Hard to believe but winter is right around the corner. Have you placed your order for fuel oil or propane?
Chances are your fuel oil (home heating oil) and / or propane delivery company from last year has already contacted you about this year.
Have you taken action? Are you still shopping around? Most families compare pricing from one year to the next so if you are still researching fuel oil prices you are in good company.
H.B. McClure has been delivering home heating oil and propane to central Pennsylvanians for nearly 100 years. While we’d like you to choose us as your home heating delivery company, we are also happy to provide some tips and pointers when it comes to comparing your fuel oil providers (and propane can vary from company to company too!).
If you are looking for fuel oil prices and providers, here are things to consider:
1. A good fuel oil provider is not all about price. Consider the two Rs: Reliability and Resources.
Reliability means that you won’t run out of oil or propane. If you sign up for an Automatic Fuel Oil Delivery Program, you will receive oil when you are supposed to. Not when it’s too late. How can you determine this? Ask each company you interview what the terms of their Automatic Delivery Program are. Then, ask for references. Check no less than 3 clients.
Resources means the ability to maintain your home heating equipment to ensure that you are warm and toasty all winter long. Some fuel oil companies in Central PA only deliver oil. They don’t have the ability to inspect, repair or replace your equipment if something goes wrong. That means if you have a no-heat emergency, such as your furnace on the fritz, you will need to find and secure an appointment with another HVAC company – in a pinch! Does that sound like something you’ll want to do?
Consider selecting a full service fuel oil provider like H.B McClure that delivers, inspects, services and can replace your equipment.
2. Special offers
Here is where things get tricky for families who are searching for new home heating oil providers or propane delivery companies in central PA. What are the full terms of any offer being promoted by a provider? A big red flag we often hear about is hidden delivery charges (something we don’t have but believe it or not, some companies do!). That means you get a low per gallon price (or another incentive) but when the oil is delivered, there is a surprise delivery surcharge that dramatically increases the cost and eliminates the savings provided by the offer.
Ask about the full terms of the offer: What additional fees are associated with ordering and delivery? What fees are associated with service and emergency calls? How long does the special offer last?
Many companies offer discounts. Be sure to consider combination discounts (such as new customer discounts on top of Electronic Funds Transfer discounts on top of senior citizen discounts). Sometimes, creative planning can help lower your per gallon cost while still providing the security of working with a reliable provider. Be sure to understand the terms, including cancellation penalties!
4. Add On Offerings (Bonuses)
You may decide to choose a provider even though the price isn’t the lowest but the added value and the reputation are worth a great deal to you. For example, in addition to offering highly competitive pricing, H.B. McClure also offers a free oil system evaluation and efficiency test to new customers (a $69 value). This offer combined with our other discounts, great pricing and reliability make working with H.B. a winning financial proposition. Ask your other providers what extras they will be providing as part their home heating oil contract. Compare TOTAL value not just the cost per gallon.
When it comes to selecting a fuel oil delivery company in central Pennsylvania, there is more to consider than just the price of oil per gallon. Consider flexible pricing, terms, reputation and more.
At H.B. McClure, we wish you no hassles — just heat!