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  1. #1

    Oil Boiler Maintenance Company?

    I'm on Long Island (central) and I'm trying to figure out how to best handle my Oil Boiler Maintenance/Oil purchasing going forward.

    I have a 6 year old Weil-McLain boiler and Weil-McLain indirect WH. I think I use somewhere 800 gallons of oil a year.

    I had originally been using a full service oil company for a while. I had been very happy with their service and support and the service contract was "free", but I was paying probably $.40-$.50/gallon more that I could get otherwise.

    A couple of years ago, I switched to a discounted oil company and got the oil for much cheaper with a 2 year service contract. Unfortunately, one of the 2 times that I needed emergency support, they were completely unresponsive. They seem to only have 1 tech and I think the incident with me almost got him fired, so I get a bad feeling every time he comes here now. Plus, now my initial contract is up, I don't really want to pay for a new service contract with this company.

    The problem is that it seems like my options are either a full service oil company which will provide me with good service, but expensive oil or I've seen pennysaver adds for what looks like one man shop operations and then buy COD oil.

    The time my oil company was unresponsive, I found another guy to come in the middle of the night and he was good, but, while he was here, he got another call and couldn't get out there right away because we was with me. That seems like it could be a big problem.

    Where do I find a company to service my boiler for a fair annual service contract which would then allow me to buy cheap oil separately?

    Or is there some other, better way to handle this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    568

    Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by lexluthor5 View Post
    I'm on Long Island (central) and I'm trying to figure out how to best handle my Oil Boiler Maintenance/Oil purchasing going forward.

    I have a 6 year old Weil-McLain boiler and Weil-McLain indirect WH. I think I use somewhere 800 gallons of oil a year.

    I had originally been using a full service oil company for a while. I had been very happy with their service and support and the service contract was "free", but I was paying probably $.40-$.50/gallon more that I could get otherwise.

    A couple of years ago, I switched to a discounted oil company and got the oil for much cheaper with a 2 year service contract. Unfortunately, one of the 2 times that I needed emergency support, they were completely unresponsive. They seem to only have 1 tech and I think the incident with me almost got him fired, so I get a bad feeling every time he comes here now. Plus, now my initial contract is up, I don't really want to pay for a new service contract with this company.

    The problem is that it seems like my options are either a full service oil company which will provide me with good service, but expensive oil or I've seen pennysaver adds for what looks like one man shop operations and then buy COD oil.

    The time my oil company was unresponsive, I found another guy to come in the middle of the night and he was good, but, while he was here, he got another call and couldn't get out there right away because we was with me. That seems like it could be a big problem.

    Where do I find a company to service my boiler for a fair annual service contract which would then allow me to buy cheap oil separately?

    Or is there some other, better way to handle this?
    so basically you want the service of a big co. all there over head,many service techs, that can be dispatched on no heat calls,get paid good, benefits,training, but want discounted oil? ain't going to happen! why, you answered your own question, the reasn there oil is more expensive is simple there overhead is much more, it's called quality service for a price, on those cold nights and a no heat call, they'll be there! the reason the cod guys are cheaper, is simple, little over head! and they come and go, keeping trained service techs on call costs$. good luck in finding a combination of cheap oil,and a less expensive reliable service tech on call 24/7. my opinion,not going to happen!and one last thing, a 1 man operation is one broken leg,car accident,non paid bill,etc, from going out of buisness! guys who offer the lowest price don't last, why, there's always a guy going lower, i still remember crazy eddies chaep prices-gone. i remember TOPS city appliances-gone. i remeber................... gone, good luck.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MM#7 View Post
    so basically you want the service of a big co. all there over head,many service techs, that can be dispatched on no heat calls,get paid good, benefits,training, but want discounted oil? ain't going to happen! why, you answered your own question, the reasn there oil is more expensive is simple there overhead is much more, it's called quality service for a price, on those cold nights and a no heat call, they'll be there! the reason the cod guys are cheaper, is simple, little over head! and they come and go, keeping trained service techs on call costs$. good luck in finding a combination of cheap oil,and a less expensive reliable service tech on call 24/7. my opinion,not going to happen!and one last thing, a 1 man operation is one broken leg,car accident,non paid bill,etc, from going out of buisness! guys who offer the lowest price don't last, why, there's always a guy going lower, i still remember crazy eddies chaep prices-gone. i remember TOPS city appliances-gone. i remeber................... gone, good luck.
    Wow, now I'm even more confused.

    So you are saying that a company that services oil systems at a fair price and is reliable doesn't exist?

    I either need to go with the full service oil company and pay the high oil prices or use a small operation with potentially a low level service/support?

    I find that very hard to believe.

    I never said anything about finding an oil company to give me a crazy eddie boiler contract for $50/year or something like that.

    I just thought that it might be advantageous to split duties (service and oil) and that I could probably find someone to reliably service the oil system for less than the amount that I'm overpaying the full service oil company for oil (plus whatever they might charge for their contract now).

    What do others think?

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
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    Sounds to me like you don't agree on what a "fair price" is. These guys have to make a living too. I am a one man shop, and some times I am cheaper than the big guys on service, but the trade off is that there is only one of me, and I can't get to everybody in one day, so some times my customers have to wait a bit longer for service. Most will wait, because they trust me to do a good job and charge a "fair" price. Now if I had three techs working for me with insurance, a dispatcher, a parts guy, and a big shop to run it all out of, my customers would get faster service, still at a "fair" price, however that "fair" price would likely be more than the "fair" price I currently charge. Would I be making more $ per man hr? Not likely, but yes the business as a whole makes more money because there is more man hrs per day being billed out. Would my techs make more than I make at the end of the day, probably not, but they would have a job with good pay, and none of the risk. Simple business economics.
    It boils down to the old saying:
    You can have it 1-cheap 2-fast 3-good, pick any two.
    I r the king of the world!...or at least I get to stand on the roof and look down on the rest of yall

  5. #5
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    Aug 2011
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    568

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelbaron View Post
    Sounds to me like you don't agree on what a "fair price" is. These guys have to make a living too. I am a one man shop, and some times I am cheaper than the big guys on service, but the trade off is that there is only one of me, and I can't get to everybody in one day, so some times my customers have to wait a bit longer for service. Most will wait, because they trust me to do a good job and charge a "fair" price. Now if I had three techs working for me with insurance, a dispatcher, a parts guy, and a big shop to run it all out of, my customers would get faster service, still at a "fair" price, however that "fair" price would likely be more than the "fair" price I currently charge. Would I be making more $ per man hr? Not likely, but yes the business as a whole makes more money because there is more man hrs per day being billed out. Would my techs make more than I make at the end of the day, probably not, but they would have a job with good pay, and none of the risk. Simple business economics.
    It boils down to the old saying:
    You can have it 1-cheap 2-fast 3-good, pick any two.
    well said!

  6. #6
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    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    6,841
    You're really discussing value. That's the missing word in the discussion. What is the value of the peace of mind when using a full service oil company? I've worked for full service and their issues are that they have to pay all their overhead year 'round, even in summer when they're not moving much oil. The independent on the other hand has no oil product to deliver a cash stream and so must rely on service and installation as the sole source of income.

    The number of companies that are highly responsive and yet don't care where you purchase your oil are few and far between. Ours is such a company but we also service and install gas and geo-thermal systems. And yes, we charge for all calls. Some folks lose sight of the good service value and start to focus on the costs. All companies, full service oil or independent, charge for tune-ups. Most are in about the same price range as well. When it comes to emergency calls, the oil companies generally have plans that cost the customer nothing when the tech responds or there may be some charges for things other than the burner components. Independents charge for everything. So good maintenance is a must. Beyond that, the dollars you save with less expensive oil should be saved for the times when you may need some expensive parts. Overall, you'll save money but only if you can find that independent that delivers the value you seek.

    So yes, there are a limited number of companies that are independent and provide high value service. But they cost. And they're scarce. If you find one, hang on tightly. Don't worry about the tech being tied up on your job. The oil companies are just as busy and while in your 2 instances you may have gotten near instant service, there are plenty of times when the service request line is very long indeed. Nobody can have adequate personnel for extreme weather. So just understand for what your asking, keep it in context with the weather and if you want an independent, then you'll have to do some careful research to find them.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2011
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    Hmm

    Quote Originally Posted by skippedover View Post
    You're really discussing value. That's the missing word in the discussion. What is the value of the peace of mind when using a full service oil company? I've worked for full service and their issues are that they have to pay all their overhead year 'round, even in summer when they're not moving much oil. The independent on the other hand has no oil product to deliver a cash stream and so must rely on service and installation as the sole source of income.

    The number of companies that are highly responsive and yet don't care where you purchase your oil are few and far between. Ours is such a company but we also service and install gas and geo-thermal systems. And yes, we charge for all calls. Some folks lose sight of the good service value and start to focus on the costs. All companies, full service oil or independent, charge for tune-ups. Most are in about the same price range as well. When it comes to emergency calls, the oil companies generally have plans that cost the customer nothing when the tech responds or there may be some charges for things other than the burner components. Independents charge for everything. So good maintenance is a must. Beyond that, the dollars you save with less expensive oil should be saved for the times when you may need some expensive parts. Overall, you'll save money but only if you can find that independent that delivers the value you seek.

    So yes, there are a limited number of companies that are independent and provide high value service. But they cost. And they're scarce. If you find one, hang on tightly. Don't worry about the tech being tied up on your job. The oil companies are just as busy and while in your 2 instances you may have gotten near instant service, there are plenty of times when the service request line is very long indeed. Nobody can have adequate personnel for extreme weather. So just understand for what your asking, keep it in context with the weather and if you want an independent, then you'll have to do some careful research to find them.
    well said!

  8. #8
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    Massachusetts
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    Buy the discounted cod oil, and just find a good tech that'll give you a good clean and tune in the fall, and also provide emergency service.
    Pretty much what Skippedover said.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlstark View Post
    Buy the discounted cod oil, and just find a good tech that'll give you a good clean and tune in the fall, and also provide emergency service.
    Now you've got the gist of the discussion! It's "find"that's the operative word and the issue the OP is having.

  10. #10
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    I think he already found the guy skipped, he's just worried he won't be his only customer.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by skippedover View Post
    Now you've got the gist of the discussion! It's "find"that's the operative word and the issue the OP is having.
    well said, question is, how do you find a guy who's available 24/7, has the parts on his truck, 11pm on a saturday night, will show up and is good and cheap?

    a friend of mine did that route and one late w/e night had a problem on his "BLUE ANGEL BURNER", and the guy didn't have the fix on his truck? told him to wait till monday? ok, except it was 18 degrees out and sunday looked even colder, guy suggested electric heaters,or try some one else. obviously this friend of mine, called a major oil co. they fixed it, and his bill was $$$$$,
    AND HE NOW HAS A FULL SERVICE OIL CO. WITH THERE GOLD,service CONTRACT, WHICH INCLUDES sping cleaning,nozzle replacement,filter,screen replacement,co 2 test,etc. anny money this friend of mine saved went down the tubes after this repair,which would of been covered under the service agreement, ps george lanthier #1

  12. #12
    Tough room.

    Not sure how anyone gathered that there's disagreement on what a "fair price" is. I've not really talked any dollars.

    As skippedover pointed out, the problem is that I'm really not even sure where to go about finding someone fair and reliable.

    I don't really see too many ads in the pennysaver type mailings.

    As far as doing "careful research", that's why I'm here. I thought this would be a good place to do some research.

    Any further advice/ideas are appreciated.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2011
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    if you crunch the $#'s liability insurnace,buisness license,overhead,truck,truck insurance,advertizing,stock of supplies on truck that could exceed 5000$ OR MORE, TOOLS AND TEST EQUIPMENT,additional factory training,cell phone,personal health ins.,paying your own ss,disability,etc, it is very difficult for a lot of guys to be 1 armed paper hangers, so in my opinion, your options are full service oil co. or take a chance on the 1 armed paper hanger. as far as research, there isn't any, outside of someone using a independant,couldn't tell you, if it was that easy to find a 24/7 independant,while using a discount oil co. every one would be doing it! the bottom line is the amount of money a small operator has to bill out, to make it better to work for your self, as compared to a big co. makes going on your own, less and less appealing!

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