Anyone In Des Moines, IA using RUBS to bill water?

5 Replies

Hey BP! I was wondering if anyone in the Des Moines or surrounding area is using the Ratio Utilities Billing System (RUBS) for billing out utilities.  If so are you using a company to administer the service or are you calculating the billing yourself.  Thank you all for the help! 

- Thomas 

He does Water submetering.  Nothing on the gas or electric side.  I haven't done RUBS or anything on that side, just included it in the rent and raised the rent as much as I thought I could get for the units.  My thought was it would be more work to oversee it, or have to have another company oversee it.  And there's potential the tenants would always be watching it and asking about it.  For that reason, I just included it in the rent and went along my day.  I'm sure there's ways you can optimize the income going the RUBS route, but it just depends on the time and effort it takes.  
Good luck, let us know what you decide to do and how it works out!  

@Thomas Fawcett - I hope you find a great solution... because 2-3 weeks ago I started looking for the same thing. I'm also an Ankeny guy looking for a bill back solution to use in Des Moines. Here's a summary of information I've gathered. Calling it fact, or my direct experience, would be an overstatement at this point.

  1. If you include utilities in the 'sticker price' for rent, potential tenants think your place is too expensive and pass over it
  2. If you don't include in 'sticker price', but then charge them later, they think you're unfair
  3. If you completely divide out the utilities (in our specific 3-units case) the gas, water, electric - the rehab bill goes up $30-40k. Every project is different, but typically the impact is large. Des Moines Water Works requires 3 separate taps on the main line at the street. That means digging and $$$. Gas and electric costs from supply to meter sounded minimal, but on our side of the meter were going to be substantial.
  4. Still need to pay much of renovation costs on our side of the meter with 1 supply point per unit on our side of the meter. Also need to handle the split-out each month.
  5. Have heard property manager concerns about battery powered point of use solutions because of the maintenance. 
  6. Have also heard concerns with powered point of use solutions because of reliability, resident tampering, residents thinking it's weird that they are showering with an electronic device attached to the shower head (it it going to electrocute me, is it watching me). Not saying these are legit concerns, but what I've heard from talking to different property managers.
  7. Could do the RUBS math ourselves, but don't want to deal with the administration every month, or the arguments from residents.
  8. Finally, and what we're going to do unless someone tells me to STOP, or the referrals I call tomorrow are not so good.... is to work with a 3rd party that does the RUBS math and sends the bills to either the property manger or residents. The cost is low and is billed back to the residents - actually cheaper than each resident paying for their own meter. Not as fair and accurate as true measuring systems.

I don't think the RUBS 3rd party bill-back is the perfect solution, but the best that we've found for our property.

I'm open to input on this!