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Office water service has grown to become an integral part of life in the corporate workplace. The image of fellow coworkers standing around the water cooler and talking about the weather, last weekend's activities, or their friends and family has been so ingrained in our minds that it has nearly become symbolic. The water cooler is no longer merely a source of refreshment during a hard day's work, it is also a communal gathering spot.

Because of the role that office water service has come to play in our current society, it is essential for workplaces to be supplied with sufficient amounts of water. Drinking water not only causes employees to stay healthy and remain sharper throughout the course of the day, it also improves the overall morale of the office. Of course, there are a plethora of water delivery services available. In order to make an intelligent decision about which water provider is best equipped to serve your particular company, this buyer's guide has been created to explain the different types of water and water systems, costs and pricing, and how to choose the right vendor for you.

To start off, let's take a look at the different types of water that you can get. Water distribution companies will often label their water containers as "mineral water" or "spring water". In order to prevent water companies from being dishonest about their products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains strict requirements that the companies must follow before making use of these labels. For example, in order to use the label "mineral water", the water must contain a predetermined minimum amount of minerals. The minerals must also occur in nature, and cannot be added by the company themselves.

When it comes to water systems commonly used in the workplace, there are two basic types available. The first type is bottled water, which is first purified at the plant and then brought to the workplace in some sort of container. From there, it is poured into the office water cooler, which then dispenses it to each of the employees. The other type of water system is called a point-of-use water cooler. This type is becoming more popular these days because it is more environmentally friendly than using bottled water. Point-of-use water coolers take advantage of the workplace's own water source. The water cooler then purifies the water on-site, making it safe to drink. Another positive side to point-of-use water coolers is that they do not require as much maintenance as bottled water coolers. 

Of course, with any company, the most important factor in a majority of the decisions is related directly to how they will effect that company's bottom line. Because of the fact that the primary goal in business is always to make a profit, any acquisition of water service that is made must keep in mind what the service's cost is. Fortunately, most water services are relatively affordable. 

Typically, companies that provide office water service will require payments to be made on a monthly basis. The exact price that they charge will depend on both what type of water system you will use, as well as how much water you will be needing. For vendors that deliver bottled water service, you can expect to pay somewhere between $6 and $9 per bottle each month. Naturally, how many bottles you need will depend largely on the number of employees that will be using the water cooler. For a point-of-use water system, the monthly fee generally tends to be a flat fee of around $35 per month or so. In terms of which option is most economically viable for your individual situation, you have to figure out how many employees you have and crunch the numbers for each pricing system. As a general rule of thumb, however, the more water you need each month, the more sense it makes to ditch the bottled water option and go with point-of-use instead.

Now that this buyer's guide has provided you with a comprehensive list of the many pros and cons of each type of water system, you have to go about the process of deciding which water vendor is the best option for your place of work. One important factor to consider is the vendor's level of flexibility. Some vendors may require you to commit to long contracts, while others may be willing to work with you for shorter periods as well, if you prefer. Another thing to take into account is whether the vendor is able to provide you with any other services. Some vendors, for example, will provide your office with other beverages on occasion, which will cut down on the cost of general break room supplies.

One of the most basic things you must find out about your vendor is how often they deliver their product. It is important that their rate of delivery coincides with your water needs. If your workers go through so much water that the water cooler must be refilled every week, you shouldn't work with a vendor that is only willing to deliver once a month. Otherwise, you will end up having some very grouchy employees on your hands. Lastly, you should inquire about what kind of maintenance service the vendor offers. There's always a possibility of something going awry, and you need to know if they will fix it for free or charge extra.