Friday, February 24, 2017

Business Spotlight - Propane Setters by Michelle Libby

Propane Setters is a new local company servicing heating equipment for propane, oil and natural gas. With 14 years of experience in the industry, John Schoennagel wanted to have a different kind of company, one that puts customers first and the bottom line second. 

John Schoennagel of Propane Setters
Propane Setters installs gas appliances like stoves and refrigerators, on demand water heaters and boilers. His primary goal is to provide service for all of the equipment. He is a dealer for Rinnai, which means that there will be no middle man when it comes to getting parts for heaters.
The company offers cleanings, repairs, installation of gas lines and oil lines. Schoennagel knows the business and is frank about what he offers. 

Schoennagel grew up in Rhode Island and owned an auto repair shop before moving to Maine.
“I enjoy the interaction with customers more with heating than auto repair,” he said.
His top priority is treating customers right. “I want customers to feel like they’re being paid attention to. I will keep in touch with them until they get that part in the end,” he said. 

With his knowledge of how big chain heating companies are working with clients, Schoennagel wants to be fair with his customers in both price and information. It takes very little effort for him to call a customer to give an update on the progress of their project. 

“I do a lot of educating about the products,” he said. “I’m also more flexible with a person on a tight, strict budget. Sometimes I think I’m too kind hearted.” He is hoping that word of mouth advertising will encourage more people to call him when they are looking to upgrade heating systems or need service. 

During the most recent blizzard, Schoennagel received a call from a hearing impaired woman with no heat at 3:30 a.m. He struck out to help her. She lived on a private road that hadn’t been plowed, but he made it there. After three hours, he finished the job, which had involved climbing on her metal roof to unblock her chimney flue, among other things. 

“It’s gratification. You know you did a good thing,” he said.  

Schoennagel wasn’t planning to open another business after closing his auto repair shop, but he felt with the dysfunctional scheduling and lack of customer service, he owed it to the community to offer his services through Propane Setters. Not every large company has these issues, but enough do that he wanted to make a difference. 

“I know there will be disgruntled people and I will work with them,” he said. “You get respect when you give respect.”

Propane Setters does not sell products and it doesn’t change out tanks, but the best way to find out if the company can help is to give them a call. Schoennagel is licensed and insured. His territory is a 50-mile radius from Windham and north. Propane Setters also services commercial food equipment like fryolators and propane stoves.

“Clients are looking for natural gas where it’s available because they don’t run out,” Schoennagel said. Propane is clean burning. Despite that, it still requires cleaning and safety evaluations yearly. When Schoennagel installs a heater, he offers a free cleaning a year later to make sure everything is working as it should.

Propane Setters also offers yearly contracts. The one-time payment is individually created depending on the appliances being covered and the customer’s needs. Each contract comes with one free cleaning and covers labor and emergency calls. 

Emergency calls after hours are only for those without heat or hot water, he clarified.
If a client offers a referral that Schoennagel sees, they receive their next cleaning for half price as a thank you, he said.  

For more information on Propane Setters call: 207-272-9754 or email:

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