If you own a business then it should be no surprise to you that energy bills can pile up at the end of the month, and a big part of that bill depends on your energy provider. The days when suppliers would offer better rates if you negotiated directly with them are long gone, and in their place, we’re introduced to energy brokers. What are commercial energy brokers? Should you have one? But most importantly, do they really help your business?
The Job Description
A commercial energy broker is an intermediary between energy suppliers and businesses. Their primary job is to reduce your energy bills by searching the market to compare different deals, and then directing you to the cheapest energy supplier for your particular business case. Put simply, they work to reduce your utility bills and increase your business profits.
In the ideal world, they would compare in an unbiased manner hundreds of energy suppliers across the country and gently advise you to sign with one of them. They would then compare every business deal and advise you on which one would be better for your business plan.
It’s Not All Rainbows and Butterflies
The business energy market is a tough one to navigate, so having an expert advise you on how best to cut costs seems like a dream come true, but that is not always the case.
Working with a broker can limit your market choices. Some brokers work very closely with a select few large firms, meaning that they are somewhat biased and could be looking out for supplier interest rather than your own. Make sure that you have full power over the final decision regarding which supplier to sign with; never allow a broker to agree on a contract on your behalf.
The level of support varies from broker to broker. Some operate as lead generation businesses, meaning that they make numerous amounts of phone calls a day and refer any leads to other brokers or suppliers. Be wary of these types of brokers because they don’t offer the necessary support to fully compromise to a trustworthy energy provider.
All this unsteadiness comes from a lack of regulation in the industry. The commercial energy market is currently unregulated to an extent and has very little transparency on brokers’ commissions. This has unfortunately led to a rise of hundreds of new brokers using unethical business practices to trick clients.
Hiring a non professional energy broker can tear down your business. Recent articles from the Sunday Times have reported several cases where small businesses have been tricked by commercial energy brokers, leading to their financial downfall. The newspaper further claims that stories like these are unfortunately becoming more and more common.
And finally, it goes without saying that all of this costs money. While it is true that some energy brokers are honest and want your business to succeed, most of the time you won’t get value for your money. Poor energy brokers rarely provide any clarity about their fees, so pay close attention when you’re discussing payments.
While this behaviour is obviously not true of every energy broker, it is advisable that you approach this industry with a somewhat sceptical eye and always putting your business above everything else.
Be Your Own Energy Broker
At the end of the day, no one knows your business better than you do. So why not be your own commercial energy broker? There are plenty of prices comparison sites that allow you to lay out different deals from several energy suppliers and choose the right one for you from the comfort of your home.
Some even offer hassle-free switching support, where experts arrange the switch on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about all the paperwork and bureaucracy. With these business energy comparison
services at your disposal, there are little benefits to delving into the unsteady hands of commercial energy brokers.
When it comes to finding a good energy deal for your business, demanding professionalism is a must. If that means staying away from energy brokers and sourcing to online comparison websites, that’s perfectly acceptable and even advisable. Your business’s energy bills make up a large portion of your outcome at the end of the month and need careful consideration, and at the end of the day, not having to deal with a broker can be one less headache. Who doesn’t want that?