Three reasons to continue printing bills in-house

In my recent interactions, I’ve been somewhat surprised at how many utilities are still printing their own bills in-house and haven’t moved to outsourcing.

Without knowing exactly why they haven’t made the switch, I’ve come up with three possible reasons…

They enjoy doing extra work

The biggest advantage to moving to outsourcing is it saves your office staff time and effort. If you are still printing bills in-house, you have to print, fold and stuff (or tear apart if you are printing postcard bills), sort, and package your bills. Then you have to take them to the post office.

If you were outsourcing, all you would do is upload a file to the outsource printer, sit back and wait until they notify you that proofs of your bills are ready for your review. Once you approve the proofs, the outsource company does the rest!

Many utilities are of the mistaken notion that outsourcing is expensive and is only cost effective for large utilities. This may have been the case years ago, however it’s no longer true. If you haven’t recently requested an outsourcing quote, I encourage you to do so. Soon! If you need a recommendation of a reputable outsource vendor, please email me.

They like paying extra postage

If you aren’t outsourcing, in addition to doing extra work, you’re paying extra for postage. One of the big advantages of outsourcing is the outsource vendor’s ability to presort mail to gain the maximum presort discounts.

You may only have a few bills being mailed to a zip code in another city. But if other mailers who use the same outsource vendor also have mail being sent to that city, your mail can be combined with theirs to earn a discount. Even if you are using CASS certification software in-house, you won’t be able to get discounts like this.

They don’t want to send ebills

It’s possible your billing software vendor has the ability to send ebills even if you are printing your own bills. But I know that’s not the case for all billing software vendors. Many outsource vendors can host PDF images of your bills and notify your customers via email, even if your billing software doesn’t offer that option.

The big advantage to ebills – and the reason you should encourage as many customers as possible to take advantage of ebilling (also known as paperless billing) – is you don’t incur either printing or postage costs for ebills.

A couple of years ago, when I was still doing demos for a software company, a prospect told me that after they implemented new software, he was planning to move from postcards to outsourcing and ebilling. His theory was he could encourage enough customers to take advantage of ebilling so that the move to outsourcing would be a break-even proposition.

Based on this conversation, I created an outsourcing calculator so you can calculate the ebill adoption rate required to move from printing in-house to outsourcing for your utility. To give the calculator a try, please click here.

Should you be outsourcing?

Are you still printing bills in-house? If you are, or if you have other concerns about how efficiently your office is operating, please give call me at 919-673-4050 or email me at gary@utilityinformationpipeline.com to learn how a business review could help you find out.

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