I’ve been on the wholesale side of the Refrigerant industry for over seven years now and I’ve learned when to buy and how to buy.
When to Buy?
First thing is first, if you’re looking to buy refrigerant by the pallet you have to know when to buy. If you are in a position where a pallet or two will last you for most of the year I would suggest purchasing in the dead of winter. Refrigerant is a commodity and prices sky rocket in the middle of summer but when we’re in the winter months prices tank and a lot of vendors are trying to blow out all of their old product before the next season starts up. Now, this strategy only works if you have the capital to buy up a few pallets in the slow season and sit on them for the year. Otherwise, you’ll run out in the peak of the season and have to pay an outrageous price to get your next pallet.
How to Buy?
How many jugs of Refrigerant are on a pallet? When I’ve dealt with R-134A and R-410A cylinders they all came forty jugs to a pallet. So, if you’re buying at $60.00 a jug you’re looking at spending $2,400.00 per one pallet. Now, if you are considering purchasing more than one pallet you have room to negotiate more with your vendor. If you’re buying 4-5 pallets you can most definitely get another few dollars per cylinder out of your vendor.
Now, if you mean serious business and are looking to purchase a trailer-load of product you can get your price down to dirt cheap levels. A trailer-load or container load is twenty pallets of Refrigerant. So, again, if you’re looking at the $60.00 price point you’ll have a total of $48,000 for 800 jugs of Refrigerant. When you are purchasing at this level you have the ability to not only negotiate with your existing vendors but to also import Refrigerant from another country such as China.
I have not imported Chinese Refrigerant before, but I know that you have to be VERY careful. There are many instances of buyers being scammed by false Chinese companies. You pay your part and the product never comes and that company you paid has mysteriously vanished.
However, if you do have a successful import from China you will see your acquisition price drop significantly. Last year when I was receiving quotes on pallets of R-410A I had quotes between $58.00 and $68.00 from various vendors. Out of curiosity I contacted some Chinese companies to see what the price per jug would be on a container. I was quoted $42.00 per cylinder. $42.00.That is a $16.00 savings per jug, and if you times that by 800 jugs on a container you are looking at $12,800 in savings by buying from China. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for the freight to get it to your location in the United States and that will be approximately $1,500-$2,500, but even with that taken out you are still looking at $10,000 in savings by importing. If you decide to import just BE CAREFUL.
Who to buy From?
There are tons of companies out there where you can purchase refrigerant from. The trick is finding the right company and getting the best price. When looking to purchase Refrigerant it is best to receive at-least three quotes from various vendors. This gives you a diverse range of prices and notifies you if you are being ripped off.
There are many ‘vendors’ who do what I did last year and drop-shop the Refrigerant. I never actually touched the product. I just bought it from my vendor, marked it up, and told them where to ship it. The key here is to identify the wholesalers from the drop-shippers.