As a consultant, we meet with customers daily, and no matter their number of years in business or what industry they are in, we generally get asked the same questions.
If you're still considering whether or not to hire a consultant, I want to share with you the top five questions I get asked along with my abbreviated response.
#1 - Do consultants really work for free?
No, we don't work for free. This is actually a very common marketing ploy other third parties use to pique a customer's interest because who doesn't like stuff for free?
Everyone likes free stuff, especially when it's good help! The truth of the matter is that traditionally, most energy consultants embed a small fee into your energy price. This fee is then paid to us by your retail electric provider (REP), hence, the work is done "for free" because no money exchanges hands between you and the consultant.
There are many different types of consultants and they are a variety of ways in which they can be compensated for their work.
#2 - Why is my electricity bill so high when natural gas prices are at an all time low?
The cost of energy is just one component that makes up your total energy bill. When you select a electricity provider for your home or business, you are generally fixing the cost of energy along with some of your ancillary service charges. Depending on which market you are in, you could also be fixing or passing through other charges such as losses, congestion, basis, etc.
If your business operates in more than one ISO territory, you may have the additional hurdle of managing different cost components and regulatory factors that can ultimately impact your total energy spend. Simply put, it's not as simple as comparing your energy rate to the price of gas.
A good consultant can help you navigate through the market nuances and cost components related to your energy contract.
#3 - My budget is tight this year. How are you going to help me save money?
Whether your objective is to save money, make money, or avoid costs - consultants have ways to help you achieve your goals. Energy consultants should take time to learn about your business, fully understand your critical operations, work with your facilities and finance teams, and help you prioritize your company's energy needs.
Procurement is a highly effective way to keep tabs on your energy spend, but there are other ways to generate revenue or to avoid costs (which are market dependent). A good consultant can also make recommendations that can help your business become more energy efficient or help line up your energy management plan so it fits your sustainability objectives.
#4 - Why do I need to hire a consultant?
Simply put - you have better things to do. Take time to focus on what matters the most to you. Whether it's increasing your market share, driving performance at a grassroots level, or finding ways to make your business recession proof, your business needs you to run it.
Save on your energy bills. Get a free energy consultation.
By using a third party, you are able to bring in an experienced professional who understands the market, has strong relationships with a variety of retail electric providers (REPs), and will work on your behalf to secure and negotiate agreeable contract terms and product prices for your business. Working with a knowledgeable consultant can enhance your power procurement experience by working to make the process as organized and painless as possible.
#5 - Why should I hire an energy consultant?
You wouldn't hire just any plumber to fix a leaky pipe and you wouldn't necessarily hire the first person that walks into your business as your CFO, would you? Chances are, you want someone who is reputable, knowledgeable, and most important, trustworthy.
Don't settle. Utility bills are usually one of the biggest line items in a business's operating costs and it's an area where you may not want to take any risks.