Cost-effective backup power solutions for your small business

Cost-effective backup power solutions for your small business

Regardless of what type of business you run, loadshedding will affect your operations in some way or the other. But these backup power solutions could make things easier.

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Image credit: iStock (AJ Paulsen)

Loadshedding has become the norm for South Africans – an inconvenience that we simply have to put up with for two hours or more at a time.

But for small businesses, the disruptions are not only frustrating, but could also spell the end of operations indefinitely if owners don’t come up with a plan B.

READ: Win R50,000 worth of backup power options with OUTsurance!

Time is money and the show must go on whether Eskom is providing you with power or not. Economists estimate that the rolling blackouts cost the country billions of rands daily. Small businesses suffer the most as many don’t have the financial resources to invest in expensive generators which could cost as much as R200,000.

Going off the grid has become an attractive solution for both homeowners and small businesses, but installing solar power systems can be an expensive exercise.

It’s important for small businesses to have a short-term and long-term backup power strategy. Your needs depend entirely on the size of your business and what products/services you provide. But while saving for those more expensive long-term solutions, here are five cost-effective options that can help keep your business running during power cuts:  

More on Loadshedding

Get an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)

If you need to use your laptop, cellphone, and WiFi during loadshedding, you might want to invest in an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). This is a cost-effective way to continue using these devices during power cuts. Depending on how many devices you need to connect, you could spend as little as R600 on a UPS for your WiFi router. But be sure to do some research as the cheaper ones only provide two hours of power while others can supply six hours of power and more – which can come in handy when stage 6 loadshedding results in multiple disruptions in one day!

Rent a generator

Generators seem to be the ideal choice for business owners wanting to avoid loadshedding disruptions. But the option is not always cost-effective. The type of generator you need depends on the size of your business and your power requirements. A small restaurant that uses multiple stoves and ovens would require a different generator from a home baker. Small generators are usually ideal for home use and would cost you a few thousand rands,  but a 100 Kva generator could set you back over R200,000.

Some small businesses are opting to rent generators. It might seem like a waste of money to some but renting a generator – especially during peak business operations like the festive season – could be a lifesaver. Hiring a generator could cost anything from a few hundred rands a day to a few thousand rands. This is ideal if you need a temporary solution.

READ: What R50,000 can buy you to protect your business from loadshedding

Led lights and backup batteries

Keep the lights on in your office or small store by investing in led lights. It won’t give you the same lighting as your electrical lightbulbs, but it is better than remaining in complete darkness. Some small restaurants are also setting the mood with candles!

Backup batteries are also a must for small business owners. Backup batteries can provide hours of power for your refrigerator, lightbulbs, WiFi router or TV if your business has one. They can also keep the motor for your electric gates up and running which is important for security reasons.

Power banks for small businesses

Business owners who can’t yet afford backup power options that run into the thousands can start small with power banks. They are much more affordable and can be used to power your laptops and cellphones. Sadly, they don’t last very long, and it could take some time for your device to be fully charged if you started with a low battery to begin with.

Making sure customers can make payments

Many businesses are forced to accept cash only payouts during loadshedding as without power, their systems go offline. Mobile card machines are ideal for small businesses as they are affordable and can work with your phone. You would need to charge them in advance, and some do require an internet connection so make sure you have some of the backup options above to ensure you stay connected.

READ: Six ways to work around loadshedding as a business

Want to stand a chance to win R50,000 towards your backup power needs? OUTsurance will give one lucky business owner R50,000 to make their backup power supply dreams a reality. All you need to do is WhatsApp 'lightsOUT' to 084 850 0942 to get started or click here to enter.

You could also win a live promotional spot on-air, just like these lucky winners below:

Outsurance Business Competition

Main image credit: iStock/AJ Paulsen

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