Anthony Young of OilWorks LLC, had big dreams when he started his Columbus, Ohio, company in 2011 as a service that collected used oil. Soon, the entrepreneur identified a niche market for supplying fresh diesel.
As he began to explore a particular segment of clients requiring regular diesel fuel drops for equipment such as excavators, cranes, and generators, Thunder Creek Equipment’s Multi-Tank Upfit was just what he needed to grow the business and address that new demand.
Supporting the Diesel Delivery Fleet Niche
Young explained how he identified and capitalized on a smaller fuel company’s advantage in his market. One of the biggest advantages: old-school customer service and attention to detail.
“Unlike many bigger companies, when the customer calls, we pick the phone up and answer,” Young said. “It’s simple, but our customers talk to a person and get immediate answers. They don’t have to log in to a computer system. They're not trying to use an app or get into a website. When they call our office, we answer the phone, and they immediately know where our truck is and how soon we can respond. It brings peace of mind to the customer, especially during a power outage or another major event. In fact, a customer can call in the morning, and we can get them fuel the same day.”
Another big part of winning customer loyalty is delivering the products and services customers need when they need them. Young identified the need to deliver diesel in moderate amounts — ranging from dozens of gallons here to 400 gallons there — to jobsites, emergency power stations, universities, and more.
He was also presented with a new kind of diesel truck: Thunder Creek’s Multi-Tank Upfit.
This truck, available exclusively from Thunder Creek, is equipped to carry 920 gallons of bulk diesel contained in eight separate 115-gallon fuel tanks connected through a common pumping manifold. The ability to isolate those tanks into separate 115-gallon containers is what makes the HAZMAT endorsement obsolete.
“The best way to build a business is to determine your customer’s needs. We acquired our first Thunder Creek truck because we found our market needed a small-volume, service-oriented fuel provider. We knew we couldn't compete on volume with the huge companies, but we could compete on service in this niche market. We found our competitors either didn't service these customers at all or weren’t good at it because of their size. We are smaller and nimbler, and Thunder Creek trucks were just a great fit for OilWorks.”
Growing a Specialized Delivery Fleet
The company has since added a second Thunder Creek truck with a third on the way, with each truck pumping as much as 2,000 gallons each day on multiple runs.
Young shared how one of the first advantages of the Thunder Creek truck is the ability to drive the truck without a HAZMAT certification – a major bonus in a tough labor market.
“When I first thought about expanding my fleet, I knew truck drivers would be a problem. This was one of the big factors that led me to purchase my first Thunder Creek truck,” Young explained. “Acquiring a driver is easier because you don’t have to deal with HAZMAT certifications. The Thunder Creek truck upfits are our most profitable trucks. Especially from a revenue and maintenance standpoint. They produce more profit for the bottom line than other trucks.”
In addition to being a profit generator for Young’s business, the trucks have also driven efficiencies in other areas, from reporting to the simple ability to get into some tight spots that other trucks or solutions can’t.
“Another advantage is that you don't have to go through all the normal testing that you do on tankers; annual tank testing, all the stuff required with IFTA - just all the whole litany of regulations we deal with on a large fuel truck. You don't have that with Thunder Creek.,” Young noted.
Also, he shared that the cost of operation is lower.
“It’s a smaller truck, so it's more fuel efficient and nimble. You can get into places you may not be able to maneuver a larger truck safely. We've got backup cameras on these units. When you're on a site, it's a smaller unit, you have much better and safer visibility. It’s very different from trying to fight a 4,500-gallon tank truck into a small construction site with tons of activity. Everything is easier,” he said.
Delivering Fuel with a Multi-Tank Upfit
The Thunder Creek Multi-Tank Upfit is currently compatible with select medium-duty Class 5 truck chassis, including:
- Ford F-550 and F-600.
- Ram 5500.
- Chevrolet 5500.
- International CV515.
The rear utility box of the new design contains the diesel pump and the manifold system. Options include fuel meters for tracking, numerous reel options and lengths, and a powerful 10-micron filter to ensure greater fuel quality.
Young pointed out another great advantage that his Thunder Creek truck delivers, especially with changes in diesel engine technology found in today’s construction equipment.
“It delivers filtered fuel. Fuel cleanliness is becoming more critical in the new environmentally friendly equipment with smaller injector sizes. The cleanliness of the fuel is a very, very important thing,” he said. “The Thunder Creeks are designed to deliver filtered fuel right into the tank — and the larger tank trucks typically can’t do that.”
The trucks are also easy to own and operate — and have put on many miles since first deploying in Young’s fleet.
“You've got one product and only a few buttons to push, so training is incredibly fast. You also don't have to worry about cross drops (a truck carrying gas and diesel and somebody messing up and putting gas in a diesel tank). They're easy to train and run, and that's been a huge win,” Young explained.
With the help of Thunder Creek and Young’s strong customer service philosophy, the fleet of vehicles is growing, and OilWorks LLC continues to expand. When asked about their success, he says one thing has not changed since day one.
“Since I started the company, I’ve prided myself on not bringing problems to customers. I solve them. We try to take any problems customers may have with current vendors, and we bring solutions. We try to eliminate any kind of issue and work to make the project manager’s job easier. This has driven the growth of the company,” Young concluded.