Keep­ing the home fires burn­ing dur­ing BBQ sea­son

Bres­lau busi­ness looks to take the time and has­sle out of keep­ing your bar­be­cue fu­eled

The Woolwich Observer - - VENTURE - FAISAL ALI

SPRING CER­TAINLY

SEEMED TO take its own time to reach us. But now that it is fi­nally here, we can ex­pect the back­yard chefs amongst us will be don­ning their aprons and fir­ing up their grills for the sea­son. For a lot of us, that will mean stock­ing up on our propane – for­tu­nately there’s a lo­cal en­tre­pre­neur look­ing to make sure you al­ways have enough gas in the tank.

Ja­son Wiles is the force be­hind the BBQ Tank Ex­press, a propane-de­liv­ery busi­ness in Bres­lau, also the com­mu­nity he calls home. The novel ap­proach his busi­ness takes means that cus­tomers can use their bar­be­cues con­fi­dent they’ll never have to run out of propane again.

“We are a bar­be­cue tank de­liv­ery ser­vice where we set [cus­tomers] up with two dif­fer­ent tanks so that they never ac­tu­ally run out, be­cause they al­ways have a spare one there,” he ex­plained.

By hav­ing tanks de­liv­ered two at a time, cus­tomers have a backup in case their first tank runs out. And when it does, it’s a sim­ple mat­ter of call­ing Wiles who will per­son­ally come and pick up the empty tank from out­side the house, and re­place it with a fully filled-up tank. Wiles even of­fers to in­stall the propane tank to the bar­be­cue for those in­ter­ested.

“It kind of re­sem­bles back in the day, kind of like milk de­liv­ery. How you’d have the milk de­liv­ery guy come around. You take the empty bot­tle of milk, I give them a full bot­tle of milk,” he says. But in­stead of milk bot­tles, it’s now a tank of propane.

“Ev­ery­thing else you can pretty much get de­liv­ered to your door now,” noted Wiles, but the big ex­cep­tion to that is propane, which is some­thing he wants to change.

There are three lev­els to the BBQ Tank Ex­press ser­vice de­pend­ing on how reg­u­larly cus­tomers make use of the grill. There’s the bronze pack­age, which op­er­ates as a ‘pay-as-you-go’ type ser­vice, sil­ver, which is closer to a pre-paid sub­scrip­tion, and gold.

“The gold pack­age is more for our high-users, and it’s mostly peo­ple that just don’t want to worry about it ever. It’s al­most like they want to use the propane as if it’s nat­u­ral gas where they never run out, they never want to have to worry about it,” said Wiles.

The gold pack­age com­mits the cus­tomer to pur­chas­ing four tanks in the year. Per unit, it is the least ex­pen­sive. The way the ser­vice works is cus­tomers can set up a sched­ule with Wiles for de­liv­er­ies for a to­tal of four tanks over the year. They se­lect the times de­pend­ing on when they ex­pect they will be run­ning low, and Wiles does the rest.

“They pick the four months, and on those four months I’ll come au­to­mat­i­cally to their lo­ca­tion, switch out their tank with a new one that’s filled, and then they never have to worry about it,” he ex­plained.

Be­sides the has­sle of run­ning out of gas right in the middle of a back­yard culi­nary en­deav­our, trans­port­ing propane tanks to and from the store is an in­her­ently risky act. The tanks are sen­si­tive to heat and poorly ven­ti­lated ar­eas, with the in­dus­try

gen­er­ally ad­vis­ing peo­ple not to leave them in their car for ex­tended pe­ri­ods, or in en­closed spa­ces like the trunk. More­over, the tanks need to be kept up­right dur­ing trans­port and, of course, away from sparks.

Han­dled cor­rectly, it’s a safe prod­uct to use, but Wiles’ ser­vice elim­i­nates that has­sle and the risk en­tirely for con­sumers.

“Mainly it’s the con­ve­nience fac­tors for fam­i­lies, the el­derly, and just peo­ple that are over­all too busy,” said Wiles. “They don’t have time to worry about run­ning to the store or putting their kids in dan­ger by putting the tank in their car. They can en­joy their free time and don’t have to worry about that.”

What’s more, us­ing Wiles’ ser­vice en­sures cus­tomers are al­ways get­ting freshly painted and safe tanks to use, rather than re­ly­ing on older ones.

It’s a sim­ple and straight­for­ward so­lu­tion to the prob­lems and frus­tra­tions that Wiles’ him­self has per­son­ally had to deal with. It was his own ex­pe­ri­ences with the in­con­ve­niences of us­ing propane that led him to cre­ate his new busi­ness model.

“In the past I’ve had a propane bar­be­cue, and I know the has­sle of ac­tu­ally putting it in your ve­hi­cle, wor­ry­ing about whether or not it’s go­ing to run out,” he said. “I switched to nat­u­ral gas be­cause I hated switch­ing out the tanks my­self, and I fig­ured that there is enough peo­ple out there that have that same ex­pe­ri­ence, so I was look­ing to try to solve the prob­lem.”

The re­sult was the BBQ Tank Ex­press. Right now, the de­liv­ery ser­vice is op­er­at­ing in and around the Water­loo Re­gion, in­clud­ing the town­ships, Elora, Cam­bridge and Guelph. But Wiles’ is def­i­nitely in­ter­ested in grow­ing his busi­ness out­wards to other parts of the province.

“I would say that my ex­pan­sion plans are that I’m look­ing to ex­pand to other cities in On­tario and po­ten­tially fran­chise across Canada,” he said am­bi­tiously.

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

Look­ing to make back­yard grilling more con­ve­nient, Bres­lau’s Ja­son Wiles has launched BBQ Tank Ex­press, which of­fers home pickup and de­liv­ery.

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