Family-owned Timmons Oil Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Springdale, Arkansas specializes in on- and off-road diesel fuel, as well as lubricants, heavy-duty oils, and exhaust fluid – which is in particularly high in demand.
Senior Vice President Todd Collier recounts that Timmons Oil began when founder John D. Timmons left his position at Otasco (Oklahoma Tire and Supply Company) in 1961 and began his own company later that year. At first, the company owned and operated three stations across Oklahoma. It then added a pump tank and equipment to eventually bring it to a total of seven locations, before becoming incorporated in 1978 with twenty to thirty dealer operators and twelve equipment operators.
The business would continue growing, and in 1988, it acquired the ten-acre plot of land on which it still sits today, while also continuing its expansion into lubricants and oil rigs. Current president John Timmons is the son of the founder and has been with the company since its inception when he was fourteen years old, and president since 2003, when his father stepped down.
His brother Rick has been with Timmons Oil since 1971, primarily working in sales since 1978. He affirms that his brother John possesses a keen mind for engineering and mechanics, a perfect fit for his role as president.
Collier also endorses the family values in Timmons Oil, as well as its strong foundation of faith as its core, remarking that the company “belongs to God. We just manage it.” President John Timmons offers employees paid time for a Wednesday streaming of a LifeChurch service in the company conference room. Faith clearly informs the company’s values, and a foundation of trust and dependability ably fill in the rest.
Collier states that the company has an absolute focus on both quality products and customer service, effectively its two main tenets of business. “Our goal,” he says, “is that everybody says that Timmons Oil has the best service in the business.”
The company makes itself available to its customers in practically any area they may need, with many employees having also served as on-call dispatchers at various times, and this includes the Timmons family. Collier mentions that fuel quality is monitored and tested constantly in the company, especially on its vehicles, ensuring that all necessary additives are well mixed, so customers have as few problems as possible.
The company has over five hundred fuel tanks available to loan to customers, with pick-up and delivery included. Collier notes that many customers depend on life-saving power, and in times of emergency, the brand has stepped up to ensure those people get their fuel, braving inclement weather in company vehicles when needed. Timmons has also aided in situations not directly related to its customers.
It helps in environmentally threatening situations like oil spills and provides fuel in disaster situations like hurricanes as a member of an emergency response organization. These situations are a taste of how far the company is willing to go to serve its clientele, for matters both great and small, and Collier touts the company’s mantra, ‘Customer service is a family tradition.’
He admits that the company could not make it in the industry without the support of not only its customers but its vendors. It works closely with trusted partners like Hughes Tank Company, Total, Starfire, Presto – of which Timmons is the only dealer in Oklahoma – and Schaeffer, among others.
Collier says that Timmons does not sell economy products and that everything in the company’s inventory is of premium quality. Cheaper oils tend to wear out too quickly, whereas premium oil will contain more additive.
It is also quick to acknowledge the efforts of its valued workforce, some of whom have been with the company for a long time.
The company’s hiring practices are “interested in what someone is doing, not what they’ve done.” By this, Collier means that Timmons is a non-judgmental hiring body, especially extending positions to people formerly from the military sector or possessing a criminal record. He says people deserve a second chance, and there have been employees who have been with the company for many years in supervisory or even managerial positions who have come from such backgrounds and have greatly benefited the company with their contributions.
Collier and the management staff at Timmons Oil have found that the fuels and oils market is a particularly volatile one, changing almost daily. Fuel is expensive, and he says the idea that companies make a lot of money from selling it is a myth. The hidden costs involved in delivery and selling – fuel trucks cost around $320,000 with further costs for tires and insurance – eat into that.
Much like other companies focused on delivery, Timmons Oil has also found it challenging with ongoing industry regulations, price fluctuation, and constant truck inspections to find and keep good drivers on its workforce. Collier admits that it is getting harder to be in a business that requires a commercial driver’s license, and a good driver can indeed be hard to find. However, he praises the efforts of the current workforce and says that the company is blessed by the quality of employees it has. Its workers believe in the role they play and in the company itself.
In recent years, Timmons Oil has seen its sales force expand into Springdale, Arkansas, and Collier reveals that the company has already installed a facility and begun to make sales there. There are plans to build a location in Tontitown, Arkansas, and the company is currently communicating with the township about the prospect of building a 10,000-square-foot facility there.
Collier also hopes that the company will be able to expand to the west of Tulsa, Oklahoma or elsewhere in either Oklahoma or Kansas in the future. He says the company’s business practices mean that Timmons will “do what it takes to be profitable, short of sinning… if we can grow profitably, we will; if not, we’ll remain at the size we are.”
He takes pride in the fact that when it comes to customer satisfaction, the company will sometimes lose money to be of help. It has made its name for over fifty years by serving the people who depend on its products, and for a company rooted in its values, serving others is the heart of Timmons Oil.