Margin Notes

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Britain used to be described as the nation of shopkeepers and yet the small to medium businesses that form the solid base of retail enterprise may be the very group that feel less than enthusiastic about the changes in the water industry. 
   
We were speaking to an owner of a small business in the Midlands and some of what was said echoes the comments from our Mind the Gap story we ran last week This is what we heard.

“ I’ve been reading up on the expected benefits of competition in England. For now, I just can’t get excited about what it means for me. I’ve read the net average margin is only 2.5%, so unless the retailers are willing to provide my services at a loss (unlikely!)  I don’t see how the discounts available to me will be particularly attractive. I can’t even be bothered switching my mobile phone even though I know I’m still paying for the Nokia 8210 handset I got in 2003.

I’ve read about various value added services that will be on offer, but to be honest I’m sceptical as to what extent these services will be on offer (or even of value) to a small business like mine – I’d imagine these services won’t be available for free, and I wonder how much water I’d need to save to justify any upfront cost. Consolidated billing looks to be free but as a single site business, things like this are just not relevant to my business and anyway a lot of these added value services were already available before competition was introduced.

My water bills have gone up significantly since privatisation and so have bills for other neighbouring businesses I know, and unless bigger discounts become available to businesses like mine, it will take time for meaningful savings to be achieved.

I understand that retailers may be restricted on the discounts they can offer because of the costs of providing the water. But I want a retailer who is going to challenge this. I’m hoping that the new environment will rise to the challenge.
 
I hear that many businesses aren’t even getting billed for their services as the customer information at market opening is incomplete or inaccurate. So is my water bill subsidising those who are getting their services for nothing? “


If any of these points resonate with you or you have similar feelings it would be great to hear from you. There are other ways of making savings on your water charges that are sustainable and are often greater than that which could be reasonably expected from a tariff decrease. So, why not get in touch with us? Drop us a line or give us a call on 0330 123 0074 and we will be happy to help.
 

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