Looking for an Office Water Cooler?

August 15, 2011

office waterThis is a guest post from one of our friends at Quench. If you are looking for an office cooler, going bottle-less is the way to go. That’s what we have here at thinkspace – a great bottle-less cooler. But, we would definitely say that the very best way to go if you are a small company is to join a shared space where you can collaborate with other entrepreneurs and share expenses on services such as these. :]
Water is an essential part of our lives, and your business must provide clean, safe drinking water for your employees. But what type of solution is best for your needs? Here are a few questions you should ask:
1. What are your options?
There are two main types of water coolers:
– Bottled water coolers – water in 5-gallon jugs delivered via truck.
– Bottleless water coolers – water is purified from your building’s water source
2. Which water cooler style works best for your office?
Consider the requirements for a bottled water cooler:
– Room for storage.
– Strength available to change 42 pound bottles.
– Time to spend reviewing variable rate water invoices for accuracy.
– A dedicated resource to monitor inventory and reorder as needed.
– A resource to clean your water cooler every 3 months with the recommended bleach.
Now consider requirements for bottleless:
– A water source somewhere in your building.
– An electrical outlet within 6 feet of the planned location.
3. How much do you need? 
Capacity is determined by the ability of the cooler to chill an adequate volume of water, so you’ll need to have an estimate of the demand in your office (i.e. number of employees).For a bottleless cooler, knowing the volume of users will be all you need to determine the correct size cooler.  For bottled water cooler, you’ll need to pick the size of the cooler and determine how many 5-gallon jugs to stock to avoid running out.
4. Signing a contract?
Selecting a contract type should involve a bit of consideration.  You might be uncertain about your water choice or have doubts about how well it will suit your business. In that case, choose a month-to-month option. Scared of even that commitment? Select a trial. Either way, be sure to consider the variety of options each vendors allows.
5. What will this cost?
Any business expense merits careful consideration.  Are you able to project your annual costs? This is very challenging with bottled water, as demand varies throughout the year.
Plain and simple, bottleless water coolers are less expensive. Without overhead for delivery vehicles, truck drivers, and bottle manufacturing, bottleless coolers can cut costs. Bottleless water generally offers a flat monthly rate, making budgeting considerably easier.
When selecting a bottleless company, check for maintenance of filter change fees.  Some bottleless water providers break up their costs to make monthly rates appear lower than they are.  In these cases, maintenance fees can range up to $100, which effectively increases your monthly rate by up to $10 per month.  Ask for an annualized monthly rate.
6. What kind of company do you want to work with?  
The water service industry has many players- big, small, national, local.
Sometimes you may receive a lower rate from local firms.  However, the tradeoff may be in reliability of service and quality of product – leader to poor water taste and unanswered service calls. Since there is no requirement for testing bottled water quality (filtered water draws from municipal sources which have EPA-mandated testing standards), you’re taking an extra risk with a bottled water provider, particularly a smaller local business.
You may pay a higher rate with a larger firm, but as with most things you generally get what you pay for:  better equipment, higher water standards, more sophisticated and reliable customer service organizations. Beware of brand-name firms that seem “national” but are actually local “mom-and-pop” franchisees paying to use the national brand name.
Regardless of size, water services are dependent on the quality of the local team.  Check to make sure the company employs trained service technicians.  And check for an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau – a very good sign of broad quality service.
In the end, bottled water coolers often no longer make sense. They’re more expensive, leave a large carbon footprint, and are no more  pure than filtered tap water. Yet, many organizations are still use bottled water coolers because they are not aware of the alternative.  Using bottleless water coolers provides your employees clean, safe water and can significantly improve your firm’s bottom line. As the largest bottleless water service in North America, Quench serves more than 25,000 businesses – including more than one-third of the Fortune 100. Switching your company to bottleless water cooler service – a step already taken by so many businesses with more and more making the switch each day – will improve your firm’s bottom line via direct and indirect costs, will show your co-workers that the company takes their health seriously, and will have a positive impact on the environment.
But, again, if you dont want to bug with this, you could work out of thinkspace and we will take care of all this for you! :]


Picture of Alyssa Magnotti

Alyssa Magnotti