If you have experienced getting ripped off by a heating oil delivery company, then that should be reason enough for you to finally learn how to be more cautious. You see, choosing your local oil provider is not a cakewalk. There are things to consider and factors to weigh on. For one, you can’t just hire anyone. You need to spend some effort and lots of time in calling at least six different local heating oil companies and then figure out which one has the potential. Remember, finding and choosing one isn’t just about taking the best price. You need to be smart enough to understand that in most instances, the lowest bids are the same one that will most likely rip you off.

Questions to Ask

Start your search by learning what questions to ask:

1. How long have they been in the business of heating oil delivery?
2. Do they have a permit or license to deliver oil in your locality? Do they provide emergency delivery heating oil?
3. What is their price per gallon for the market rate? How about for fixed or capped rate? Are there any special discounts?
4. Is service contract already integrated in the price?
5. How long is the offered contract?

The first sign of an unreliable contractor is usually seen on the first phone call you make. Did someone answer the phone? If so, did the person at the other end answer your questions? Was he or she pleasant and accommodating? These are things you need to carefully look into. A company that tells you that they’d get back to you but didn’t is certainly a red flag. Likewise, ask if they also offer repair services. You can’t afford to hire a contractor to deliver oil but can’t do other related services like maintenance and repair.

Additionally, your location, peace of mind, emergency heating oil delivery, and the age and the condition of your heating oil furnace are the other important factors you must weigh upon before making any decision to hire. If you have a 20-year old furnace and you’re in the Northeastern part of the United States, it makes perfect sense if you get a full-service oil company for added security. But if you’re South and you have a new burner, you can go for a cheaper and discounted fuel delivery and simply do a one-time payment annually for system tune-ups and maintenance.

Finally, as soon as you decide which contractor to hire, perform a double check on the company and its workers. Be sure that they are not just licensed but also fully certified and insured. You don’t want to hire a company without a good reputation. Also, it’s a huge plus if there’s a heating oil online reference from the company, more like a website for you to get more information from them.

For the most part, it makes sense if you choose one that’s been decades in doing this kind of business. In most instances, years of experience usually corresponds to reliability.