At Ideal Gas, we sell, install, and maintain propane tanks for residential use. While many companies lease residential tanks, we feel that to provide transparency, flexibility, and value at competitive prices, a residential customer will be a more satisfied customer if he or she owns the tank and has the ability to help control the price of the propane.
It is typical in the propane industry for a company to offer a “first fill” price to a customer who wants to switch propane suppliers. “First fill” just means that they will sell you gas at a low price to get your business, but the price will go up on the next delivery. Ideal Gas does not have a “first fill” price. We have a market price for residential propane that we feel is fair and competitive. Price changes occur as the market fluctuates, but we do not think it is fair to charge a customer a low price just to get the sale and then raise it the next time they order.
Own not Lease
We prefer to sell tanks instead of lease them for residential customers, because, often, if your propane company leases your tank to you, you will be locked into a long-term lease agreement with high lease fees, extra charges, and pump out and removal fees if you decide to change companies. Many propane companies prefer to lease tanks to customers because residential propane prices in Florida are traditionally the highest in the nation, and by maintaining the ownership of the tank, they are free to charge high prices with no fear that you can easily choose a different supplier.
Propane companies that prefer to lease the tanks to residential customers will argue that it is less expensive for the customer than buying a tank. While it is true that it costs more upfront to buy a tank and have it installed, we find that most customers will reach their break-even point in less than two years, and for the average propane user in Florida, they will save thousands of dollars over the next few years because there is no lease fee and they are always free to shop around if they feel the price is too high or the service is not adequate.
Most customers do not know what it costs to buy and install a propane tank. At today’s propane prices, (May, 2017) Ideal Gas’ average cost to sell, deliver, bury, hook up and fill a new 250-gallon propane tank is $2,500. For above ground tanks, it can be considerably less. If you lease a tank, lease fees, delivery fees, tank rental, and high propane costs often cost customers many times that.
The problem is, it can be very confusing and frustrating for a customer to change companies if they are currently leasing a tank from a company. The reason is that it is against the state code for a propane company to fill a tank that another company owns, unless the company that owns the tank gives the new company permission. So, if you have a propane company filling your tank, there are several steps you must take in order to switch companies:
- Call the company you are buying from and ask who owns the tank.
- If they tell you that they own it, ask to see paperwork that you have signed.
- If they have the paperwork, you should abide by the contract that you have signed.
- If they cannot provide the paperwork, you have to decide if you want to challenge their ownership rights to the tank.
Once ownership rights have been determined, and you have decided to switch companies, the company that you have decided to do business with is free to either fill the tank if you have proof that you own it (A bill of sale) or replace the tank that is there with one you have purchased from your new company. Sometimes a tank “swap” can be worked out between the old propane company and the new propane company. That means that you purchase a tank from the new company, they deliver that tank to the old company, and you get ownership of the one that is already installed at your property. The advantage here is that there is no installation required and you now own your own tank and the freedoms that come with it. The catch here is that your old company is the one who decides. As the owner of the tank on your property, that company can decide that it doesn’t want to make the swap.
We know that this can be complicated, but for the educated customer, the savings can be significant.
For this reason, we have trained our personnel to help guide you through this process. To speak with one of our associates, call 904-417-6470.