Collecting oil: anyone use a contract?

Collecting, filtering and dewatering of WVO SVO vegetable oil. For Biodiesel producers too.

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Collecting oil: anyone use a contract?

Postby Jake Palmer » Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:20 am

I am working on a new source for nice clean (well, as far as used goes) WVO. They are 5 minutes from my house, and I could easily get 50-75 liters a week. More in the summer.

Issue is, they seem concerned about breaking off their regular renderer, who picks up on schedule every month. I have said I can pick up once a week, every second a week, once a month... whatever works for them.

I haven't "pushed" them yet, because they haven't said NO, but I think they would as it stands now. It's apparent that they like the security of KNOWING that an established company is going to do this on a regular basis, instead of Joe Blow off the street.

What I'm considering is offering a yearly contract with a ~$100 "hold":
- I will commit to picking up the oil on a schedule that works for them.
- If I fail to pick up the oil, they keep the money and can break off the deal
- If the arrangement works for the full year, they keep the money and can "renew" the contract for another year, and another $100
- The only way they have to refund the money is if they break off the arrangement to give oil to another person.

How does this sound? This oil is worth the extra effort... I have gone in and had a look around while chatting up the night staff. The manager is back next week, and I'm going to call to make an appointment to see him in the afternoon "lull".

Anyone here under contract with a restaurant?
Jake Palmer
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: New Brunswick

Postby David » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:18 am

I think in light of the other discussion about how Diesel being $4 a gal ( still cheap!) and the shortage of supply of oil, the idea of contracts has a lot of significance.

I don't know about the idea of the $100 bond, maybe that will come across as trying too hard but maybe the culture of the people you are going to be working with would find it very attractive. Personally I would start out offering the same as the rendering company's and only offer more if it were necessary.

I think that being business like in the long run will most likely be a better strategy with the majority of places than offering gifts etc. They will easily be dismissed when push comes to shove but a contract is not something that will be taken so lightly...Even if enforcing the thing is a totally impractical proposition. To me though, it seems the majority of the US and maybe Canada are very hung up on " legalities" so they may be taken more seriously than what the practicality of enforcing them would dictate.

I think the more business like Veggers get, the better off they will be.
There certainly is value in being the private battler guy doing something for the environment with his curiosity of a car and this could be a valuable card to play but it seems from what I read that the professional business like operation has wider and doubtless more trusting appeal.

If one were trying for contracts, I would be trying for 3 year agreements rather than 12 months. Selling the extra time shouldn't be hard and I think in 2-3 years, the length of the agreement will make people very glad they did this. I also believe at te time the contracts expire, getting new suppliers on board will be sooo much harder tan what it is now and it will be a lot easier to get someone you have been working with for 3 years to re-up than what it will be to win over a new supplier. You may have to change the new agreement and have to pay for the oil but at least you will have the opportunity of getting first shot at the business and in the mean time will have a reliable, hopefully free supply.

The way these agreements are " sold" is going to be the key to successfully getting people on board and people do need to put their salesmanship cap on with this. Instead of just offering what YOU think is a deal clincher, ask the restaurants what THEY would like or you can do for them. Inevitably the answers you will get will be different to what you are expecting. $100 may be a total yawn to them, especially over a year or 3 but something like an undertaking to keep their grease barrel area clean with a monthly wash down or provide a decorative metal screen enclosure to go around the barrel to make the area more attractive if it is visable to customers, may be something the restaurants see more value in and would jump at.

The key is to ask them first rather than being too keen to throw your offer at them. If you already wash the barrel area down for instance, that is not the point, the idea is to find out what the restaurant finds value in and then sell that back to them. If it's something you do with all your suppliers, make a big fuss of doing it for the people you are after and then when you get them be content with how easily you made the "sale"!
Find out what is of interest to them and titch them up on the undertaking that you will provide them with what they want if they provide you with the oil you want.

If I were in the situation many of you are facing, I would present myself as professionally as possible. I would go the whole hog with a monogrammed work shirt, dress cotton work type trousers, a monogrammed cap, Stationary and business cards. I wouldn't even mention I was using the oil for private purposes, I'd just present as another collection company, probably one just starting out, as the underdog ideal has powerful marketing pull and you may win over people disgruntled with other companies in your area.

If the opportunity was there and it were practical for my circumstances, I would try to sign up every outlet in my area I could. I would then try selling the excess oil for whatever I could get for it to other veggers, even on a lease basis or even to a rendering company for whatever they will pay for it. For this I'd collect the oil myself and take it to a pickup location. If a person is in a location where oil is short or becoming that way, in the near future these contracts could become quite lucrative.

I think the thing here is if veggers are going to compete with the collection companies they need to meet them head on and think much bigger and into the future as if they are themselves are operating as a business.

It will put a different spin on the mentality and the way you approach potential new suppliers.

I don't give a damn about what might or could happen until a significant group of people can tell me it HAS happened to them.
Until then, it's just more endless gloom and doom Veg folk law.
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Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:12 am
Location: Sydney Australia

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