It's important to look beyond propane prices to dependability and service
Price is an important factor when it comes to choosing a new propane gas supplier to fuel your home. But the truth is, your propane company should serve you with more than fair prices.
Your propane gas company is an important player in keeping your home and family secure - with working heat, functioning appliances, and reliable service in the event of an emergency.
10 Questions You Should Ask When Shopping for a New Propane Supplier
1. Do you offer automatic delivery?
Automatic propane delivery keeps your home fueled without you needing to worry about checking your tank - ever! A propane company should have the ability to keep track of your usage - through a monitor or other device so you don’t have to.
2. Do you offer online or automatic payment options?
The convenience of online payments can’t be ignored. It simplifies the payment process on both ends!
3. Do you lease tanks or do I have to purchase my own?
Leasing vs. Buying propane tanks is a very important consideration, especially when it comes to switching propane companies.
- Leasing tanks offers the convenience of lower initial costs and maintenance covered by the propane company. You usually must purchase propane from the supplier that leases your tank. Switching suppliers will result in termination of the lease.
- Buying a tank is more expensive up front (approximately $1,500 for a 500 gallon underground propane tank), but you have the freedom to shop around for propane. Most companies are happy to work with you on maintenance if you purchase propane from them.
4. How can I transfer ownership of the leased tank if I change propane companies?
Sometimes the propane tank itself is owned by the Propane company. Ask what their policy is to help yourself avoid a hassle of excavation and reinstallation.
5. Do you offer free tank installation?
Tank installation can cost $500-$1,000. Ask your propane supplier if they have any special offers to free underground tank installation for new customers - it is an investment for them!
6. Is my propane tank or other appliance under warranty?
A warranty on your propane tank or appliance will save you time and money in case something goes wrong.
7. Do you offer maintenance for my other propane appliances, such as my hot water heater, stove, or fireplace?
A one-stop-shop is always convenient! If that is important to you, ask your propane company if they are able to handle simple repairs on other appliances around your home.
8. Can you hook my propane tank up to my propane generator?
When the power goes out - you want to keep your home running. Ask if the company offers options to fuel your propane generator. Kauffman Gas offers a special generator program with automatic refills.
9. Do you offer a pre-buy propane program at a fixed rate for Winter?
Pre-buying propane at a fixed rate can potentially save you hundreds when Winter prices spike to their seasonal peak.
10. What is your safety record?
Finally, you should ask the company about their commitment to safety. Propane is a safe fuel, but mishandling it has severe consequences. They should be able to provide their safety record as well as any regulatory programs in which they take. Your propane supplier should also be able to educate you about propane gas safety, signs of a leakage, and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Other things to check out
- Testimonials - Check Facebook, Yelp, Google Plus, Angie’s List, and other sites to see what actual customers had to say. Look for the good AND the bad. They both tell a story!
- Social Activity - Does it look like people like engaging with the company? Or is it a one way conversation? When customers are engaged, it shows the company is valued.
- Better Business Bureau - If there have been formal complaints filed with the BBB, this should be a major red flag.