Best Way to Start Billing Back Water/Sewer/Garbage - RUBS or Submeters?


Haven’t seen a recent thread on this topic so I figured I’d reintroduce it. I’m currently evaluating the purchase of a MHP in New Mexico which does not bill back for utilities. The park is 70 lots, so I figure installing water submeters would be somewhere in the ballpark of $14k-$21k. I’d be interested in enabling remote-monitoring tech to be able to read these meters remotely. However, I looked into this with Multifamily Utility Inc and they informed me that these monitoring costs are actually much higher than just using their services to implement RUBS (which is allowed in New Mexico).

My question is: Would it make sense to start off trying out a RUBS system for water billing, with the option to convert over to submeters if things don’t go smoothly? Would this be more or less hassle than just coughing up the submeter CapEx? I would like to promote water conservation as this is quite an issue in New Mexico, and I’ve heard RUBS isn’t the greatest for this. Sewer and garbage are flat rates, so I would have a few choices for how to recoup this cost. Any suggestions on best practices would be welcomed.

It’s always nice to have options, just want to make sure I’m taking a logical approach to this. Thanks!


From our experience RUBS is like putting a bandage on something that needs stitches and hoping it solves the problem.

What you are doing essentially is splitting the bills x many ways. The problem is, when there is a leak and that bill goes up everyone is paying more and everyone becomes unsatisfied. Seen alot of parks go under from RUBS

I say sub-meter and charge the tenants for what they use. Keep it fair and keep everyone happy. Monitor usage, find leaks and problem tenants instantly.

Our system reports everyday so not only will you be able to bill back for actual usage you a can pin point issues proactively.

Most people who factor the Meter install in the cap x get there money back in less than 2 years in most cases.

Let me know what you end up doing!


I don’t know anything about RUBS but my payback on sub-metering was less than 6 months. My water bill went from 300-500 per month to 150. This is in a 11 unit park with tenant owned homes.


I did sub-metering and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made, and is also remote monitored and 3rd party collected. My water/sewer bill were $2200+ and now it’s $1200 so it definitely paid for itself. You could also add sewer charge onto the water so they have 1 bill instead of 2.


The primary reason why an owner sub-meters their MHP: Based on our 20 + years of sub metering experience throughout the US, …Unlike RUBs (charging water/sewer based on occupants, fixtures or size of the home) were the conservation factor is often short lived ; The tenants’ water/sewer usage will drop by 25 to 35% when the tenants are responsible for their own water use; As an owner you will be promoting water conservation and working with your residents to mitigate future rental increases, as the water/sewer costs are no longer a rental component.

We’re here to answer your water sub-metering questions.

Dan Helton
Southern Water Management