In this guide, we’ll show you what to know and what to ask when choosing your new industrial propane supplier — even if it’s not us.
The first thing everyone asks when seeking out a new industrial propane supplier is, “how much?” And rightly so. Price is very important and you want to make sure you’re not overpaying for your propane.
However, there are other associated costs and losses that could potentially arise down the road, if you aren’t asking the right questions of your industrial propane supplier up front.
Fulfillment capabilities of your industrial propane supplier
Ask each potential industrial propane supplier candidate what their fulfillment capabilities are. This is especially important if you have a large number of locations across different regions.
When we’re talking about fulfillment, we mean two things: First, the capabilities to make sure each location is always stocked with propane.
And second, geographic reach. Does the propane supplier have the ability to surface every one of your locations and ensure a constant flow of gas? If you have locations in less populated areas of the country, this is a key topic to question. Ask the industrial propane supplier to see their service network.
If one of your locations is hard to reach or in a low-service area, the cost of having to shut down your machines until a delivery can be made could be catastrophic.
Safety and equipment
Does the industrial propane supplier offer safety training and equipment? Employees and new hires need to be trained professionally when handling flammable gases. A great supplier will offer training documentation, videos, and even their staff to assist.
Does the supplier offer safety equipment? What about tank storage cages? If you have these already – great! If not, and the industrial propane supplier doesn’t offer them, you’ll need to source a third company to install safety equipment and cages on your properties.
Ordering and billing
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but a lot of employee time is typically spent trying to order and re-order, and consolidate ordering and billing and invoicing. Ask the propane supplier about their system for tank re-ordering. Ask about their billing and invoicing system.
There is a cost to your employees’ time. The less time wasted in propane paperwork, the more savings you’re actually receiving from the cost of your propane. Do they offer online quotes?
If you need propane and you procrastinated a bit on re-ordering, will you get it in a reasonable amount of time? That is – before having to shut down and wait?
Ask your industrial propane supplier how long it typically takes to delivery your gas after you’ve ordered or re-ordered. Again, if you have more remote locations that need serviced, this is an especially important question to have answered. You don’t want to find out the answer after running dry and losing hours or days of operations.
This is important! Ask your industrial propane supplier what their blueprint is in times of short supply. Do they get propane from one source? Do they have a network of suppliers? Do they produce their own propane?
Believe it or not, many suppliers will simply inform you that you’ll be receiving less gas than you are contracted to get when supplies get tight. There’s nothing you can do about it, other than to go to another supplier and purchase the difference. Now you’re paying two bills from two providers and looking for multiple delivery trucks. Plus your personnel have to sort out paperwork for two providers now instead of one. It gets messy and can get expensive.
Don’t just ask what your supplier does in times of shortage, ask them what happens to YOU and your locations.
So there you have it. If you’re shopping for an industrial propane supplier, use this guide and come to the meeting prepared to ask all of the right questions to ensure that you and your locations will be covered. Then ask about the price 🙂