LPG Spotlight: VanderYacht Propane

February 11, 2019 By    

Propane retailers work to overcome challenges every day.

Photo courtesy of VanderYacht Propane

Photo courtesy of VanderYacht Propane

Addressing service, supply and safety challenges is all in a day’s work for a propane retailer. For VanderYacht Propane, the challenge of supplying propane in difficult terrain while maintaining a high level of safety was a challenge the operation solved with some creativity and ingenuity.

VanderYacht Propane is located in northern Washington, so delivering to customers living in the mountains or off the grid is an everyday challenge Denver VanderYacht and his father, Bryan, face daily. Icy roads on the mountain streets can cause the bobtail to slip, even with tire chains attached. This situation was both a safety and service risk.

“Some of our deliveries are on a steep hill, and [tire] chains on a bobtail just won’t cut it,” Denver VanderYacht says. “With these mountain parts where a bobtail can’t deliver, a four-wheel-drive truck can.”

With that in mind, Bryan VanderYacht purchased a four-wheel-drive truck with a 550-gallon bobtail barrel in 2012 so the operation could make deliveries to its mountain and off-the-grid customers. These customers use propane for many applications, Denver VanderYacht explains, so ensuring the operation could effectively and safely service them was a top priority.

“Anywhere a bobtail cannot access or is struggling, we use the four-by-four so we don’t risk the bobtail or the driver,” Denver VanderYacht says. “We tell the drivers, ‘If you are slipping or cannot make the deliveries, let us know and we can take the four-wheel-drive truck and do it.’”

The success of the four-wheel-drive truck during the 2012 winter was important to the operation, but Denver VanderYacht says the company needed a permanent solution. So, later that year, Bryan VanderYacht and Greg Bowlin, the operation’s general manager, went to the drawing board.

In 2016, the two approached a Canadian company with the idea of using a four-wheel-drive truck that can hold different attachments on its bed.

Today, VanderYacht Propane houses a bobtail barrel, service bed and dump truck attachment on its four-wheel-drive truck. The attachments can be changed out in a few minutes, Denver VanderYacht explains.

The versatility of the truck has proved to be a major tool for the operation year-round.

“It is a full-time delivery truck in the winter,” Denver VanderYacht says. “The truck will go out every day and we won’t see it back until closing time.”

The service bed sees a lot of action in the summer and the dump truck is perfect when work needs to be done around the site. The truck keeps up with the work while maintaining a safe environment, and the possibilities are endless.

“You don’t have to stop with a service bed or a bobtail delivery bed,” Denver VanderYacht says. “You could do a forklift exchange bed or a cylinder exchange bed. The ideas are endless.”

VanderYacht Propane

Founded // 1989
Headquarters // Lynden, Washington
Owners /// Bryan and Mary VanderYacht, and Larry VanderYacht
Founders // / Bryan and Mary VanderYacht
Employees // 34
Bobtails // 16
Website // vanderyachtpropane.com

Joe McCarthy

About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is an Associate Editor of LP Gas Magazine. You can contact him at jmccarthy@northcoastmedia.net and at 216-363-7930.

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