When it comes to choosing a fuel supplier there can be many different companies to choose from. Having options can be great for the consumer, but it can also be confusing when it comes to making a decision. So how can you choose the best fuel supplier for your needs? Start by asking some questions!
Price can be a big factor for many people when it comes to choosing a fuel supplier and many people choose to shop around for each delivery. The upside is you will probably get the lowest price for your fuel, the downside is you don’t have a solid relationship with one fuel oil dealer which is important when an emergency arises – and they do.
Before you start shopping and decide on your path let’s help you understand how pricing is determined.
It’s perfectly ok to ask a fuel oil dealer how they determine their pricing. Are they based on local supply or national supply? Is there an introductory price, and if so, how long is it good for, what is the regular price for the subsequent deliveries? As with gasoline, most heating fuel pricing does fluctuate based on the economy, supply, and demand, etc. Each company will have a slightly different price per gallon, because all prices are based on a margin. The amount of margin is what they charge on top of the market price, allowing them to make a profit. If you are pricing out propane fuel, make sure to inquire about tank rental fees if you don’t own your tanks.
How do they handle emergencies? What happens if you are super low on fuel or run out? If you sign up for automatic delivery this most likely will not be an issue, but if you are a will call customer, you could find yourself in a predicament if you aren’t tracking your usage accurately. It’s important to know if the company will deliver in a pinch or even on a holiday or if you’ll have to wait a few days for a fill. You should also inquire if there is an additional charge for emergency deliveries. Regardless of the type of customer you are, you will want to know if the company has a 24/7 delivery service and their fees. One of the perks to dealing with one dealer is you now become a priority over the will call customers.
If you also plan to use your fuel supplier to service your equipment, you’ll want to get details on any service contracts, maintenance plans, etc. that they may offer and what they cover.
Do they offer payment plans or pre-buys? Filling your tank is no small purchase. Being able to spread your payments over 12 months vs. paying for the bulk of your usage at the time of delivery in the Winter may be a big pro to people who find it easier to budget year round. It’s a personal preference but something to consider when choosing a fuel supplier. Some companies also allow you to pre-buy your fuel during the Summer at a set price. They estimate the amount you will use for the year and then allow you to buy your fuel early and have it delivered as needed over the course of the year.
When it comes to choosing a fuel supplier, there are many factors to consider beyond price. You’ll want to choose a company that not only values your business but offers you fuel at a fair price and has excellent service. At Baribault Fuel, we’ve been your neighbors for almost a century because we believe that our customer service is what sets us apart from the competition. Give us a call today!