Thursday, November 21, 2013

Conservice Saves Client $158,000

With the holiday season approaching, many consumers are hoping to save money and find a good bargain. In fact, many get a thrill out of finding the best price on each item on their shopping list. From couponing and searching Black Friday ads to scouring the web for sales, shoppers feel a sense of great satisfaction when they find an amazing deal on an item they really need or want.

At Conservice, we also love saving money. Specifically, we love finding new savings for our clients, whether it be through utility billing, invoice and rate auditing, or sustainability recommendations. Our audit team gets especially excited when they detect a provider error or billing anomaly that results in significant savings for one of our clients.  The team was thrilled when they detected a provider error at a Campus Apartments community last month and were able to secure a large credit on the community's account after working with the utility provider.

Peter Arbes of Campus Apartments was thrilled, too. "Conservice continues to invest their time in our partnership!  Recently, Conservice identified a provider error affecting one of our student housing properties. Their team worked diligently with the utility provider until the error was corrected and the money was credited to our account. Because of their attention-to-detail and hard work, we are receiving a $158,000 credit, in addition to lower bills going forward. It gives me peace of mind knowing our utility management partner cares about us and goes above and beyond to save us money." he said, when asked about the finding.

We're pretty lucky at Conservice - we find thrilling savings for our clients all the time. And we don't even have to go Black Friday shopping.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Are you maximizing your utility expense recovery?

When communities come onto the Conservice utility billing program, we provide a detailed audit of their community and make recommendations that maximize recovery. Here are a few areas where property owners can generally improve recovery.

Find the right common area deduction (CAD)

A common area deduction, or CAD, is a portion of your utility expense that is not being billed out to residents to account for common areas (such as sprinklers) and is applicable for RUBS billing. You could be losing out on significant utility recover if your CAD is too high. Depending on the location of the community, there may be regulations that stipulate what you can and cannot bill to residents. In many cases, though, common area deductions can be reduced to increase recovery.

Ensure community is on an optimal rate schedule

Sometimes communities are placed on the incorrect rate schedule with the utility provider. If a community is being billed at commercial vs. multi-family rates, for example, they could be overpaying by thousands each year.

Install water sub-meters

If you haven't already, consider installing sub-meters to bill residents for their exact utility consumption. WIth metering, there is no guess work and residents are generally more satisfied with their billing program. Though there is an initial investment, the increase in property value and the more accurate billing can quickly make that investment worth your while.

Identify and bill vacant theft

By identifying occupied apartments that are consuming utilities under your community's name, and then billing those residents and including a significant penalty fee, you're not only recouping an otherwise lost cost, but you're motivating residents to put utilities into their name in the first place.

Ask a Conservice expert

Conservice provides all these tools, and more, to help property owners reach their maximum utility recovery potential. Contact Conservice to find out how you can reduce utility expenses and improve your bottom line.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Leave Utility Management to the Experts

by Tracy Welker

Managing a property can be hard work! That is why Conservice is here to help.

Property Managers Have Enough on Their Plates

Property managers and management companies have a lot on their plates, from signing new leases to helping their residents.  Oftentimes it can be difficult to also find time for the smaller but equally important details.  The SyNERGY department at Conservice is here to help alleviate that stress. By allowing Conservice to manage an apartment community’s utilities, property owners can save time, energy, and money.

Outsourced Invoice Processing Saves Time

Property owners receive a lot of bills and invoices, especially for utilities, and this can be overwhelming.  SyNERGY clients enjoy the time-saving benefits of having Conservice process their utility bills. The SyNERGY team handles the whole process from receipt to payment, and audits each utility bill for anomalies and inconsistencies.  Instead of spending hours logging bill data into spreadsheets to gather information for budgeting, bill auditing, and expense analysis, property managers can focus on their core competencies.

With Conservice, Outsourced Invoice Processing Saves Money

As an added bonus, the team at Conservice detects and resolves errors on utility provider’s bills, saving clients thousands of dollars. By using state-of-the-art software that is designed in-house to scientifically monitor the fluctuations of bills, many bill errors are detected.  After an anomaly or inconsistency is found, the audit team works tirelessly with the utility provider to resolve the issue and get the client’s money back in their pockets.

Utility Theft is Problem

Another issue property managers have to deal with, sadly, is utility theft. This oftentimes occurs when a resident fails to take responsibility for the utility service they are required to pay according to the terms in their lease.  When a resident fails to establish utility service, even for a few days, the utility provider sends the bill to the apartment community or management company. 

With Conservice, Detect and Recover Utility Theft

SyNERGY helps clients retain the money they could be losing through utility theft by auditing any bills received for units or spaces that are resident-occupied. When a bill for an occupied apartment is found, SyNERGY will bill that total back to the resident, as well as a service fee based on the terms of the resident’s contract. 

Solutions That Work For You

The team at Conservice takes pride in being accurate and tailoring each service to meet each individual client’s specific and unique needs. With numerous quality-check points throughout the Conservice processes, timeliness and accuracy is guaranteed.

To begin saving time, money, and frustration, contact Conservice and learn about the SyNERGY utility management program. Email today!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Conservice Controls: The SOC 1 Report

With any successful partnership, there is an element of trust that must be obtained in order for that partnership to last. That is why at Conservice, we have developed our business model and infrastructure to meet the high standards demanded of a service organization. On a regular basis, Conservice brings in a professional auditor to ensure all our business practices are in compliance with the SOC 1, an important auditing report.

SOC stands for Service Organization Controls and is a recognized auditing standard throughout the country. The SOC report is generated by providing a group of controls and then testing the company’s services against them, especially regarding financial statements.

The audit tests many different processes performed by Conservice, such as how securely we transmits data to and from our clients.  Many of the company’s financial dealings with clients, such as how Conservice collects utility billing payments, bills residents, and settles with customers, are also tested to ensure all practices are legal and ethical. The SOC 1 report is designed to keep our clients safe from any changes that could occur without their knowledge, and to offer them peace of mind.

How are Conservice clients affected by this audit? Clients may be asked for additional written documentation when a verbal request is made.  If a contract change takes place, written documentation is important so the audit can be completed accurately.. For example, a client may ask Conservice to lower the trash rate that residents are paying on their utility statements. Written documentation of this change is needed and should be kept by all parties. The documentation should be from the appropriate client representative and include when and why the change happened. Now, when the auditor comes across the contract change, he or she can see when and why the change occurred.

At Conservice, our goal is to satisfy our clients and earn their trust. The SOC 1 report helps us reach that goal. By allowing trusted auditors and accountants to verify that Conservice is compliant with all business practices and standards, we offer peace of mind to all those who do business with us.