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Old 03-18-2019, 09:41 AM
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platypus20 platypus20 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: camillus, ny (syracuse)
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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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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Hannibal, WI is my home away from the road.
Posts: 446

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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digr digr is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Duluth MN
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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 03-20-2019, 07:28 AM
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Ironman Ironman is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Warburg, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 14,200

Originally Posted by digr View Post
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.
I have the same good luck, and they charge industrial price to me. Of course, after the movie came out, there are 3 more Ironman's besides me, and they probably think we're all one.
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:28 PM
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Dave Lee Dave Lee is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: near Philadelphia, PA.
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I bought my tanks back in the late 70's. The counter guy said, "Hang onto that receipt. It's just like a car title and proves you own the tanks." Well, fast forward to 2018 and the LWS decided they'd had enough and went out of business.

Supposedly, another local company took over their customers. As little as I use my torch though, it's going to be years before I need to get the tanks refilled. I hope the new outfit, ( which has also been around forever), will honor my ownership.

I think I bought the tanks at least, one or two sizes too large.

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Old 03-21-2019, 12:40 PM
BukitCase BukitCase is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lost in Oregon
Posts: 1,096

This is my LWS

Been with them since 1979, started with just a/o tanks (all "owned") now up to 4 C25's, couple O2, couple Ar's; most are 150 cf and up. IIRC, last 300cf C25 I had filled was around $45.

I drive in, back up to loading dock, THEY unload whatever I got, swap it out for full (and load it in whatever I'm driving) while I'm inside paying, I come out, make sure everything's tied down MY way, done...

Considering the OTHER options in my area (usual complaints already expressed here) the best I can hope for is that I croak BEFORE the last of their family does ...Steve
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:33 AM
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toprecycler toprecycler is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Petoskey, Michigan
Posts: 4,321

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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Matt Shade Matt Shade is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,779

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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TriHonu TriHonu is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: St Paul, Minnesota, USA
Posts: 434

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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MetalWolf MetalWolf is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: La Vernia,Tx.
Posts: 3,577

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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