Ferrellgas

Ferrellgas is the United States’ third largest propane company. Founded in 1939, it provides propane to over one million customers through its 924 outlets in all 50 states.

Recommendation

If available in your area, rent a tank and select a fixed pricing option with automatic delivery on a budget payment plan. This way, you will have the best chance of getting a good price per gallon, you will not have to worry about running out of propane, and you will be able to spread payments out over several months to offset the considerable sum that filling a propane tank represents.

Ferrellgas summary

 

Description

Issues to consider

Ferrellgas services

Propane, tank installation, construction, system maintenance.

Assess your propane needs and ask that your quote takes them into account in as much detail as possible.

Ferrellgas safety record

Excellent. 24/7 emergency line.

When requesting a quote, check the company’s local safety record.

Ferrellgas business reputation

Very good.

Find out how responsive your local customer care number is by calling it once you have a quote.

Ferrellgas propane price

Of the three national propane companies, Ferrellgas is the second cheapest for Ohio, which is the state closest to the national average in terms of propane prices in March 2013.

Compare the price you are quoted with market price trends.

Ferrellgas delivery options

Pay-by-delivery and automatic delivery.

Consider whether you would prefer to order your own propane or have it delivered automatically by the company on the basis of a usage assessment.

Ferrellgas pricing options

Fixed pricing, market pricing and budget planning.

Decide if you prefer paying for propane in one installment or on a monthly budget plan and whether you prefer monitoring market price trends to order propane or have propane sold to you at a fixed price.

Ferrellgas fees and charges

Safety, transportation, tank rent, minimum purchase, off-route delivery, emergency delivery, excess propane removal, company meter use, tank removal, late payment / bounced check.

Establish what you might be billed for and what maintenance options you prefer.

Ferrellgas location map

Ferrellgas safety record

Like all other national propane companies, Ferrellgas places significant emphasis on propane safety and has a 24/7 emergency number. The Ferrellgas Quality Review enables the company to assess each propane location in terms of safety through 240 different criteria. Besides outside propane system inspections and leak-detection system checks, Ferrellgas offers customer safety training and various online guidelines to help customers familiarize themselves with propane safety issues such as weather conditions, appliance pilot lights, carbon monoxide, etc.

It is a member of the National Propane Gas Association and takes part in the Propane Research and Education Council. This means that it is held to the highest consumer and employee standards through training on compliance with federal, state and local regulations. This explains why Ferrellgas charges a HAZMAT fee (propane is considered to be a hazardous material).

Ferrellgas business reputation

Online customer complaints reports indicate that Ferrellgas has a very good business reputation, with close to 80% of all complaints solved to the customer’s satisfaction (88%). However, its business record is slightly less exemplary than Amerigas (around 90%) or Suburban Propane (93%). Spot calls to random Ferrellgas offices show that customer service is excellent but this depends on the staff at each outlet so you should check your local office and see how well and politely they respond to your questions.

Ferrellgas propane price

Ferrellgas lists the criteria influencing its daily propane price: commodity prices, supply points, transportation costs, storage costs, customer location, consumption, whether the tank is owned or leased and whether the customer’s propane is delivered automatically or not. It is common for propane prices to also be influenced by weather patterns as these affect supply and demand, especially in winter (prices increase with higher demand). The following graph shows propane price trends over the 2012-2013 winter season (source: US EIA).

2012-2013 winter season propane price trends - US EIA

When looking at the country’s three largest propane companies (Amerigas, Ferrellgas and Suburban Propane), Ferrellgas offers the second lowest price in Ohio (closest state to the national average price):

Company

First fill (dollars/gallon)

Next fill (dollars/gallon)

Amerigas

1.699

2.099

Ferrellgas

1.499

2.370

Suburban Propane

1.799

2.599

Ferrellgas Will Call

Ferrellgas’ flexible Will Call service allows customers to decide when they want propane delivered. When you notice that your tank gauge has fallen under 30%, you simply call your local Ferrellgas office and order as much propane as is required to fill your tank. It is recommended that you check the price Ferrellgas is charging per gallon (“current daily price”) to ensure it is in line with market price trends in your area.

Will Call is a convenient delivery option if you want to plan your propane deliveries to benefit from the best propane price per gallon. Indeed, if you do not use much propane or have a large tank capacity, Will Call allows you to buy propane from Ferrellgas when it is cheapest, such as in summer, thus avoiding price increases in winter. Propane delivery planning requires knowing how much propane you use and Ferrellgas should be able to provide you with an estimate.

The inconvenience of Ferrellgas’ Will Call service is that should you run out of propane (by forgetting to check your tank gauge, for example), your propane appliances will no longer operate. More seriously, you will need to have a leak test performed (this is a legal requirement whenever gas supply is interrupted; it can cost over $100). Also, if you order an emergency propane delivery because your tank is empty, Ferrellgas will charge you an Emergency Delivery fee of up to $200.

Ferrellgas Keep Full and Smart Fill

Should you want or need to avoid having to call Ferrellgas for each propane delivery, the Keep Full service allows Ferrellgas to deliver propane automatically on the basis of the company’s consumption estimate for your home and weather patterns. Ferrellgas includes number of occupants, propane appliances and home isolation in its usage estimate for each home. When their system indicates that your tank is about to fall below 30% capacity, it schedules a delivery.

Besides needing credit approval to qualify for Keep Full, customers should be aware that it is in their interest to call Ferrellgas regularly to check the daily propane price and ensure that it reflects general market trends. This is recommended insofar as propane prices are set at the discretion of propane companies and vary considerably from one user to another.

Ferrellgas offers another – more sophisticated – automatic filling solution: SmartFill rests on the installation of a transmitter that monitors your propane level and sends Ferrellgas the information directly, making deliveries more accurate. The SmartFill option is versatile and particularly useful if you want your deliveries to be as precise and timely as possible, or if you have variable consumption patterns, like in a secondary home.

Ferrellgas payment options

Unlike Amerigas, which boasts guaranteed pricing options for propane, Ferrellgas tends to charge its customers the market price for propane deliveries, which fluctuates as indicated above. However, Internet reports indicate that there is a possibility of negotiating a fixed price per gallon of propane for the year when in a propane supply agreement with Ferrellgas.

Either way, your only way of ensuring the price you pay for propane (fixed or floating) is fair is by checking the market price trends and negotiating with Ferrellgas to see how close you can get. Once more, pricing will depend on a variety of factors but given that the market is not regulated, propane companies have significant leeway.

Notwithstanding, Ferrellgas boasts a number of payment options to suit customer needs. Like all other propane companies, Ferrellgas enables customers to pay their propane bill in one installment, whether on Will Call or Keep Full / SmartFill. However, customers who prefer to pay in nine to 12 monthly payments can select the Budget Billing program at no extra cost provided you have credit approval and a zero balance at the time you request the service.

Customers on the Budget Billing program are charged for propane based on consumption over the past 12 or 24 months, on the market price at the time of purchase or on the price that you have negotiated with Ferrellgas. Budget Billing customers see their usage estimates adjusted every quarter to reflect any usage variation and propane price changes.

Ferrellgas payment methods

Ferrellgas offers customers six payment methods for their propane deliveries:

  • With Automatic Payment, your bill is automatically charged to your bank or credit card account.
  • Online Payment enables you to pay your bills online through the online Ferrellgas Customer Connection.
  • Similarly, you can pay for propane bill by phone by calling the national call centre (1-866-606-3266) or your local Ferrellgas office.
  • Ferrellgas customers can also choose to mail their propane payments by mailing the remit coupon at the bottom of their statements.
  • Credit approval enables Ferrellgas clients to pay for their propane 30 days after each delivery through the Net 30 option.
  • With Pay in Advance, Ferrellgas encourages customers who wish to do so to decide on the propane they need and pay for it before delivery. This is convenient for delivery planning.

Ferrellgas propane tanks

Ferrellgas customers have the option of either purchasing or renting propane tanks from their propane company. Both underground and aboveground tanks are available in several sizes (120-1,500 gallons).

The company has aboveground tanks available for an annual rental charge (the amount depends on the tank size but prices generally vary between $50-250 per year). Ferrellgas also offers lease-to-own solutions for underground propane tanks: customers pay an annual fee but have the option of purchasing the tank at a reduced price.

This system is practical insofar as customer-owned tanks enable propane users to buy propane at a reduced price. If you opt for this solution you should ensure that the tank purchase terms and conditions are clear in your propane supply agreement with Ferrellgas.

Customers who are not sure of the best solution are invited to call Ferrellgas to get advice on whether it is best to rent or buy a propane tank and what size tank is necessary. Before you call, it is recommended to assess what you need propane for and check your regional propane price trends (e.g., $2.413/gal national average for December 2012).

Generally, aboveground tanks are less expensive (to buy or to lease) but underground tanks are less of an eye-sore on your property since you hardly see them. Furthermore, although larger propane tanks are more expensive than smaller ones they enable propane users to better plan propane deliveries and order propane when the gallon is at its lowest (summer). These are criteria to bear in mind when calling requesting a quote from Ferrellgas.

Ferrellgas fees and charges

 

Description

Maximum Price

Tank Pump-Out Charge

Excess propane removal.

Depends on labor costs.

Tank Pick-Up Charge

Tank removal.

Depends on labor costs.

Minimum Delivery

Minimum propane order.

$150

Low Usage

Order below amount in contract.

$150

Off-Route Delivery

Off-route propane order.

$150

Emergency Delivery

After-hours propane order.

$200

Fuel Surcharge

Transportation costs.

Depends on fuel costs.

HAZMAT

Safety training.

$15.99

Read Meter

Using dealer meter for consumption

Depends on labor costs.

Meter Gas Minimum

Meter customer fee

$20

Tank Rent

Renting a company tank

Depends on tank.

Maintenance

Maintaining equipment

Depends on labor costs.

Late Charge

Late payment

1.5% of amount due/month

Returned Check

Bounced check

$25

Should you wish to stop your propane service, you might need to have your tank emptied and removed. Ferrellgas’ Tank Pump Out Charge, needed when emptying propane from a tank that is over 5% capacity (when it is illegal to move) varies according to labor costs. The same goes for Ferrellgas’ Tank Pick Up Charge, which Ferrellgas imposes on customers wishing to have a rented tank removed from their property.

If a Ferrellgas customer orders less than 200 gallons of propane for a tank that has a 500-gallon or more capacity, or less than is necessary to fill a tank that is under 500-gallons to 60% capacity, the company requires a Minimum Delivery fee that can reach $150. Generally, customers who rent tanks from Ferrellgas but use less propane than initially planned can be asked to pay a Low Usage fee of up to $150.

A Ferrellgas customer that is off-route (not on the Ferrellgas delivery map) but needs a propane delivery during business hours will be charged up an Off-Route Delivery fee of up to $150. Similarly, customers who need propane after hours or on weekends will be required to pay an Emergency Delivery fee of up to $200.

Like all propane suppliers, Ferrellgas’ delivery costs are influenced by the price of fuel. When this price increases significantly customers may be charged a Fuel Surcharge (the amount depends on how much the price of fuel fluctuates).

A hazardous materials (HAZMAT) fee is decided for each delivery (up to $15.99) to offset Ferrellgas safety and compliance investments. Indeed, the company’s safety record is partly due to its extensive employee and customer training program.

Customers who use Ferrellgas meters are charged an hourly rate (Read Meter Fee) to process their last bill and meter service customers have to pay a Meter Gas Minimum Fee of $20 per month.

Ferrellgas charges a variable Tank Rent fee for customers who use propane stored in a Ferrellgas-rented tank. The yearly fee varies depending on your propane supply agreement and is mostly influenced by the size of your tank (the larger the tank, the higher the fee) and whether it is aboveground or underground (underground tank rental fees are highest).

The company also charges a variable hourly rate for installation, maintenance or removal work on equipment (for example, piping, appliances, tank, etc.).

Last, when customers are late in paying their propane bills Ferrellgas charges 1.5% of the amount due after 30 days and a further 1.5% of this amount every 30 days that follow. Should a customer’s check, draft or transfer be returned, a $25 penalty fee applies.

Ferrellgas services

Ferrellgas’ Meter Service involves installing a meter between the tank and the home system to work out exactly how much propane a home really uses. Meter Service customers are only billed for the propane consumed and not for the propane delivered in the Ferrellgas tank located on the property.

The company offers maintenance, repair, testing or inspection services for residential propane systems. These services, when used for customer-owned equipment, are charged to the customer at local labor rates. When Ferrellgas equipment needs maintenance, repairs, testing or inspection, on the other hand, the company bears the cost. It is crucial to have your propane company explicitly what services you can reasonably expect to need and what it might cost you as you shop around for the best propane company.

Ferrellgas offers a number of products, such as tanks (see above), equipment (for example, regulators, piping, valves), or appliances. It can be convenient to have a single number for your entire propane system, especially if most of the equipment is rented from the propane company.

Ferrellgas community involvement

Ferrellgas’ community involvement is twofold. Firstly, it has a fleet of Charity Propane Delivery Trucks to promote various causes: the Desert Camouflage and Blue Rhino USO trucks (for United Service Organizations to support men and women in the army), the Fallen Patriots Truck (for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation), the Autism Awareness Truck (for the Autistic Society), the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Benefit Truck (to raise awareness on blood cancers), the Desert Camouflage Truck (to help the Navy Wives Food Locker), the Multiple Sclerosis Truck (to raise awareness about the fight against MS), the Diabetes Truck (to support the American Diabetes Association) and the two Breast Cancer Awareness trucks (to raise awareness on breast cancer in Louisville, Kentucky and in Kansas City).

Secondly, Ferrellgas is directly involved in a number of initiatives: the company sponsors the yearly Kansas City Chiefs Charity Game (organized by the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired); it helps the Dream Factory of Kansas City by organizing the Ferrellgas Dream Factory Classic Golf Tournament; its pink propane delivery trucks promote the fight against breast cancer and support Susan G. Komen for the Cure; through Cells for Cells, it supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by recycling or reselling cell phones it has collected; through Harvesters, it assists Feeding America by collecting cash and non-perishable food donations.