Ever since J&J Gas was founded in 1974 in Mayo, Florida, we’ve made it our mission to provide nothing but the best reliable hometown service. Anyone can sell propane, but we know what it takes to build long-term relationships with our customers and nurture them. We can truly say hometown service by hometown people.
Implementing new technologies
In 2012, my wife Brittany and I started looking for a new fuel software program to help streamline our business. The software we were using was outdated, irrelevant, time-consuming and not at all user-friendly. However, it was how we had “always” done it, so the idea of change was a bit scary.
After much deliberation and convincing, we began doing some research and exploring our available options. We purchased a fuel distribution software system and began to upgrade our service and bobtail trucks to each include a computer and printer. Every change was made with lots of thought and hesitation, making sure it was the right move.
This software alone saves our employees over an hour each day, as the purchase tickets are now uploaded and logged straight into our computers at the office from the truck, instead of being put into our computers by hand. When we upgraded our printers and began to use the new software system, we saved at least two to three days a month on folding, stuffing, sealing and mailing monthly statements. This extra time allows us to focus on growing our business and day-to-day operations.
The customer behind the idea
In 2014, we started a large and essential initiative to improve our reach and increase our company’s marketing efforts. A customer in a neighboring town, less than 20 miles away, called to ask if J&J Gas delivered propane to her area. We responded and said yes, giving her a short background of the business. As it turned out, she never knew J&J Gas Service existed, and she’s lived locally her entire life.
We wouldn’t stop thinking about this phone call. If she did not know we were located right down the road, what other customer base were we missing? This became a major problem for us, and over the next year we began brainstorming with J&J Gas Service sales representative Robert Fissell.
Robert knew of a woman who developed websites, so we contacted her – and it turned out to be so much more than that. Not only did she develop websites, but she was the president of a marketing agency, as well.
After having a few long conversations with her about our business goals, we began to put more thought into our next steps. The amount she said we needed to spend was mind-blowing at first, but we knew we must invest in our business in order for it to grow. And to be honest, in the 41 years prior, we had spent very little investing in our own marketing.
In April 2015, we decided to move forward with this marketing investment. And with this change, we rebranded and modernized company collateral, updated our logo and created a consistent corporate presence, purchased new uniforms, branded our bobtail and service trucks, developed a responsive website, created seasonal campaigns and incorporated social media into our mix. We hired a professional photographer so we could use photos with our marketing.
Prior to hiring a marketing firm, our marketing consisted of supporting our local high school and community baseball programs, which we still do and love. However, we now support our community while having a clean, modern presence – both online and offline.
Gas expands and so do we
In just over a year and a half after hiring a marketing firm, we are pleased to say that our business and propane gallons sold have grown significantly. Our customer reach has increased immensely – and continues to each day. This allows us to make new technology investments as we see fit.
Before September 2015, the calls we received were “Do you serve our city?” Now we have to ask, “What’s your address so we can see if you’re in our service area?”
Brandon Hewett is the president of J&J Gas Service in Mayo, Florida. He can be reached at email@example.com.