Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Annual Conservice Food Drive

Opportunity
In addition to our year-round Conservice Cares activities, Conservice provides extra opportunities for employees to give back to our local community during the holiday season.  Our annual food drive for the Cache Community Food Pantry is one such opportunity. Every November, Conservice employees combine the spirit of giving with the spirit of competition to achieve one goal: Combat hunger in our community.

Teamwork
Two weeks ago, Conservice employees could be observed bringing in boxes of food and signing up to donate money toward the purchase of turkeys. Each time we received an email updating us on which teams were ahead in donation points, team members plotted within their respective departments to revise their strategies on how to donate more food items than the other departments.

Creativity
Based on the donation guidelines and suggestions that we were given, some of us found ourselves inspired to “think outside the can” and find food items beyond the realm of the cliché canned vegetables. For my donation items, I tried to pick out things that I know my family would like to eat. I also tried to include a few treats in addition to nutritional items. We could even donate non-food items such as shampoo, toilet paper, etc.  

Pay-Off
Our sense of charity and competition yielded fantastic results. In addition to the many boxes of items that were brought in, we were able use the money we donated to give 150 turkeys plus some extra food to the Cache Community Food Pantry.

Does Your Utility Partner Proactively Bring Resolutions to You?


At Conservice, we've been resolving utility billing issues for our clients since we began our SyNERGY Utility Management program over five years ago. Our SyNERGY Audit team of 25 employees diligently identifies and resolves provider errors and billing anomalies. The team works closely with the utility provider until there is a resolution, which often results in a refund from the provider for our clients. Just in the last month, the team successfully procured over $200,000 in refunds.

The SyNERGY Audit team recently uncovered an issue for a client that resulted in a $175,000 refund for the management company. In the past, the management company believed the local utility provider was over-billing four of their Louisiana communities because the water consumption on their bills was much larger than their other communities of a similar size. The utility provider was never able to solve the problem.

Now that the management company is a SyNERGY partner, SyNERGY Audit looked into the issue. After several discussions with the utility company, our team was able to solve the problem. The dial on the meters was a different sweep than the unit of measurement in the utility company’s computer system, which resulted in overcharging the communities each month. After the SyNERGY Audit team spoke with the financial director at the utility company, they agreed to issue refunds to the management company. Checks for the refund were sent to the management company several days ago.

In Maryland, one of our clients was concerned because they knew the water authority had been estimating their community’s meter reads for years. These inaccurate water charges also resulted in an inaccurate sewer bill, because the sewer charges are based off of the water consumption at the community. Conservice was able to complete an appeal for the community and that will result in a substantial reimbursement. Our SyNERGY Audit team, paired with our regulatory support, is always willing to issue appeals with utility providers on behalf of our clients.

Each month, the SyNERGY Audit team identifies dozens of billing anomalies. Just this month, the team identified a community that was being overbilled $26,000 by the utility provider. The provider issued a credit once Conservice brought the issue to their attention. SyNERGY processed another bill that normally was close to $5,000 each month, but this month totaled over $37,000. Conservice contacted the utility provider, who had incorrectly estimated the meter reads. An adjustment of -$31,000 was made on the account.

The SyNERGY Audit team is skilled at identifying leaks, rate changes, provider bill misprints, inconsistent utility usage, and much more. After quick identification, the team fights for our clients until resolution. The recent examples mentioned are only a small handful of the hundreds of resolutions we’ve made for our clients, and the team at Conservice looks forward to saving our clients even more in the future.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Introducing Vendor Management, New Tool Within CONTROL Solution


For over three years, property owners across the United States have been adding CONTROL to their Conservice Utility Management package. CONTROL was designed to help property owners manage their contracts and monitor their ancillary programs such as utilities, cable, laundry, landscaping, etc. Clients have been asking for an expansion of services, and we’ve been listening. Now CONTROL extends beyond contract management to vendor credentialing, providing even more tools to help management companies stay in control of their ancillary and utility services.

vendor credentialing by control






With Vendor Management, Conservice manages vendors’ Certificates of Insurance, including general liability insurance and workers comp insurance, to ensure vendors are compliant with each community’s standard of business.  Certificate expiration dates are tracked and monitored to ensure compliance at all times. Conservice ensures background checks are being done by the vendor on its employees. Properties can have confidence any vendor that comes on site has completed a background check and is qualified to perform the work necessary to get the job done.  Coverage and contract language is also verified to ensure it meets our client’s compliance standards.

Crucial vendor information is available to our Vendor Management clients on our secure website, providing them with up-to-date information about their vendors. OFAC background check documentation, W-9 certificates, and other certificates of insurance are stored online for easy view as needed by clients.

Verifying a vendor’s performance abilities and overall background is becoming increasingly important. “With our Vendor Management solution, clients benefit because they can be sure they are selecting vendors that are trustworthy and reliable,” said Mike Heap, Director of Control. “Vendors love the program because we work with them directly instead of forcing them to work through a complicated web portal, which saves them time and frustration. This solution is a win-win for our clients and their vendors, and we expect to see a number of management companies and property owners adding this service in the near future.”

For more information about Vendor Management, please contact Mike Heap at 435-713-2156 or mheap@conservice.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Press Release: Conservice Receives 2012 Sustainable Business Award


Logan, UT – November 20, 2012 – Conservice has been recognized by Utah Business magazine for its new, sustainable building as part of the 2012 Sustainable Business Awards.  A luncheon and program was held on November 15, 2012 to honor companies and organizations for their sustainability efforts. Both Conservice and Adobe have been awarded for the category of “Sustainable Building.”  Twelve other businesses and organizations have been awarded for their  m sustainability efforts in other categories ranging from “Social Impact” to “Air Quality.”

Conservice is being awarded primarily for the sustainable features of its new office building in Logan, Utah which opened in February of this year. Solar panels line the roof of the new building and provide heating and hot water inside. High efficiency lighting is used in the building and the bulbs are expected to last 15 to 20 years before needing to be replaced. Sunshades combined with strategic architecture minimize summertime sun impact.

The new building also uses geo thermal cooling, which Conservice believes is the building’s the most innovative feature. The building’s proximity to the Logan River allows Conservice to tap into the underground cold water supply to efficiently cool the building during the warner months of the year. This has allowed Conservice to cool the building exclusively with the geo thermal cooling system, avoiding costly traditional air conditioning. This was especially significant because 2012 marked one of the hottest summers on record in Utah.

Dave Jenkins, President and CEO of Conservice, believes it was important for Conservice to build a sustainable building. “We’ve been in the utility management business for over a decade, and it’s important for us to show through our actions the importance of conservation.” Conservice often describes conservation as a key component to the company’s business model, so it’s important for clients, partners, and the community to know the value the company places in sustainability.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't Forget About Conservice FAQ

Our Frequently Asked Questions section addresses common questions residents, property managers, and owners sometimes have about Conservice. If you ever have any suggestions for the FAQ section on our blog, just leave us a comment!

Our latest FAQ post is about our SyNERGY Audit service. Did you know we audit each and every utility bill we process for our clients? If we find a problem on the bill, we not only notify the community, but we work with the utility provider to make sure the problem is brought to resolution. CLICK HERE to check out the post.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Looking to Lower Your Water Costs?



The average American uses about 100 gallons of water per day.  If you are a rental property owner, you may wonder if there is much you can do to help your residents be more efficient with their water usage. Taking a closer look at your toilets can actually help you conserve water which will save you money. 

Toilets that were produced after 1993 are low-flow toilets so if you have an older toilet model in your apartment homes, it may be worth the investment of installing a newer toilets.  All toilets sold now must use 1.6 gallons of water per flush, so depending on the type of toilet currently in use, (3.5, 5, or 7 gallon per flush) you could be saving up to 20 gallons of water per day by replacing.

Fixing toilet leaks can also really add up the savings. A trick for determining whether a toilet has a leak or not is by adding just a few drops of food coloring to the tank. After waiting about 20 minutes, you will see color appear in the bowl if the toilet has a leak. To fix this, simply replace the toilet flapper. These generally run around $10 and, just by doing this you can save up to 400 gallons of water per month.

One other old-school toilet technique is to displace water by putting a plastic bottle or bag in your toilet tank filled with some pebbles or water to give it some weight. This will allow you to use less water when flushing and save up to 10 more gallons a day.

By giving some extra attention to your toilets, you could save up to over 1300 gallons of water each month which is going to benefit both the environment and your wallet.

Other ways to help save on water include replacing high flow shower heads with water efficient ones, installing clean faucet aerators and fixing leaky faucets.  In most cases, residents won’t see any difference in performance but you will surely see a difference in water costs. 

Press Release: Conservice Welcomes Georgina Bockel: National Sales Manager Northwest


Logan, UT – November 14, 2012 | Conservice is excited to announce the addition of Georgina Bockel to the Conservice sales team. Georgina’s multifamily experience and relationships with many property management companies in the northwest make her a great asset to Conservice.

Georgina began working in the multifamily industry six years ago as a regional sales executive for RentGrow, a resident screening company that provides apartment owners with online resident screening tools to manage risk and maintain safe communities. Georgina was instrumental in leading the western region of the United Sates in resident screening, working especially closely with affordable housing. When RentGrow was acquired by Yardi in 2010, Georgina continued to excel in her role as a western sales executive under the Yardi brand. Yardi recognized Georgina as the company’s MVP of Ancillary Product in 2011.

Georgina has a talent for building and maintaining great relationships with customers, which has led to her success in the multifamily industry. Her experience and knowledge of the multifamily industry will allow her to positively impact Conservice.

Georgina graduated from McGill University in Quebec, Canada with a degree in marketing and communications. She is also a member of a number of multifamily associations and organizations throughout the western United States.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Huntsman Conservice Day

The Jon. M. Huntstman School of Business provided us with an excellent opportunity yesterday to meet with students and let them know what it is like working at Conservice. Team members came to the business building throughout the day to meet and greet students in the hall and make announcements about Conservice. Some employees even guest lectured classes related to their careers at Conservice.

In the afternoon, Dave Jenkins, CEO of Conservice, spoke to students at an information meeting on the 9th floor in the business building. We had a great turnout, and students asked a lot of great questions. We even took in a handful of resumes from students during the day.

The Business Council was very helpful in the setup of the event, hanging up posters, signs and banners throughout the business building. They also sent out reminder texts and emails to business students to let them know about our information meeting. We were very happy to have the opportunity to let the students at USU learn more about our company and the great opportunities to start a career in Cache Valley at Conservice.







Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ENERGyZE: Innovation for the Ages - Utility Management through Ownership of a Utility Company


Across the country, there has been a trend towards opening up utility markets through deregulation to allow private companies to market and sell utilities in those regions.  The most common utility marketed is electricity and the biggest market for deregulated electricity is in Texas.

ILUMINAR ENERGY JOINS CONSERVICE AND ENERGyZE IS BORN

As Conservice grew, we began to see opportunities to improve our ability to serve by either starting or buying a utility company in deregulated areas.  In 2011, Conservice purchased a retail electric provider in Texas, Iluminar Energy, with the intent of providing utility services unavailable with any other provider.

The key new service developed by Conservice is ENERGyZE, a patent pending process which mixes utility billing, management, and electric sales.  The concept is simple: Let the apartment community negotiate a bundled rate at a competitive rate, allow residents to opt to use that competitive rate, and reduce the expense paid toward meter fees, move-in fees, and the hassle of dealing with the retail electric market.

RESIDENT CONVENIENCE

The greatest benefits to the resident are the convenience factors, which specifically include:

An electric provider that is already vetted by the community
Sign up for service that happens when signing the lease
All Conservice charges on a single bill
No additional credit check
No need to call to setup service

OWNER CONVENIENCE

Benefits to the owners and managers of apartment communities include:

Conservice staff dedicated to provide real-time solutions to any issue
Reduced utility expense
Service customized to multi-family dwellings

One community manager also found it is a major selling point to bring residents into her community.  She said, “I love being able to present this to potential residents. Sometimes electricity takes a while to set up and I love seeing the relief residents have when I tell them that we can take care of it.”

In its first year, numerous communities, owners, and residents benefited from the ease and convenience of the ENERGyZE program.  At Conservice, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the newest and most innovative product offerings available in our industry and ENERGyZE is just one of the latest examples of that innovation.