Our support for businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic
During these difficult trading times, we want to offer help, advice and guidance to those that may need it. Whilst the lucky few will be experiencing a boom where their resources are required to help manufacture vital products to support the NHS and in some instances house key workers, many businesses are temporarily closed. Regardless of your circumstances, in these uncertain times, controlling costs will be paramount.
BCR Associates specialise in cost management, with specific expertise in the Energy, Telecommunications and Insurance market. The below offering should help you to navigate your contracts and billing issues at this challenging time:
General cost overview
- We can help you to review any contracts you have signed and advise on where you stand with them, reviewing payment terms, contract terms & conditions and highlighting any risks
- For those businesses temporarily shutting their doors or seeing a reduction in business, you will naturally want to keep a tight rein on costs. We have had a number of calls in the past week requesting a payment break for energy invoices or wanting to cancel direct debits. Our recommendation is not to cancel direct debits as this may impact long-term credit rating, but should you need help with arranging a payment break with your supplier, please get in touch and we will see what we can do to help.
- There may be Terms and Conditions written into contracts that may cause problems down the line, the most common is Volume Tolerance. This means that you have agreed on a set amount of energy usage over a given period. If your site(s) is now closed, you may be using under the agreed amount and suppliers may charge for this. We can review terms and conditions and check whether you have a volume tolerance clause in your contract.
- We recommend businesses submit meter reads regularly (and online if possible) so that suppliers will not be able to charge based on estimates. You should be aware that if your business is closed and not consuming energy you should only be paying a standing charge (with the exception of volume tolerance contracts).
- If your business is really struggling and there is no other option, we can also help you to arrange a payment plan.
- We have close links with our supplier network and can offer updates on how the suppliers are coping with this unprecedented situation. It’s important to note that we are already experiencing supplier restrictions, e.g. they are only pricing on shorter contract lengths, and some have in place restrictions based on industry sector, therefore if you have renewals due, it may be a good idea to lock them in as soon as possible.
- Forward planning will, understandably, not be top of mind right now but if you do have contract renewals due, we are advising clients not to leave these to rollover. Out of contract rates are more expensive so it’s important to tender, negotiate and renew these contracts as per usual to keep costs as low as possible. Please bear in mind that if you choose a new supplier for your next contract, you will need to make sure that you adhere to the terms and conditions and terminate the existing contract. WE can help with this should you need it.
- For those seeing an increase in productivity, it’s important to look at whether you have volume tolerance written into your contract. If you go over the agreed figure, you may be charged for any overage. Here it is key for businesses to monitor their consumption and keep an eye on any excess – our data monitoring and reporting tools can help with this.
- If you have a large energy meter and need to shut down parts of a warehouse/ factory for example, we can put in place a data report to inform on how much per day costs will be. If this is of interest to you, we are offering all businesses who have Half Hourly (HH) meters, a heavily discounted daily energy cost reporting service (at £62 per HH meter per annum). This should mean that you won’t have any nasty surprises in your bill in a few months’ time as you will have been able to spot over-usage at closed facilities. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.
- We can provide guidance for businesses working from home, based on our own experience of business continuity and disaster recovery. We can provide advice on VPN access, laptops, mobiles, data packages, hosted telephony solutions and staff home broadband etc.
- Keeping costs down with increased demand on your company's telecoms systems can be challenging. We can provide advice on how mobiles and data sim packages can help. To keep costs low, we’re recommending to our clients that they don’t spend money on new handsets at the moment but just use data sims. We’re also a big advocate of mobiles in the current environment as they help significantly with remote working. Not only do you not require a landline but they deliver additional data that can be accessed by your household to bolster home broadband or as a dedicated internet connection for working hours.
For guidance on how to fix the connectivity issues that you might be experiencing, Heather, our Head of Client Support has put together some tips to help you resolve the issues.
For further advice on how mobiles and data could help you be more efficient when working from home see here.
- Even though many business premises are currently closed, valid and fit for purpose insurance will still be a business requirement. If you do have an insurance renewal due at this time but are struggling with the cost, we can help you to spread costs over monthly payments if needed. If you would like some impartial insurance recommendations, please get in touch and we can do whatever we can you help.
We'd like to help in any way we can so please get in touch to discuss any spend related queries you may have. Our contact details are: 03330 433 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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