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Top 3 mistakes small businesses make managing their energy contractsMarch 19, 2019

Top 3 mistakes business make managing their energy contracts.

Finding ways to reduce overhead doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Small tweaks in the way you manage expenses is sometimes all it takes to get your spending under control. Here are the top 3 mistakes small businesses make when managing energy costs – and how to avoid them. 

Going “off contract”

Providers secretly love it when customers let their electricity contracts expire without renewing. Without an agreement in place, nothing prevents your supplier from charging you outrageous prices—and they will. Off-Contract rates, also called Variable or Month-to-Month rates, can double your electricity bill overnight. It’s easy to let your energy renewals slip through the cracks, but staying on top of your contract end dates will protect your budget and keep your electricity bill in check.  

Not filing tax exemption forms

Who likes giving Uncle Sam their hard-earned money? Paying taxes is a soul-crushing experience for any small business owner, so take advantage of every tax break available. Certain businesses can apply for a Sales-Tax Exemption, potentially allowing you to avoid paying sales tax all-together. Here’s few examples of eligible organizations: agriculture, manufacturing, non-profits, print shops, campgrounds, apartment complexes, wood shops, bakeries, and nursing homes. If you are eligible, this tax break will cut your energy bill by up to 8.25%! Plus, you can even get a full refund for sales taxes paid over the last 48 months.

Not prioritizing energy efficiency

Changing small behaviors or upgrading to energy efficient lighting and equipment is an effective way to cut energy costs. LED bulbs use 90% less energy than their fluorescent counterparts. Using laptops instead of desktop computers can save 80-90% in energy costs. When purchasing new equipment, always look for the ENERGY STAR seal. Equipment and appliances with the ENERGY STAR seal will often use 30-50% less energy than older equipment.

Another great way to control your usage is to invest in a smart thermostat. New age thermostats automatically turn off the A/C or heat whenever your business closes so you’re not using energy unnecessarily. But don’t worry, the smart system will automatically turn the A/C unit back on so the space is comfortable when you arrive the next day.  

Other ways to reduce energy usage include:

- Turning off lights and equipment when not in use

- Regularly changing air filters

- Using sunlight to illuminate your work space

- Installing sensors that turn lights off when a room isn’t occupied

- Implement these tips into your daily routine and you’ll start to see big energy savings.

The energy management easy button

Energy is one of the top three operating costs for most businesses, so it pays well to develop an effective management strategy. Using software to keep up with your contract end dates, automatically file tax exemption forms, and find areas of overspend is the easiest way to avoid these common mistakes. GridBid is an online marketplace where businesses can compare custom quotes from top providers, see the real monthly cost of each option, and enroll online in under two minutes. Get reminders when its time to renew and never risk paying sales tax if you don’t have to. Sign up for a free account today to put your energy management strategy on autopilot.

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