Propane service for home heating is typically a service that is set up and forgotten about. In other words, it is not part of home ownership that is commonly discussed. Yet, as many homeowners will tell you, it is among the most expensive parts of home ownership.
Considering that propane service is not commonly discussed, it makes sense to put forth an effort into interviewing several propane service providers before selecting the one that will provide your ongoing service for your home for many years into the future.
It makes sense to learn if the company is expanding (which shows that many others have confidence in the company to provide excellent service at a competitive propane price) or if the company may be losing customers due to customer dissatisfaction. A vibrant propane company that is adding new customers at a rapid pace may be more likely to provide excellent ongoing service to your home or business.
How do you find out if a company is adding or losing new business? Simply ask the company sales representative or facility manager that is responsible for new customer accounts. If the representative claims that the company is growing, ask about some of their new accounts in your area. Drive by and look at some of the propane tank installations. Are the propane tanks in the field new and/or nicely refurbished? Are the propane tanks in the field mostly eyesores with rust and poor peeling paint? If you know someone who recently started service with the company, contact them and ask their opinion of the equipment, service and propane pricing.
If you choose to become a new customer of a specific company that has a reputation for installing propane tanks with a nice appearance or propane tanks with a poor appearance, it is likely you will end of with a similar quality tank at your home or place of business. You may be looking at that propane tank for years to come on your front yard or the side of your home. Expecting a nice, clean propane tank with fresh paint and fresh decals should is not unreasonable. If you do start service with a propane company that initially installs an eyesore tank on your beautiful property, it makes sense to contact the company as soon as possible and request a propane tank that is not a visual eyesore.
As noted above, propane is not commonly discussed until their is a problem (customer runs out of fuel, non-competitive propane pricing, etc.). Do your homework around prospective propane companies to make sure your service will be nothing less than excellent in the middle of winter when you need your home heating to operate without incident.