Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP Certified Public Accountants (Westwood, Mass.), has released the results of the firm’s 2012 Oilheat Industry Survey. Responses to the survey were obtained from retail fuel oil dealers from throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.
“Business was down for many dealers this year due to a variety of factors, including weather and competition from gas utilities,” said Joe Ciccarello, CPA, managing partner at Gray, Gray & Gray. “Dealers will have to change the way they do business in order to survive in a very competitive marketplace.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s survey results include:
• Residential fuel oil gallons sold were down almost 10 percent from 2011, indicative of the mild winter weather
• A significant number of dealers reported losing customers to gas conversions (74 percent), perhaps due in part to the pricing advantage gas currently enjoys and the aggressive marketing being done by gas utilities
• More dealers are being cautious about how they are handling price protection plans, including charging fees for plans and significant fees (avg. $338) for a customer to buy their way out of the program
• 49 percent of dealers report that their customer list was smaller this year than last year
• Perhaps giving in to competitive pressure, 9 percent of dealers plan to start servicing gas equipment and another 8 percent plan to start selling propane in addition to fuel oil
Complete oilheat survey results are available on Gray, Gray & Gray's website at: <i>www.gggcpas.com</i>, or by calling (781) 407-0300.