When Outsourcing Utility Bill Printing Makes Sense for Your Municipality
By Lisa Bush, Senior Solutions Consultant
Printing utility bills can be a timely and costly job for most municipalities, but since utilities are a main source of revenue, it’s also one of the most important.
For the most part, larger municipalities have been outsourcing their monthly billing to full-service print companies because it’s more economical. Small and mid-sized cities haven’t jumped on the outsourcing bandwagon as quickly; they don’t necessarily have the minimum volume required for printers, and they also prefer to use their local post offices.
However, there are solutions that help smaller municipalities cost-effectively outsource utility billing. The decision to outsource typically boils down to three factors: time, money, and priorities. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to outsource utility bill printing, here are some points about all three that might help you make up your mind.
Time. From start to finish, the billing process doesn’t leave a lot of time for delays or mistakes. Reading meters and calculating, printing and mailing bills is on a tight timeline. Printing bills in an office often can make the entire process take much longer than it should. And if the printer jams, the ink runs dry, or you run out of billing forms, the work can slow down even more. To save time and operate more efficiently, municipalities often choose to outsource printing.
Money. A minimum number of bills is required to qualify for better postage rates, and they must be sorted properly. If you’re processing bills in-house, your staff is doing a lot of extra work to get those savings, and their time equals money. In addition, sending utility bills to invalid addresses can add up. Most full-service printing companies can update invalid addresses to avoid resending to that address in the future. For those reasons, it can be more cost-efficient to outsource the printing of utility bills.
Priorities. Yet another reason that municipalities outsource utility bill printing is that it allows staff members to focus on more meaningful tasks than stuffing and sorting envelopes and adding ink and paper to a printer. Outsourcing takes that out of their hands and ensures that they’re concentrating on work only they can do.
A final note: Not surprisingly, organizations that have outsourced utility bill printing very rarely bring the job back in-house. The municipal staff would revolt!
At USTI, most of our clients are small enough that they don’t qualify for bulk discounts on postage. However, with our integrated utility billing solution, 99 percent of them can outsource billing for less than their current hard costs (postage, forms, toner) – and that number doesn’t even factor in labor savings. If you’re looking to save time and money on your utility billing, contact us for more information.comments powered by Disqus