Simply put, the differences come down to pricing structure and the service you receive.
Utility costs make up some of the most significant expenses associated with running a business. For many business owners, that can also translate to a lot of time and energy spent trying to understand and navigate utility options, usage projections and, of course, costs. A utility supplier is exactly what it sounds like — a company that supplies the utilities required to run your business. Thanks to a deregulated market, businesses are free to choose their supplier, which often results in competitive pricing as well as other perks. However, that same free market can also breed confusion. When you’re selecting your utility suppliers, it’s important to understand their pricing, contract terms and overall customer satisfaction (e.g., reviews, general customer experience, etc.).
In the end, utility suppliers are an unavoidable part of owning and operating a business. If you want the energy to run your business, you need a supplier — it’s as simple as that. What’s not always simple is picking the best one.
Contacting and analysing prices and contracts from multiple energy suppliers can be time-consuming. Businesses often are inundated and overwhelmed with the different options available, including price and contract duration. Brokers have market experience and access to relationships with suppliers. For companies that choose to go with a broker, this can often result in a better rate than if they simply chose a supplier on their own. There are a variety of types of brokers, ranging from a single employee to highly reputable businesses. Therefore, if you’re thinking of going with a broker, be sure to do your homework. It’s also worth inquiring as to how the broker gets paid. Is it a fixed fee? Or, as is commonly the case, is it a commission fee? In that case, the broker negotiates an agreement with the supplier and then collects a certain amount extra on top of the lowest negotiated fee. Of course, this can still mean you’re getting a lower price, but be cautious if a broker tells you that the service is absolutely free — that is rarely, if ever, the case.