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Industry survey reports gallon sales down, margins up

May 31, 2017 By    

Gray, Gray & Gray released the results of its 2017 Energy Industry Survey, which have been distributed to retail fuel oil and propane dealers throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

This year’s survey results showed a slight decrease in gallons of propane delivered and customer counts, but the margins were higher. The company conducted the survey from April 2016 through March 2017.

“Most oil and propane dealers experienced a heating season that ended up relatively ‘normal,’ despite stretches of warmer weather followed by late season cold,” says Jeff Foley, CPA, who heads the Energy Practice Group at Gray, Gray & Gray.

The survey also found that 39 percent of respondents reported “customer referrals” as their largest source of new customers, while many reported gaining new customers as the result of poor service provided by their competitors. About 37 percent of dealers showed interest in acquiring another company, which is up slightly from years past, according to the company. In addition, 12 percent of those surveyed showed an interest in retirement, which is down by almost half.

“We are still seeing an active M&A market, as the retail energy industry continues to consolidate,” Foley says. “This is reflected in the growing number of dealers expressing an interest in acquiring another company, which has climbed steadily over the past four years.”

Gray, Gray & Gray serves as an oil heat, propane and energy industry accounting and business advisory firm.

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About the Author:

Clara Richter was a managing editor at LP Gas magazine.

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