I'll throw my experiance in here.
I thought I could save some money and get better coal by taking a road trip. Local prices are $325/ ton delivered, I picked up 6 tons at $170/ ton. Sounds like a huge savings! Well add my fuel, a night in the hotel, new tires on the trailer every three years, registration and taxes on the trailer, it brings it up to $295 per ton. Damn! I'm not saving a lot of money, and now I have to shovel all this coal and spend all sorts of time on it that I never had to with delivered bags. All this work for $15 per month savings. This of course does not figure in wear and tear on my truck, and God forbid something breaks. Not to mention my ride home was scary! Legal, but scary.
Now on top of this, I'm sick and can't shovel coal now. My wife could handle the bags, but not the shoveling. I'm pulling favors from friends to shovel coal for me until I'm well. I'll be ordering bags in the summer!
On another note, I'll have a real nice coal bin/ hauling trailer for sale in a month or so when it's empty!
I also did the math. I was only looking at ordering a TT load and having it delivered, to Eastern Maine. I found that after buying the load and paying shipping, and getting it off the truck here, I was not better off by enough to make it worth it. This was buying bagged as opposed to buying bagged here. Buying bulk would have saved more, but I would have had to get it off the ground and into some sort of storage. It is do able, Freddy does it, but you have to build a bin with access, keep it dry, and have a bucket loader(I had 2), The cost of this did not justify the extra few dollars a month for just buying it from the local dealer. Unless his prices got crazy.
I didn't even consider the road trip, 700 miles to NEPA.
If I was to go back to my youth, I would have built my house with coal in mind and had a bin built into the house with an auger feed. I would have saved enough over the years to more then justify it.