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Questions to ask your supplier.

Questions to ask your propane supplier

It’s so important to ask a potential supplier all the questions you have about their service. Use this handy guide of questions you should be asking.

What are your delivery options?

Normally, there are two to choose from. Both work for some customers, but, possibly not for others.

  • Automatic delivery – This is based on your estimated usage of propane. Your supplier will schedule deliveries automatically to keep your propane tank or tanks full regularly without you having to call and arrange anything.
  • As needed delivery – If you prefer to monitor your own propane usage yourself, you just call your supplier when you need a delivery. However, often some restrictions may apply.

What you need to understand about propane prices and additional fees:

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It’s vital to ask if any supplier you are considering has any of the following charges and compare the pricing/charges with different propane companies:

Storage Tank Installation Fees – Ask the following questions:

  • Do they have a fee for new tank installation and setup?
  • Are there monthly lease or rental fees, if you do not own your own tank?

Minimum Monthly Purchases – Ask the following questions:

  • Are there minimum monthly purchase requirements?
  • If the answer is “yes,” do you meet the minimum? If not, what are your options?

Propane Delivery Fees – Ask the following questions:

  • Is there a cost for propane deliveries?
  • Or, is there a fee for transportation of propane fuel?

These fees, if suppliers charge them, typically involve the number and volume (gallons) of propane fuel you need at deliveries.

Disconnect Charges for Tank Pickup – Ask the following question:

  • Are there any fees for disconnecting and/or tank removal, if you change suppliers or fuel type?

You should understand that many propane suppliers have administrative costs for service closeouts and removing propane tanks without the possibility of continuing cash flow from soon-to-be formerly active customers.

Early Termination Fees – Ask the following question:

  • Are there are early termination fees and what specific actions trigger this charge?

If you have a fixed-term contract with your supplier and you terminate service early, your contract language should specify any charges associated with your early termination of the contract. These fees are becoming standard charges for most propane delivery firms.

What about certification and/or registration?

Always include the following questions in research and comparison of propane suppliers:

  • Are the suppliers’ team, including propane techs and drivers, nationally certified? If not, ask this follow up question: Why not?
  • Is the propane supplier registered in your state? All propane dealers must register with a State Department (varies from state-to-state) to be permitted to sell and deliver propane. Avoid any provider who tries to dodge this question.
  • Are they insured in their state? Propane services providers should be insured before they set foot on your property.

What you should expect, and deserve, from their customer service and support:

24/7 Customer Service

When you need service, you typically need it right away! When sourcing a local propane supplier, always, ask these questions, at a minimum:

  • Do you offer 24/7 customer service? Most problems tend to arise beyond workday hours so you need to be sure the supplier is available if it happens to you.
  • Will I reach a live customer service representative (CSR) when I call, regardless of the time?
  • Does the propane supplier provide after hours emergency services?
  • What service limitations, if any, exist for emergencies, such as gas leaks, heating system repairs, hot water systems, and generator repairs? By definition, emergencies seldom put themselves “on hold” until the next workday.

Check the supplier’s safety records and customer satisfaction ratings.

As with any other home service, always check the safety record of propane suppliers you’re considering. Here’s some tips on how to do this:

  • Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They track any customer complaints and problems that a BBB member may have experienced and records how the company handled the problem and/or resolved it to their satisfaction.
  • Do not immediately take a company with multiple complaints out of the running until you evaluate their responses to any recorded problems. By researching how timely the company responded, and how they resolved any complaints or problems, you could learn that they respond quickly and effectively to problems, quickly creating happy customers from dissatisfied ones.
  • Check out customer testimonials and reviews on independent websites. Going to the company’s website is also a way to do this, but you should realize that companies seldom post negative information. You’ll still get some “flavor” for customer satisfaction. Also, be sure that all customer reviews are real (with names and/or pictures) and not written by the company. You can find customer reviews at a number of other websites that have no relationship with individual companies. Just do a search for the supplier’s (include their name) customer reviews and/or complaints.

The local propane supplier that you can trust.

If you are looking for a new propane company, Patriot Propane - a Leffler Energy company - has all the propane services you need. Call 1.866.305.7237 today to ask any questions about choosing the best local propane supplier for you.

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