Standard Gas and Electricity
Check you are paying the right rate of VAT and not paying Climate Change Levy: As charities, churches should be paying 5% VAT and yet many churches still find they are on 20%. It is fairly straightforward to change and you can even get back dated claims for up to 6 years.
Read your meter: Many bills are calculated on estimates and historical data can lead to very inaccurate readings, particularly if you haven’t changed your supplier for a long time. Make sure you provide regular meter reads to your supplier.
Manage your consumption: Consider installing a smart meter, ask your supplier about this as it may be available at no charge. A simple way to manage your consumption is to make sure your heating isn’t on when the building is empty – you’d be surprised at how many churches have been stung by no one knowing that the heating has been left on all month, making for a very costly bill!
Always get an alternative quote: Parish Buying can provide you with quotes from a wide range of suppliers for 1 or 2 years. This will help you to identify whether the current price you are getting is the best value on the market at the time. Also, remember that renewal rates are often higher in price than you need to pay.
Avoid rollover rates: Always ensure that you serve notice during your termination window to avoid expensive rollover rates. Even if you decide to remain with your existing supplier you should serve a termination and negotiate a new contract.
Join the Church of England Energy Basket: We are bringing church energy contracts together by creating a single end date. This will enable us to tender for thousands of churches in one go.
Consider green energy as an outworking of stewardship: Look for green energy contracts that don’t cost the earth! Parish Buying has a group buying initiative to make going green less costly. They pool the buying power of organisations that sign up to help reduce the cost of renewable electricity. When looking at green energy contracts, make sure the electricity is from 100% renewable sources.
Buy through our national contract: Daily prices are available on their websites and the service offers priority delivery in times of oil shortages. You should take advantage of buying early in preparation for winter – prices usually increase as demand increases, so get your order in early to make sure you don’t pay over the odds!
Bulk and online buying: The price for paper and other supplies can be high from regular retail stores, online suppliers are often much more competitive and have a wider range of items. Through Parish Buying a national office products contract can be accessed, allowing members to access heavily discounted pricing, with free next day delivery, and a wide range of items.
Switch to own brand: If you have previously bought branded products then switching to own brand could see even further savings.
Understand your requirements before you speak to suppliers: It helps you ensure you get what you need, not what the supplier wants you to have. Added features can add significantly to cost, so strip away the unnecessary bits to cut costs.
Understand how much you print: Do you print a lot of colour? Most parishes will print over 90% of their print in mono but colour makes up 50% of the cost. If you print in colour would you be better off with a mono printer and outsourcing your colour print locally?
Change your printing habits: Try to reduce the amount of colour you print. Change to duplex printing, print in A3 and cut it in half, always use power save, think about access control and make sure your default settings are always on mono.
Check the small print! Read the photocopier contract before you sign it, as often there can be clauses that can add significant cost over time.
Health and Safety
Check your requirements: Do you meet the legal requirements for your building? Think about what you need and the cost – consider fire extinguishers that last for ten years without needing a service and balance the total cost of ownership over conventional fire extinguishers.
Make sure you are paying charity licence pricing: Charities (remember this includes churches!) can purchase IT Software packages, such as Microsoft Office, for a fraction of the retail price.
Understand your IT requirements: Check that the hardware you purchase meets these. Talk to the representative if necessary - you don’t want to pay over the odds for something that doesn’t meet your needs, or indeed, does more than you need.
Check your requirements: You can get a free bill analysis from Parish Buying. They offer a free bill analysis for your telecoms, whether it’s a phone line, broadband, or a system, they’ll analyse your current costs and show you where you could be saving. A wide range of products are available as well as very competitive tariffs from the UK’s leading providers.
Buy as Stewards
Ensure you get maximum value for the money your church is spending: Where you aren’t able to use an existing parish buying deal or use a buying guide you can simply ask for a discount off the first price provided. Alternatively try and get more for your money by asking for add-ons to be included e.g. if you are buying a laptop ask for a mouse and mouse mat to be thrown in.
Think about options rather than simply exchanging like for like.