Ask any business owner what headaches they have and the same one will crop up time and time again, procurement. Stationery, utilities, waste management, telecommunications, they get inundated with telephone calls and emails from companies offering the best deal or the latest fixed price on their utility bills, but how do you know who to trust? You could do it yourself but who wants the hassle of ringing around various suppliers to shave a couple of pence off your bill, when your inbox is already out of control.
This is where a business energy consultancy can come in handy. But how do you know who to trust? Here we outline the key questions to ask to single out those who have you best interests as heart.
- Transparent – To stop you being stung by a bill you weren’t expecting to pay after the deal is done, the consultant should always be transparent about pricing. According to Peter from ECA Group Ltd “This should be done by either fixed fee contracts or commission based and this should always be agreed before the service continues, to stop the amount or the type of income being generated by the consultant swaying the supplier they recommend.” Ask to see the SLA (service level agreement) which explains what it is they are offering, over what period of time and the costs involved.
- Across The Market Tenders – You should always request a full market tender being instigated. This will stop consultants just picking their favourite suppliers. This is your contract and the consultant should be looking out for your needs, whether that’s cost, accuracy of billing, competitiveness or customer focus, not keeping their own suppler list happy.
- Formal Contract – They should always have the proper authorisation from you to carry out the consultancy, backed up by a formal contract.
- Co-Operate – They should work hard to get you the best deal according to your needs. They should treat your money as if it was their own. This means giving time to getting to know your business and your energy needs and then coming up with a plan to increase energy efficiencies.
- Qualifications – Are they qualified to handle your contract? Who have they worked for? Do they have the relevant qualifications? Do they have testimonials you can follow up on?
- Be Wary Of Free Or The Supplier Pays OurBill – Nothing is free in life and you will often find their fee tucked into an agreement. The supplier pays our bill consultants will not be a full market energy consultancy but will more likely be sales agents for a few suppliers.
- Dedicated Account Manager – It isn’t just a case of finding you the best deal, paying the fee and walking away, the transference away from your current supplier needs to be handled from start to finish. They should be on hand to answer any questions you have regarding your contract. They should develop a relationship with you and know your business and your contract inside out.