable and experienced service provider that offers reliable and accurate tracking and billing processes?
- Do they generate convergent bills for your students that include both detailed housing and utility fees to make payments easier?
- Do they offer e-billing to encourage students to receive and pay statements online?
- Do they provide an automated mass-move-out calculator that calculates final utility charges for a group of students, posts to your ledger, and generates the bill on your behalf?
- Will they thoroughly audit your utility bills and resolve exceptions on your behalf?
- Do they provide vacant cost recovery (VCR) functionality that automatically brings together unit occupancy and utility bill data to help recoup vacant utility expenses?
- Do they provide excellent customer service and support to address any issues or concerns that may arise?
- Are they able to provide you with valuable insights that you can use to improve operations?
Choose wisely. The right utility partner can streamline your utility management processes, reduce costs, promote responsible energy usage, and help you make informed business decisions.
How to maximize the efficiency of your student housing utility program
To maximize the efficiency of your student housing utility program, you should actively collaborate with your utility management provider. By working together, you can ensure the achievement of maximum results in key areas such as improved energy efficiency, better allocation of utility costs, and enhanced resident satisfaction.
Improved energy efficiency
Partner with your utility management service provider to implement energy-efficient practices throughout your student housing community. This can involve conducting energy audits, identifying areas of energy waste, and implementing solutions such as LED lighting, programmable thermostats, and energy-saving appliances.
By promoting energy-conscious behavior among residents and continuously monitoring energy usage, you can make significant strides in improving energy efficiency, ultimately reducing utility consumption and costs for both the community and your residents.
Better allocation of utility costs
Work closely with your utility management provider to ensure accurate and fair allocation of utilities for students. Through submetering and utility billing services, individual residents can be billed based on their actual usage, rather than a flat rate. This promotes transparency and fairness in cost allocation, preventing any discrepancies or disputes among residents.
Collaborate with your utility billing provider to establish clear guidelines and policies regarding utility cost allocation, ensuring that each resident pays their fair share and creating a sense of equity within your student housing community.
Enhanced resident satisfaction
Maintain open lines of communication with your utility management provider to address any concerns or issues promptly. Regular meetings, performance reviews, and feedback sessions can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that your utility management program aligns with the specific needs and preferences of your community.
By actively addressing resident feedback and implementing necessary changes, you can significantly enhance resident satisfaction, creating a positive living experience and fostering a sense of community.
Learn more about Zego’s Utility Management solutions for student housing
Zego’s student housing utility management solution helps you maximize utility cost recovery, improve accuracy, and gain visibility into portfolio-wide performance. By offloading the utility management burden, your staff can focus on what matters most for your business. Learn more about solutions for utilities for student housing.