If you own or manage a property, you’re always looking for tricks and tips that simplify building operations while providing a better experience for residents. You might have already heard of RUBS utility billing. But what is it, and is it right for your property?
In this post, we’ll cover what RUBS utility billing is and how it works. Then, we’ll help you decide if RUBS is right for your property and help you find the best way to administer RUBS utility billing.
This post covers:
- What is RUBS utility billing?
- How does RUBS utility billing work?
- Is RUBS right for your property?
- Technology that will help you with RUBS
What is RUBS utility billing?
RUBS stands for ‘Ratio Utility Billing System’. It takes the building-wide cost of a utility and divides it using ratios that accurately reflect how much each tenant used that utility.
RUBS utility billing is a cost-effective way for property managers to accurately bill residents for the utilities they use without depending on submeters. Instead of submeters, RUBS utility billing uses a mathematical formula that bills apartment units differently depending on factors like how many people live in an apartment or how many appliances are in a unit.
You can use RUBS utility billing to bill residents for:
The easiest and most accurate way to determine what a resident should pay for a utility is to install a submeter. Submeters are sensors that can determine how much energy or water a tenant uses. But submeters aren’t an option for every property. Installing submeters on a property that doesn’t already have them is costly and may require a temporary halt to utility usage.
Property managers who currently pay a building’s entire utility bill might want to pass the costs of utilities on to residents. However, you might not want to deal with the hassles of installing submeters throughout your property.
If you want to pass the costs of utilities on to residents, but you don’t want to install submeters, RUBS is an efficient alternative. Commercial and multifamily property managers both use RUBS to manage their utility bills.
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How does a RUBS system work?
RUBS utility billing works by accounting for each apartment unit’s features when calculating utility bills.
For example, if two people live in a specific unit, the RUBS formula will charge this unit more than a unit with only one resident. Likewise, if a unit has an appliance like a washer or a dishwasher, the RUBS formula will account for these appliances. The formula will charge that unit more for water or electricity usage.
Common factors that influence a unit’s bill with the RUBS system include:
- How many residents there are
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- How many water fixtures are in the unit
- Number of appliances
- Square footage
You have a lot of flexibility in choosing which areas to group together when you’re billing. For example, if you’re a commercial property manager, one tenant might take up an entire floor, or two tenants might occupy the same floor. Whatever the circumstances, you can adjust your billing formula accordingly. You can ensure that each tenant pays a correctly proportioned bill.
Is RUBS utility billing right for your property?
RUBS is right for your property if you want to increase your property’s net operating income by billing your residents more accurately. If you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars installing submeters, RUBS is right for you.
If you’re interested in using RUBS, there are a few things you should make sure of first:
- You should reread your tenants’ lease agreements and make sure that you’re allowed to switch over your billing methods.
- Then, you should ensure that there aren’t any municipal or regional laws that will hinder your attempts to implement RUBS billing. For example, in some counties, there’s a cap on any billing fee you might charge.
Technology that will help you with RUBS
If you want to switch to RUBS, property management software is the best way to simplify billing. More specifically, RUBS utility billing software is specially designed to help property managers successfully bill residents.
RUBS utility billing software offers features like paperless accounting and invoice generation. The software might even automatically send these invoices to your tenants every month. To sum up, these features substantially decrease the amount of time you have to spend manually calculating utility usage and billing residents.
You might also choose to partner with a RUBS utility billing service provider. These companies will work with you by analyzing your property to ensure the accuracy of the formulas you’ll use to calculate RUBS ratios. They’ll also handle any legal issues. In addition, these providers will continue to work with you as your property changes. Residents will consistently move in and out, and you’ll also keep updating your property with new appliances and fixtures. RUBS providers will adjust the formula as necessary.
RUBS utility billing is a method of accurately billing residents for utilities that keep property managers across the country satisfied for a low price. Some property managers find it too cost-prohibitive to install submeters. But they also want to increase their building’s income and charge residents for utilities. That’s where RUBS comes in.
If you’re considering RUBS for your property, you can choose between different ways to implement it. Consider investing in RUBS software or a RUBS service provider to simplify the process for yourself.