This is the third article in our five-part series covering the top five things site selectors are requesting information about. This round will be focused on Utilities. The topics covered in this series are based on an actual review of prospect location factors conducted by GOED using 76 RFIs submitted between 2010 and July 1, 2013. Be sure to catch up with the first two installments: Available Properties and Local Incentives!
The cost and availability of utilities can be significant factors in selecting a site. If the company requires excessive amounts of water or electricity it must first make sure the community has the resources to handle its needs. Secondly, the company needs to determine if it can afford the costs associated with those needs. Your website should contain current utility information so it is readily available when a site selector or expanding business is viewing your community online (remember, up to 90% of all site selection happens online before the prospect will even contact you).
The main data points to include on your website for utility information are:
- Excess Water Availability/Restrictions
- Water Rates
- Excess Electric Availability/Restrictions
- Alternative Energy Sources Availability/Restrictions (ex: Rules about putting wind turbines on the top of a building)
- Electric Rates
- Natural Gas Rates
- Local taxes and fees included with utility billing
- Any deals or incentives offered by the utility supplier for new businesses moving in
- Contact information for all utility suppliers in your community (including telecommunications providers)
Including Utilities in your RFI
It is very common for a prospect to ask for utility information in an RFI. Utility information is unique to each community and can only be supplied by a local representative. When putting utility data into an RFI you need to keep it simple and specific to the company’s needs. You could include rates based on the size of the business or usage level. Only industrial and commercial utility information should be included unless the prospect specifically asks for residential rates.
At the RFI stage in the process, he/she is only concerned with narrowing down business locations and will inquire about housing later in the game (however, all rates should still be listed on your website). Since all rates are usually shown on one document from the local utility company, you may need to retype the data to only include the appropriate sections. If a prospect has to dig through unnecessary tables and text to find what he/she is looking for, it is very likely he/she will skip all of it and move on to the next community.