Do you offer a round-up program?

Have you considered offering your customers a way to contribute to a worthwhile cause? A round-up program would do just that.

It’s convenient for your customers

For customers who elect to participate, round-up programs automatically round their bill to the next whole dollar. The amount that is rounded up typically is designated for a charity or other worthy cause.

Who doesn’t appreciate having bills that are whole dollar amounts? It makes balancing checkbooks easier and raises money for a good cause at the same time!

Funds raised benefit valuable causes

I’m familiar with utilities using round-up programs to support emergency assistance programs, volunteer fire departments and schools.

Some larger utilities run their own assistance programs for deserving customers, but the more common practice is to turn the funds collected over to a trusted agency in the community that provides financial assistance with utility bills.

Only overhead is the time to set up each account

Assuming your billing software supports rounding up, the only added expense to administer a round-up program is the time it takes to set up each customer.

Many utilities use an authorization form signed by the customer as documentation in case the customer questions their bill in the future.

Contributions to the round-up program are typically credited to a separate revenue (or liability, if you are collecting on behalf of a third party) account. Periodic payments are then sent to the entity that is supported by the round-up program.

Customers can elect to contribute additional funds

You may have customers who desire to contribute more than just the odd cents to round their bill to the next dollar. To accommodate this, you can set up a new flat rate service and allow the customer to choose how much more they would like to contribute.

Why not start a round-up program for your utility?

A round-up program serves as a painless and relatively easy way for your customers to contribute to a worthwhile cause. Why not start offering this to your customers?

If you have questions about starting or administering a round-up program, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at

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© 2013 Gary Sanders

What day are your bills delivered to your customers?

Last week, I participated in a seminar sponsored by the North Carolina AWWA-WEA Finance and Management Committee. The topic of the seminar was Billing and Collection Systems and featured several excellent presentations.

What impact will stopping Saturday mail delivery have?

One of the presentations dealt with outsource billing and included a panel of three presenters –two utility representatives and one outsource vendor.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the Postal Service will be discontinuing Saturday mail delivery later this year. One of the questions posed to the panel was “what impact will the elimination of Saturday mail delivery have?”

Targeted delivery of Monday through Thursday

The outsource vendor representative raised an excellent point I had never considered before – businesses should avoid delivering bills on Friday or Saturday.

During the week, most people are in the habit of checking their mail at a regular time, most likely when they get home from work. They take the mail into the house and put it where they know to find it later when it’s time to pay their bills.

However, on weekends people may not be home or they may check the mail on their way out the door to run errands. Wouldn’t you rather your bill end up in a stack to be paid rather than misplaced in the car?

What day are your bills delivered to customers’ homes?

I’m interested in learning if this is something that utilities have given any thought to. You can help by participating in a quick poll on my Facebook page to indicate what day your bills arrive in your customers’ mailboxes.

If you have questions about mailing bills or outsource printing, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at

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© 2013 Gary Sanders