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Old 03-18-2019, 09:41 AM
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Default Do You Have A Real Choice??

The recent thread on buying/leasing welding gas bottles, made the GNAP think, when it comes to welding gases bought locally, do really have a viable choice?? Norm and I, live in a metropolitan area with a population that’s in the 500,000-600,000 range, we have basically 2 choices. One is Haun Welding, a 30+ store, family run business, that’s headquartered in Syracuse, with their own fill plant, located within a block of their main office. The other is AirGas, that has a store, but everything is shipped in from their fill plants, located elsewhere. There are a few other local fill sources, but most of them are basically an outlet for Haun sourced gases.

I hate AirGas, the local store is basically a mail drop box, their main warehouse is located in PA, going there is akin to going to a website, tell them what you want, 2-3 days later, you can pick it up. The store here is a one man counter operation, with 1 or 2 on the road salesmen.

My LWS is Haun, they are locally owned, very strongly family based, they strive to work with the customer, when I started to deal with them, it was a 5-6 store operation, they are now a 30+ store operation. They cover upstate NY, from Buffalo east, to Vermont and New Hampshire. Their main warehouse is in Syracuse, as is their own complete fill plant operation.

Are two sources are real option?? Locally AirGas is not interested in home shop or walk in business, they want the big industrial welding business, along with the medical/industrial gas business, all trucked in from some other location. Haun does the industrial welding and medical gas business, but prides itself on the walking counter business, there is lots of small welding operations and home shop business.

As with all businesses, when there only a few choices, the individual quirks that company have, seem to be magnified. I consider 2 LWSers, a good thing, the Northeast is a manufacturing wasteland, with excessive taxes and regulations and at times extreme weather, manufacturers went south, how far south, is another story. We have exactly one machine shop supplier, 3 steel suppliers (none that want or will do walk in business) and only 1-2 industrial suppliers. Everything as gone to web based sales, I don’t like it, but I have to use it, but it’s hard to get welding gases over the internet, my BlueTooth devices, do not have gas fittings.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:31 AM
o7oBaseMetal o7oBaseMetal is offline
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Around my area we have Mississippi Welders Supply, Airgas, and Praxair. I ended up leasing through Airgas because they were cheapest but they were still charging me around 4× what the shop manager told me they were charging him. Look at time I filled up they lowered my cost to $90 for a T bottle- I am guessing I must have bought enough to get a lower rate? The last two years I have been so busy working that I haven't had time for my freelance work so I am thinking I will be back to paying extra high rates again for argon.

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Old 03-18-2019, 11:01 AM
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I use Praxair, they are great to work with, and after bitching (in a friendly way) they finally said OK we are going to put you down for the same prices that the company you retired from pay, but I still bitch about prices Need a extra bottle is not a problem. It is crazy what they charge for off the street people.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:33 AM
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My in town LWS is an Airgas. Jack described it pretty well.
My next closest LWS is the new branch store Purity Gases, just opened in Gaylord Mi, about a 45 mile drive. Their other closest store was in Traverse City, about 70 miles away. All three companies I have or am working at have switched to Purity because of the prices. They deliver once a week, so if we need anything, we call and order it. If small enough, they will ups it. Makes it hard to just go pick up something when you run out, do you need to have extra stick on hand to carry you thru til delivery.

Other than that, the local auto parts stores, and Home Depot and Lowes carry limited welding wires, and grinding wheels, and other small tools, but you all probably know the pros and cons of buying at these places.

So for me, Purity will actually be more convenient in one way, because if I need a tank, I have to leave work early in order to make it to Airgas during their business hours 8-4:30, m-F which are my work hours. Just as easy to call Purity and have them deliver to my shop, just have to call in by Thursday to receive following Monday.


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Old 03-18-2019, 02:19 PM
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I have 2 places I can get to within a half hour, Matheson and Airgas. There are probably more choices, but not as convenient.

Matheson used to be Valley National Gas, and I have dealt with them since I got my first argon tank. They generally have anything I want in the way of consumables and if I go on the right day and deal with the clerk that sold me both of my welders, he will even help me out on the price sometimes. I am sure I am not getting their best price, but I usually leave feeling like I was at least treated fairly. Every once in awhile they won't have something I need, and I will try going to airgas just to see if I can keep working and not wait for something to ship.

Airgas has a big showroom but I usually end up leaving without what I wanted. The clerk has flat out told me that since I am buying as an individual I'm going to get the shaft and would be better off to just buy online. I think I have bought a liner for the PM216, and a roll of dual shield there and that has been it.

The local tractor supply has a small selection of welding gases, but I buy all the propane for my forge there and that is a painful experience, I don't want to deal with them anymore than I have too.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:44 PM
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In Minneapolis/St Paul there are six suppliers I know of, and probably a couple I don't.

I use Oxygen Service in St Paul. They were a great company to deal with, employee owned. In the last 7 years or so, all the counter guys have changed. Talking with my brother, I found out he was getting his refills quite a bit cheaper than I was.

Seems like the pricing is at the discretion of the counter person. I tried to get them to give me his pricing and was told me that my tanks are tied to my pricing schedule.

If I used more gas, I would probably switch to Minneapolis Oxygen. I have heard really good things about them. They are 25 miles from me.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:52 AM
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Jesus, I feel bad for you guys... Airgas here would sell to the local walk-in crack heads! here... but they will screw you and it doesn't matter if your commercial or private party...

And I don't think we are as big as around Jack. and I believe there are 4 or 5 gas suppliers some close by some other side of town...
but only one crook as far as I'm concerned AG!
there are 8 people at AG just behind the counter and then 6 offices behind them for corporate commercial acct.

you can be, at the counter... four people working it and four customers getting the same bottles filled or exchanged and the price will be different for each one of them...
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:30 AM
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My first tank of gas was from a 'discarded' CO2 bottle rescued from someone's back room who had shut down a business and had leftover soda supplies. They never did turn it back in, so I used it all up and then had to go find something new. I experienced the hell that is buying/leasing tanks, and after searching the city I ended up opening a credit acct. at Tractor Supply to fund the purchase of a mixed gas bottle.

They 'sold' me a brand new blue bottle, much like propane outside the grocery store. All I'd ever have to do was take it in and they'd swap it out with a freshly filled one. I was cool with that. Except by the time I'd run through that bottle about 4 years later, the local stores had quit doing it that way.

I took the bottle into Lubbock Welding Supply (LWS), and they looked over my empty bottle and claimed it was out of date. So I ended up having to pay a recertification fee, was given some ugly POS bottle, and a huge gas cost because I was a walk-in not regular dude. I think I've cracked the thing open a dozen times since then and it still has plenty of pressure. I'm sure by the time I find the bottom of this one, it'll be out of date and all sorts of madness to rack those fees up again.

And the best part--I've maxxed that TSC credit card out and paid it back off 3 or 4 times now on dog food, Christmas presents, clothes, and stupid shit that's cost me more in interest than any value I ever received from it.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubby View Post
My first tank of gas was from a 'discarded' CO2 bottle rescued from someone's back room who had shut down a business and had leftover soda supplies. They never did turn it back in, so I used it all up and then had to go find something new. I experienced the hell that is buying/leasing tanks, and after searching the city I ended up opening a credit acct. at Tractor Supply to fund the purchase of a mixed gas bottle.

They 'sold' me a brand new blue bottle, much like propane outside the grocery store. All I'd ever have to do was take it in and they'd swap it out with a freshly filled one. I was cool with that. Except by the time I'd run through that bottle about 4 years later, the local stores had quit doing it that way.

I took the bottle into Lubbock Welding Supply (LWS), and they looked over my empty bottle and claimed it was out of date. So I ended up having to pay a recertification fee, was given some ugly POS bottle, and a huge gas cost because I was a walk-in not regular dude. I think I've cracked the thing open a dozen times since then and it still has plenty of pressure. I'm sure by the time I find the bottom of this one, it'll be out of date and all sorts of madness to rack those fees up again.

And the best part--I've maxxed that TSC credit card out and paid it back off 3 or 4 times now on dog food, Christmas presents, clothes, and stupid shit that's cost me more in interest than any value I ever received from it.
I own 3 tanks, but have never had anyone check a certification date on any of them. When I go in to Matheson I take the empty tank off my truck and they roll a full tank out for me to take home. They exchange them just like I was leasing them.I did buy the tanks from them though, maybe that makes a difference.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:45 PM
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Default Do You Have A Real Choice??

I deal with my local Praxair. I initially bought a small tank and over the years it has grown 2 sizes when they were out of my size and subbed the next size up. Last time I went in they were again out of the size I had and up sized me again to a lease only tank with a comment that "next time" I could downsize if I prefer. I seem to pay the same cost regardless of tank size, but my son pays more if he is the one that goes instead of me. I always remind them that I have no intention of paying their stupid $8.95 hazardous material fee so they take it off my bill each time.

I've never looked at a certification date and neither do they. I have 4 other local options but I drive by Praxair twice a day. Only exception is weekend when TSC is the only option open.
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