To see how varied New England home heating oil prices are... Compare Them! You'll be suprised by the range of prices you see here. But each oil company is managed differently, and each services their clients somewhat differently. During the pre-buy season, I've called around to several companies and not only asked them what price their pre-buy rate was, but what the terms of their contract were.
Cheapest isn't always best... Don't we all have an example of a time when we'd wished we hadn't gone "cheap" because it ended up costing us so much more? Roy Bros. Oil added an addendum to their pre-buy contract this year. For a reasonable fee, our rate would drop in the event oil rates dropped below our pre-buy rate. This made sense. I paid $3.949 for my fuel, and figured it would have to drop at lease 20 cents to make up for the difference I paid in that extra fee. It did. Not all oil companies had such a contract and I know some who are stuck with a pre-buy rate of over $4! (I assume several of their clients are going with the current rate of fuel and hoping to take a credit back from their pre-buy account at the end of the season!)
Buying Oil is Like Selling Real Estate... So let's compare it to real estate for a moment. If a potential client called around looking for the "cheapest" commission rate in their local area, wouldn't it make sense for them to find out what the terms are, essentially, what is the service they will be provided? But to go one step further on that, what additional value does that agent or real estate firm bring to that potential client?
Is it that they have the largest network in the region?
Is it that the agent really truly connects with those clients?
Is it that they have a large support and administrative staff around to help relieve the agents of time consuming duties, freeing up more time for them to work with their clients?
If I were buying a house, or selling one, these are things that I would consider when looking for the right agent or firm to work with. I would also want to work with someone who can share with me current market trends and industry changes.
My own reasons for using Roy Bros. Oil, for example, is that they are very consumer friendly, with a good separation of duties, have plenty of support in each department, and provide a great service to their customers time after time. Their long time staff and extremely knowlegable oil and propane salesperson has helped me understand better the changes going on in the oil industry.
So this is my attempt to compare real estate to oil. I hope you enjoyed it.