Past & Present Multifamily Utility Sub-Metering

Submetering and Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) have been around in one form or another for over 40 years. For most of that time it was limited to a few small companies providing gas & electric sub-metering services to individual owner/operators of apartment buildings. This all changed in the mid nineties and was driven by three events. The first was the decision of United Dominion Realty Trust and Equity Residential Property Trust to pass water costs through to residents through a company they helped create for this purpose.

With several hundred thousand units between them their decision to pass through these costs was followed over the next few years by most of the large owner/managers. The second event was Inovonics introduction of a wireless transmitter suitable for sub-metering applications. This technology allowed the installation of non-proprietary equipment and soon became the industry standard allowing easy installation and remote reading that could be read by every company. The third event was the widespread use and acceptance of RUBS (Ratio Utility Billing System). With RUBS an owner could get many of the benefits of metered services with no equipment costs.

By the late 90′s there were over a dozen sub-metering/RUBS companies with at least 60,000 billable units and dozens more with smaller bases. By 2004 there were over 110 billing companies serving the industry. Consolidation over the last several years has reduced the number of companies providing these services to around 70. Most of the companies are little more than mom & pops without the financing or management to grow beyond their present size.

The market is huge. There are over 30,000,000 multifamily units, a similar number of manufactured home communities, 150,000 utility & water districts, 700,000 units of military housing and 15,000,000 federal facilities. Even with all the growth, it is estimated that less than 15% of the multifamily properties are presently passing all utility costs through to residents.

So far no one company has put all the pieces together and the industry is ripe for continued consolidation. The company that can install equipment efficiently, bill correctly and provide superior customer service could corner a significant share of the emerging market.

The Presence Is in the Present

Happy New Year!

We’re halfway through our 12 days of Illumination and I’m so happy we decided to take this journey together.  Already I find myself more open, more present to my thoughts and emotions (and thus less vulnerable to letting them take me somewhere without my awareness!)  That’s one of the gifts of the holy days, if we approach them mindfully.  They call us into a deeper level of awareness.

Yesterday we were preparing for some friends to come over to ring in the New Year with us.  Our daughter Bridget was helping me make a 7 layer dip.  She loves to cook and often helps me in the kitchen.  Suddenly I was overwhelmed with a feeling of joy and gratitude for her and for her life.  I gave her a big hug (Bridget may be the world’s best hugger) and as I held her in my arms I felt tears coming.  David looked over his shoulder and caught my eye as he wiped down the counter.  “Are you ok?” he asked.  “Yes,” I told him, “I’m actually doing really well.”

Joy is not an emotion.  It is a state of being that bubbles up without effort when we regularly bring our awareness back to the moment and choose, over and over again, to be present to what is.  You might even experience it during some of your most painful moments.   It is a natural response to being in the presence of the Presence.  When we bring our full awareness into any given moment, we touch the Timeless.

That’s why when I noticed my thoughts today slipping into Monday and thinking “I’m going to be so busy next week! I have two articles to write and I need to send my CV off to that organization that is considering me to speak, I have to get talking points to Great Day St.  Louis, there’s the final edit of my book and the freelance writing assignments…” I stopped.

I decided I want to bring this feeling of timelessness and presence with me into next week.  And yet, paradoxically, planning to be present doesn’t work.   I can’t really make a resolution to be more alive.  I can only choose to be more alive in each moment, as it comes.  As soon as I try to hold on to the exquisite joy that arises from mindfulness, it slips away.

I can only find The Presence in the present.

So, Happy New Year, my friend on the journey.  I’m wishing you many moments of presence.

Peace of this moment to you,

Kimberly Schneider

The Manifestation Maven

Negotiation Skills – How to Increase Your Sales

Nearly everyday of your life you are negotiating for something, usually many times a day. And that doesn’t include the sales negotiations you participate in as your job.

Yet, despite the fact that you spend so much time in negotiations, during the big negotiations, many salespersons don’t employ the effective skill set and tactics that they use in other aspects of their lives.

For example, have you driven a car today? If so, you are negotiating decisions throughout the entire drive. Using your turn signal is a nonverbal negotiation with other drivers about where you want to turn your car. At every stop sign, you were part of a negotiation as to who should be given a turn to go ahead through the street corners.

By learning what works as a small negotiations, you can learn what works at the bigger discussions and negotiations.

There are three key steps in negotiation skills.

1. Know your sales goals -

It’s very difficult to obtain what you want if you don’t know what it is or why you want it. For example, knowing where you want to go in your car provides the focus you need to get to where you are going. And despite this basic first step and how simple it may seem, many salespersons enter into the larger negotiations without knowing what it is they want and why. Remember, the sales process begins way before you have your first conversation with the potential client.

2. Do your research -

Justifying the price for anything from a new vehicle to a corporation becomes much easier if you can show the buyer the item is worth every penny they are about to spend on it.

This means you must be responsible for the research your potential clients don’t have time to do. By doing this, you make the decision to buy your product or services easy for them. Provide them with as much information as you can to justify why the decision you want them to make is the right one. Many potential clients are waiting for a salesperson to bring them an actionable solution to their problems. Do yourself and the potential client a favor, do all the legwork ahead of time. If all they have to do is sign on the dotted line after hearing your presentation, you are more likely to get that signature.