|Case Study: Multifamily Owner & Developer (PDF)|
American Conservation & Billing Solutions, Inc. (AmCoBi) recently worked with a multifamily developer and property management firm that owns thirteen properties located in Oklahoma and Texas. AmCoBi:
Founded in 1962, this multifamily developer is a family owned and operated business that currently manages 1700 units. They have grown steadily over the years and continue to develop and rehabilitate new properties. They employ nearly 30 employees, several of which have been with the Company for more than 20 years.
Prior to engaging AmCoBi, the Company worked with an experienced utility billing and submetering services provider. In spite of this provider's size and longevity in the industry, the firm consistently sent inaccurate billings to residents. The submetering system they installed was not properly maintained over the years and numerous meters were inoperable. Repairs were not completed according to a reasonable schedule causing the billing company to routinely estimate resident bills.
A lack of timely, responsive service to residents and to management requests was a constant source of frustration for the Company. Resident complaints to management were common and staff members noted that in some cases, their questions weren't answered at all.
Requests by the property management team for final move‐out bills took between two weeks and two months for the previous provider to complete. Moreover, the provider was sending bills three months in arrears and delivering management reports that were also delinquent.
When the Company considered using AmCoBi for its utility billing and submetering needs, their requirements were specific:
The AmCoBi approach to providing utility billing and submetering services is based on the following principles:
This project offered AmCoBi the opportunity to put these principles into action. To develop a personal relationship with onsite staff members, AmCoBi visited each property at its own expense. This is an investment in time and resources that few companies make, but one we believe is critical to a smooth, efficient working relationship.
AmCoBi redesigned the submetering system to fix inherent problems from the original installation. For no additional fees, AmCoBi wrote custom software to meet unique requirements at each property. Upon completion, all apartment units were reporting metered data for the first time in months.
After the submetering systems were operational, AmCoBi used AquaHawk to actively monitor water consumption data on a real‐time basis. By performing regular data analyses, AmCoBi was able to detect several potential water leaks and notify onsite maintenance personnel. In every case, a leak inside the apartment units was discovered and repaired. This monitoring saved residents money and prevented potential property damage.
AmCoBi increased the amount of money collected by the Company from its utility billing program. Submetered properties in Texas are legally allowed to pass through a 9% fee (maximum) to residents in the form of a customer service charge. The previous billing company had not charged these fees to tenants and instead had invoiced the Company.
AmCoBi developed custom reports to aid property managers in collecting past due utility charges. We coordinated with the local water provider to send us master‐meter bills when they are released to speed up resident billing. Gradually, AmCoBi brought the billings up to date so that residents receive statements for the most recent month's usage instead of lagging three months behind.
The Company's management team is elated with the manner AmCoBi has assumed full responsibility for their entire utility billing program. Resident and management calls/e‐mails to the AmCoBi Client Care department are generally handled immediately, but always within two hours. The Company has commented that their workload has been measurably reduced and that the utility billing operation runs seamlessly now.
Residents are happy with the improvements in customer service and those who had water leaks in their apartments, were grateful for early notification before significant water charges were incurred.