By Trent J. Johnson, Bergquist, Inc.
One of the most productive ways for your propane business to generate revenue and be profitable is through gallon growth. Now that the obvious has been stated, let’s talk about Temporary Construction Heat as a main contribution to propane gallon growth. While the word “temporary” may seem a bit strange here, it is a worthwhile endeavor, and as you’ll soon see, that word can be an incorrect term for the gallon growth achieved.
The Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) has put together some great marketing material for the construction industry, with a “Builder Outreach Bundle” under the Grow Your Gallons program. In this bundle is the statement, “build your business by building relationships.”
That is how the propane gallon growth process begins for Temporary Construction Heat — by developing these relationships with custom builders and large builder companies. To begin forming these critical relationships, it is recommended that you become a member of building associations in your service areas. Another way to get involved is to attend project manager and site supervisor safety meetings to offer a short safety presentation of proper cylinder, tank, heater, regulator, and hose locations, with pictures of correct and incorrect examples. Yet another way to build business and credibility would be to offer safety literature materials, which include simple do’s and don’ts for all construction personnel in English and other languages, for use on job sites. Finally, customer service is at the core of building any business, so be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the general contractor and provide personalized service.
Custom builders and large builder companies use Temporary Construction Heat in many applications: new housing developments, single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes, or in apartment construction. Further, more Temporary Construction Heat is used in commercial or industrial buildings and high-rises in mostly metropolitan regions. Propane equipment needed for Temporary Construction Heat includes Department of Transportation cylinders and American Society of Mechanical Engineers tanks for residential and commercial applications. It is necessary to determine lot locations for proper temporary installations of cylinders or tanks. Many local fire marshals or building inspectors have a permit process for these temporary container placements.
Routing and scheduling for Temporary Construction Heat delivery service is best achieved using tank monitors, which provide the most accurate real-time liquid level readings. Tank monitors eliminate physical on-site readings by project managers or site supervisors, eradicate days between delivery, which abolishes no fills and short fills, and remove any guesswork from delivery scheduling. Also, with each temporary tank or cylinder installed, it is possible to offer container manifold assemblies to increase vaporization and/or offer vaporizers to increase vaporization rates.
Aside from the aforementioned items, other propane equipment utilized are heaters, hoses and regulators. In the majority of residential segments, the general builder-contractor uses a safety-approved heater, with a hose/regulator assembly featuring an approximate range of 200,000 BTUs and lower. In commercial or industrial applications, 1-million to 2.5-million BTU heaters are used, with large flexible hoses, tank and hose manifold assemblies and high-pressure regulators. These larger commercial or industrial jobs can help develop a business relationship with a major third-party heater provider where typically the only equipment a propane marketer supplies is a container and regulators with gauges.
The benefit of offering Temporary Construction Heat is that it leads to future Temporary Construction Heat installations, future temporary vapor distribution installations and future permanent vapor distribution installations, which include underground and aboveground container installations.
Temporary Construction Heat can mean large gallon growth for propane businesses. By utilizing the PERC marketing materials, promoting your business with the builder and construction trades, and “building your business by building relationships,” businesses are able to increase overall growth potential. Because of those established relationships, Temporary Construction Heat can create propane gallon growth year-after-year — not just “temporarily.”
About the Author: Trent Johnson is currently the Mid-Atlantic Area Sales Manager for Bergquist, Inc., a wholesale propane equipment distributor headquartered in Toledo, OH. He has been involved with the propane industry for over 28 years, including 20 years in managerial positions with several propane retail marketers, two years as the owner of his propane-consulting business, and the last six years in his current position with Bergquist, Inc.