View Full Version : Question about loyalty to suppliers

07-17-2008, 10:02 PM
Question: I'm getting more into irrigation repair this year, to the point that I've gotten acquainted and set up accounts with "more than a couple" of the suppliers in my home town.

I've gotten a line of credit with one of them that will be useful for lighting jobs. (I'm not doing irrigation installs yet, and I don't know if I will start doing them or not.)

However, I'm one of those guys who frankly can't carry everything with me on the truck... which often leaves me dashing off to the nearest supplier for parts.

So... what's the protocol for dealing with suppliers? Is it considered good form to settle on one and enjoy a long, happy marriage with them? Or is it expected that one will play the field and go wherever it's most convenient to go in a particular situation?


CAPT Stream Rotar
07-17-2008, 10:25 PM
We go where we must for the proper stuff..Sometimes 1 place runs out which forces us to cheat on our marriages..I go to my guys cause they warranty my stuff, help me out when ever they can, and let me know about promotions ect before they happen..

I say don't cheat on your main person if you don't have to...But when your in a pinch do what you gotta do....Our place delivers our stuff, even to the job if needs be..

does yours?

07-17-2008, 10:37 PM
I would find one that is the most convienent for you. My supplier delivers to us on the job site and does not always charge us a shipping fee because we are one of their main customers. They are usually always in stock for what we need in installs and will place orders for us for specialty items. However, they don't stock everything and we go to another supplier to get items that are used in tech work to repair the odd item we occasionally run to. Our loyalty is with our supplier, and they know it, and they make efforts to give us discounts to ensure we are happy with them.

Mike Leary
07-17-2008, 10:45 PM
[QUOTE=OKSooner;2423133So... what's the protocol for dealing with suppliers? Is it considered good form to settle on one and enjoy a long, happy marriage with them? Or is it expected that one will play the field and go wherever it's most convenient to go in a particular situation?TIA[/QUOTE]

When I first started out, there was one supplier in my market; the sign on the
door said " to the trade only". They treated me like crap,I asked too many
questions, geez, I was learning the trade! Finally, as I got going I told the
branch mgr., "I may hit the big time, you can't take that chance, can you?"
As other suppliers showed up, I had accounts with them, too, but kept
reminding them, "I need service & percentages." Over the years, I settled
on one supplier who kept me up on prices, dropped off my parts at the sites,
made sure my costs were as low as possible, they made their money off me
in volume, & stepped up to the plate in keeping me happy, which is almost
impossible during the heat of the season.Pimp the suppliers, they work for
you, not the other way around. Find the rep that believes in you & stick with

07-17-2008, 11:05 PM
You have got to do what is best for you... that is the way our clients treat us anyway.

07-17-2008, 11:33 PM
I used to buy more bulk quantities at regular intervals at the Ewing about 10 miles away (with busy commute traffic in between) and onesie, twosie items at a small distributor closer to home.

Then that smaller distributor offered better discounts and terms and expanded their offerings, so I did more business there...

Then about two years ago Ewing opened another branch much closer to me, and they're seeing me a lot lately too.

Go with the best pricing and the best service... and if you're going to have accounts at more than one, I would say make sure that between them they cover all your needs and don't duplicate each other much.

And don't let anyone take your business for granted.

07-17-2008, 11:45 PM
It is a delicate balance. Funny how we ask our customers to set a pricing standard for us that is profitable and then turn around and become what we hate with our suppliers. Maybe not funny, I just don't know.

07-17-2008, 11:59 PM
I keep a "primary" supplier who I use for everything. I do keep a couple of secondary suppliers for convenience sake or the for the sake of keeping old acquaintances fresh.

I'm doing a major install in the far north part of town; I had to dust off one of my old secondary suppliers as they are by far the closest to that site, so any time we need some stuff in a hurry, I go there. Just got an invoice from them; reminds me why I shop elsewhere when I can, nothing like getting charged 30% more for pipe than any of your other suppliers charge... grrrr

AI Inc
07-18-2008, 07:22 AM
Im lucky here . The main branch for a good supplier is in the town between my shop and my house. Any order called in before 3pm will be at my house when I get home.There is also a jdl on my streetif need be.

h20 guy
07-18-2008, 03:14 PM
Been dealing with a small local supplier for many years, always treated me fairly on price, and delivery. Also fantastic on the advice end of it. Went to JD once and left knowing I'm not in the mood to try to figure out a "Point" system for my pricing when I'm busier than ever in the summer. Always keeping my supplier Honest on pricing though!