Maybe Later: Why There’s Never a Convenient Time to Start Tank Monitoring
Tank monitoring seems like a hassle to start.
First, you have to decide where your areas of greatest need are, and that requires a full accounting of tanks that are costing you the most money in stops, short fills, and product volume per fiscal year.
Next, you have to find the right tank monitors, and if you’re familiar with modern tank monitoring, you know that there are more options than any one company could feasibly explore to make an educated decision.
After you’ve decided on your monitoring company, you have to buy the monitors (ouch) then pay the ongoing monthly monitoring fees.
This is the point where a lot of our customers get hung up. They receive the product, we have already consulted with them on their deployment plan, they’re ready to go, and then for what ever reason it is hard to find time to deploy monitors.
Often, we’ve hypothesized that it is because of the existing inefficiencies in how truck routing is managed that our customers struggle to find a convenient time – they're waiting until it’s time to fill the tank on the regular schedule and by extension they’re allowing their business to rule them, instead of ruling their business.
In a way, beginning a tank monitoring initiative is a lot like ripping off a Band-Aid.
The slower you roll out units, the longer it is until you reap the benefits.
When relating this concept back to One-Tank, the argument for starting earlier becomes even stronger. The sooner a residential tank is One-Tank enabled, the sooner that customer can start being charged for per-gallon usage monthly, and the sooner that tank has been liberated from the possession of the customer and instead given back over to the marketer as tertiary storage.
If the One-Tank project is scheduled to begin in July, but it’s delayed until October, and by then the focus is on surviving the winter and filling tanks (again, working on the customer’s schedule instead of your own) you likely won’t install those units until early spring the following year. By then, it’ll be too late to effectively take advantage of the price drops in wholesale propane, which is where the entire benefit of One-Tank is felt, and which will delay your ROI by an entire year. Meanwhile, the bills for the monthly monitoring fees roll in month after month.
Your business becomes instantly agile
When units are rolled out immediately, the marketer’s business becomes instantly agile.
Suddenly there are hundreds of thousands of gallons of storage out there that didn’t exist before, and the next time there’s a sudden drop in prices for gas there’s no reason why you can’t pounce. Why pay for a professional hedging service ever again?
Our One-Tank customers set their own price maximums and now have the storage necessary to free themselves to never pay above a certain price for gas. Sometimes that price is as little as $0.40 per gallon wholesale depending on geographical location.
Yes it will cost a lot of money to start deploying SkyTrackers. If, however, the potential return on investment (ROI calculator found here) results in hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit foregone to ease the pain of doing the hard up-front work, it’s clear that delaying the start of a tank monitoring initiative only delays profits. The only way to get a 5 year ROI in 5 years is to start now.