Contract or Independent Heating Oil Delivery?

Posted on: 9 December 2021

If you have an oil furnace, one of your annual tasks is to arrange fuel delivery services. You have two main options when it comes to residential heating oil delivery -- you can contract with a fuel company or you can opt to remain independent and just order fuel as needed.

Contract Services

Hiring a contract oil delivery services means that you enter a contract with a single fuel delivery company. The delivery company will provide regularly scheduled delivery, often at a pre-determined rate, in exchange for you only using their services for the specified contract period.


Many contract providers provide the option to lock in the fuel cost rate at the time you go under contract. This means you can start your contract in summer, when prices are historically lowest, even if you won't begin getting deliveries until fall and winter when prices spike. Further, you will also be guaranteed oil supply and delivery, as most companies serve their contract customers first.


The main drawback is that you are locked in for the contract period, or you may have to pay a fee to break the contract. This is only a problem if you must switch delivery services for some reason, or if you make updates to your home that means you will no longer be using oil to heat.

Independent Services

For those that prefer to only have fuel delivered when they call in an order, there is the independent service option. Instead of going under contract and committing to a delivery schedule, you will have to call and order a delivery each time your oil supply gets low.


The main benefit of independent service is that you can shop around for the lowest price each time you need an oil refill. You can also use different providers for each refill, which means you aren't locked into a company that isn't meeting your service expectations. It may also be easier to budget fuel costs since you can order only a partial fill if needed, which isn't typically an option with contract service.


You won't be able to lock in a price, which means a mid-winter fill-up can be quite expensive. Fuel shortages may also affect you if you aren't under contract, as you may be at the bottom of the supply list after contracts are filled for the specific delivery company. 

Contact a residential heating oil delivery service like Edris Oil Service Inc. if you would like to learn more about these delivery options.