Shutting down a facility when the business that occupied it closes down requires the facility manager to address a number of issues. Here, Scott Simmons, vice president of service delivery with Advantage IQ offers several tips on properly managing the shutting down of retail stores within a multi-site company, which unfortunately, has become a more familiar scenario in recent months.
Advantage IQ, headquartered in Spokane, WA, is a facility information and expense management company that provides comprehensive solutions to help multi-site companies manage and reduce their major facility expenses (those rated to utilities, telecom, lease and waste).
How To Close Stores The Right Way
Multi-site businesses of all kinds are closing down their least profitable locations to save on expenses. Many don’t realize that this process isn’t as simple as locking the door and turning the lights out. When a large company slashes the size of its portfolio with one fell swoop, the process by which the utility is informed of the closures can be easily mismanaged, or fall through the cracks completely. Even if only a month goes by where the utility is continuing to bill the retailer for serving closed sites, the expense can be in the thousands and beyond, reducing the impact of closing the store.
Here are a few tips for properly managing the store closing process.
- Call your utility providers five to 15 days ahead of time to schedule a service shut-off. You could be waiting five days to have someone scheduled to come out to your location, and if you wait until the last minute to make an appointment you may pay unnecessarily for additional days of service.
- Make sure you are in compliance with the contract terms, if you are vacating leased space and are still contractually obligated. Some minimum services are often required to remain turned on.
- Once you vacate a location, review final utility bills to make sure you’re not being charged for extra days of service after your shut-off date.
- Identify what utility services you’ve been using and figure out where each is coming from. Are you charged for all of them with one common bill or with separate bills from a number of providers? The technicians responsible for shutting off your utility services won’t know every detail of your accounts and may need assistance from you to make sure everything is shut off that needs to be.
- Make sure someone is on-site to meet the utility technician on the scheduled shut-off date. If they come and no one is around to give them access to meters, they may leave without shutting anything off or canceling the service.