Looking for a service to bring drinkable water to your office on a regular basis?
If you are looking to sign up for a service to bring drinkable water to your office on a regular basis, you'll need to make some decisions first. We've identified the first five questions you'll want to ask yourself to make sure you end up with a service that actually meets your needs.
1. What kind of water to deliver
Decide on the kind(s) of water that your employees prefer to drink and that you're willing to provide. Then find a delivery service that offers it. Not all services will offer all types. The most common options that these services provide include distilled, mineral, purified and spring water. There's also sparkling, flavored and seltzer, for those looking for that.
Editor's note: Is your business looking for a water delivery service? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone connect you with vendors that can help.
If you're not already familiar with these types of water, a quick online search can help you better understand their differences and how they may affect taste.
Generally speaking, spring water comes from an underground source and still contains all its natural minerals. Distilled water is heated, converted to steam, and turned back into water to free it of minerals and particles. Purified water can come from just about anywhere, but it's been distilled, deionized or carbon filtered to remove any chemicals or contaminants.
Bubbles present a lot more potential for confusion. Mineral water, which is often effervescent, is water that contains various minerals such as salts or sulfur. Seltzer is made by carbonating regular drinking water with carbon dioxide (CO2). Club soda similarly uses CO2, but it adds various minerals such as biodium bicarbonate or disodium phosphate. Tonic water contains quinine and sugars.
If you want flavored water, you'll have to decide between sweetened and unsweetened options. You can often add flavors to any of these types of water.
2. How much water you need
How many people will be drinking the water, and how much will each person drink? This will vary from one company to another. But Costco, for example, offers a plan in which its water service can deliver up to 50 5-gallon water bottles every month to your office. It estimates that this is the average monthly consumption for an office of 30-50 employees. You may need more deliveries if your office has more people.
3. How often you want delivery
Decide on a delivery schedule that works best for your office's consumption and budget. Are one-time deliveries on an as-needed basis sufficient, or should you sign up for a subscription? [Interested in water delivery services? Check out our reviews.]
Be aware that some of subscription plans are rigid. For example, Costco's water delivery requires an annual subscription, paid upfront, and you must take delivery of at least three 5-gallon water bottles every four weeks.
Crystal Springs offers a flexible plan that allows you to skip deliveries if needed and change the amount of water delivered each month. Other services may not let you skip months, so you'll want to read the fine print.
4. Bottles and coolers/dispensers
For dispensing through a water cooler, 3- and 5-gallon bottles are the standard sizes for water delivery. But some services may require that you buy or lease a cooler from them. The spouts and shape of their bottles may even have be designed to be incompatible with generic water coolers. DrinkMore's bottles are specially designed to work with their water coolers; together, they supposedly keep out dust and other contaminants. DrinkMore offers an extensive line of coolers, including bottom-load and countertop models made of ceramic or stainless steel.
When you sign up with Culligan, the subscription fee covers the cost or rental of a water cooler. Either way, you need a Culligan cooler to enjoy its service.
Other companies don't deliver large-gallon bottles meant to be dispensed through a cooler, but smaller, individual-use bottles for personal consumption. Fiji sells water in bottles of four sizes: 330 milliliters (in a pack of 36), 500 milliliters (pack of 24), 1 liter and 1.5 liters. But ordering delivery of water in packs of small plastic bottles may go against the cost-saving purpose of signing up for bulk water delivery.
Some companies cut out the delivery aspect of providing water by tapping into a building's water source and running it through their proprietary machines to purify or clean the water, so it'll never need to deliver or pick up bottles.
5. Regional considerations
Many water delivery services are small or midsize businesses that serve specific regions of the country. This is often the case if they deliver water from a nearby spring. ReadyRefresh offers regional spring water in New York and other New England states but doesn't deliver nationwide.
A larger company may assign the delivery to a smaller contractor in a particular region. Costco Water offers delivery by several companies, depending on where your office is located. These companies include Crystal Springs, Mount Olympus and Sparkletts.
If Culligan is available in your area, it has a representative who lives in your community. This person is knowledgeable about your local water quality and options.