One of the major areas any small business should focus on is energy. How much you pay for your gas and electricity will make up a large part of your monthly outgoings. It will also have a direct influence on your profits. If you run a small business and have not made a business energy comparison and looked around the market at energy quotes recently, you may well be paying too much for your business energy.
What should small businesses look for in energy providers?
When it comes to thinking about corporate energy, you should first understand what you need from your supplier. But what factors are the most important for smaller firms?
- A competitive price
- A supplier who is reliable, easy to contact and fair
- The flexibility to change with your business needs
- An eco-friendly energy supplier who can help you operate in a greener way
The above are the major things to focus on when it comes to choosing a supplier for your own business. If you find one that has all of the above, you should pay less for your energy while still getting a great service. But who are the best suppliers of small business energy currently?
One of the top companies operating in this sector now is Bulb. It not only offers excellent levels of customer support for small businesses but also has low rates. Their deals are all easy to understand and transparent. This makes finding the right one for your business simple. They are also the top-rated energy supplier on Trustpilot currently, which speaks volumes. With no exit fees or fixed contracts, the only drawback is that they do not supply sole traders at the moment.
2. British Gas
It can be fashionable to knock the big-name energy suppliers, but many do a great job. British Gas is one of the larger suppliers of energy to the business sector - it is thought they provide energy to around 400,000 UK businesses currently. They have also been in business for a long time, which means you can be sure of a constant, reliable supply of energy. With decent customer support, competitive rates and smart meters available to use, they are a good choice. Eco-friendly businesses might be put off by the fact only 40% of their electricity is from renewable sources though.
3. Utility Warehouse
Another major name for small business energy is Utility Warehouse. It merits a place on our list due to the unique and wide-ranging service it delivers. For smaller firms, it is ideal as you can lump your energy, landline, broadband and mobile costs into one single bill. Doing this can also see your business classed as a 'Gold' member which saves you 10% on your bill for the initial 12 months. Along with a dedicated account manager for each customer, the positive ratings on Trustpilot are also appealing.
Opus is one of the most well-known independent suppliers. They have picked up numerous awards since forming in 2015 and have positioned themselves well to supply small businesses. Their 'business cluster' concept, for example, allows small businesses to get better rates by banding together. 90% of their energy is generated renewably too which is great news if you are trying to operate in a greener way. They do not have the best Trustpilot scores though and they may not always have the very best deals on the market.
This company have built up a great reputation online for supplying energy to smaller businesses. They currently offer gas and electric but are planning to offer water in the future as well. A true green energy supplier, they are committed to superb levels of customer service and have decent rates to sign-up for. They are not the easiest to switch from though! This is due to the £350 exit fee and the fact you have to end your contract 90-120 days before it is due to finish.
Small businesses need to be aware of energy rates
There is no doubt that small businesses, in general, seem to get a rough deal when it comes to energy prices. While this can be down to differences in costs, it can also be due to smaller firms not switching their supplier as often. This is not to blame small businesses in any way.
Most simply do not have the resources to employ someone to monitor energy deals and switch suppliers. Smaller businesses also do not have the bargaining power of large corporations, due to their energy usage being lower. It is thought that a failure to engage with the energy market is costing UK small businesses £180 million per year though! This shows that it really is worth taking your time to focus on this area.
How do you get the best deal for your small business energy?
There is one thing you need to know first - it is much easier than you may think! Once you know how to go about it, it is quick and simple to do. But what should you know?
Keep an eye on when your current energy contract is about to finish and when you need to give notice. Get online and use a business energy comparison website to find new deals with the best rates. This is the quickest and simplest way to compare new deals.
Although you may be a small business, you still have the power to negotiate a better deal with suppliers. Most are desperate for new business so they will be open to you negotiating better rates with them. A good tip is to get the best quote you can from one supplier and then take it to another to see if they will beat it. This can often see you get a much better deal than first offered.
You may decide to sign-on again with your current supplier on a new deal - but what if you don't? Moving to a new supplier means you need to give notice to your current one first. You could choose to handle the switch yourself after this but many small businesses now use a broker to do it. This removes the hassle and time of handling it all directly. It does not have to cost anything extra either as the supplier will usually pay the broker fee.
Corporate energy for microbusinesses
We have talked about small business energy already but what about microbusinesses? According to UK Government guidelines, these are defined as:
- Employing less than 10 full-time staff
- Having an annual turnover of less than £2 million
- Using under 100,000 kWh of electricity per annum
- Using under 293,000 kWh of gas per annum
If you are a microbusiness, some of the rules around energy are different. For starters, you can give notice to your current supplier at any time in your contract. The supplier must put when the contract will finish on each bill for microbusinesses on a fixed tariff as well.
What should you do next?
If you take one thing away from this article, it should be this: comparing energy suppliers will get your small business a more attractive deal. By using comparison sites online to find the best deals and brokers to help make switching easy, you can reap these benefits for your own small business.