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View Full Version : Supplier loyalty


DanaMac
02-16-2009, 12:00 PM
In an effort to get more irrigation topics going this winter..........

What makes you loyal to your supplier? Price? Location? Knowledgeable workers? Delivery? Convenience? Been using them for 20 years? Free donuts on Friday?

I stick with Ewing for a few reasons. Mainly, Dennis the manager goes out of his way to make me feel like we are a major company even though we are a low volume buyer since we only do service. He calls to let us know when there are classes available, some sales going on, if I want tickets to baseball games, etc. He has referred me to another guy that was retiring, but I didn't have the manpower to take that guys customers at that time. They all refer to us when homeowners call. And overall their pricing is for the most part better than the others for me. They are also located right off the interstate, one exit up from my shop.

Dennis also talked me through a repair one Saturday on the phone for about an hour total. Valve would turn on run for about a minute, and then zone would shut down. It eventually turned out to be a drip pressure regulator that the original installer put in backwards. It worked for 3 years and then failed. dennis asked if there was one, and I couldn't see one in the VB, so I dug past it and BINGO! Buried, and backwards. So thanks Dennis, Dave and Mike.

EagleLandscape
02-16-2009, 12:09 PM
Location and price are big ones. I guess convenience goes with location. There are two major parts of town that we work in, all all supply houses have setup shop in the same neighborhoods. The main players, and located in these areas, some of the smaller supply houses are only setup in one.

Brands carried, (ie: RB, Hunter, Irritrol, WM, Toro...) is also a factor. Some places don't stock certain manufacturers.

We are loyal to one supply house currently, and I don't see us moving.

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-16-2009, 12:13 PM
I like the ones that give me sh@t when I walk in the door. I don't trust people who are nice to me. I'd rather be hated than patronized. Plus bad relationships have better dialogue.

DanaMac
02-16-2009, 12:14 PM
Location and price are big ones. I guess convenience goes with location. There are two major parts of town that we work in, all all supply houses have setup shop in the same neighborhoods. The main players, and located in these areas, some of the smaller supply houses are only setup in one.

Brands carried, (ie: RB, Hunter, Irritrol, WM, Toro...) is also a factor. Some places don't stock certain manufacturers.

We are loyal to one supply house currently, and I don't see us moving.

I started at Turf Irrigation, which was bought by UGM, which was bought by JDL. I was staying with them over the years due to the people there. But most moved on and then one particular person took over the show for a while, and she PO'd everybody. JDL is one block from Ewing and I haven't been there in about 4 years. There are a three others that we go to in a pinch, but location is not good. The manager for of them lives RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM ME. If I need something for the next morning, he'll bring it home and leave it in my truck.

Mike Leary
02-16-2009, 12:23 PM
We are loyal to one supply house currently, and I don't see us moving.

Same with us, I used to pimp my three suppliers against each other, but finally got such great customer service ("I need a fitting now!") and pricing from one house; stayed with them. :clapping:

hoskm01
02-16-2009, 12:31 PM
Location, price and service.

DBC is in about the precise center of our current service area.

Free breakfast every friday through the spring.

Emergency deliveries, quick quotes and nice people. Give a little schitt, get a little schitt, good working relationship.

mitchgo
02-16-2009, 12:33 PM
We have a ton of irrigation supply businesses here. ( john deer, e-wing , bereky, united pipe supply, hd fowler and a couple more)

We use john deer. They are about 10 miles from us but they deliver our supplies every week and not only give us the business discount we get an additional 2% in discounts. Which is awesome because when I personally need irrigation items I can buy them at the business cost and just pay my boss the tax later on.

E-wing and united pipe supply is maybe 1 mile from us but they are much more expensive. If i'm on the run and need a item I will stop by here. ( My boss never wants me to buy tools here though)

Our poly pipe we order in huge bulk due to one of my cousins works at hd fowler and gives our company a great deal

Waterit
02-16-2009, 04:25 PM
14 years ago I had a local supply house called TIECO that I did about 200K a year with. Long story short, I got into a jam, asked all my vendors (sod farm, wholesale nursery, etc.) to work with me. Everyone did except TIECO. Their response was small claims court. Haven't spent maybe $100 with them since.

So I went to Century Rain Aid, but when it became JDL they lost their feel for the little guy, and I lost any desire to feed the big guy.

Went to another local vendor, got tired of them not having what I needed and their delivery times were horrible.

I now use Ewing almost exclusively - great service, pricing about the same overall as the other players. Mgr. is an old friend, lives nearby and will drop stuff off on his way home or over the weekend. Plus the kickback at the end of the year!

ARGOS
02-16-2009, 04:39 PM
I wish I had a choice.

Mike Leary
02-16-2009, 05:00 PM
I wish I had a choice.

So, we have not faced the same thing?

HokieAg07
02-16-2009, 06:36 PM
I have three distributors to choose from, I try to deal with Atlantic exclusively due to customer service and manufacturer availability. My other choices are Smith Turf and John Deere. I go to Smith Turf when I need Toro stuff and visits to John Deere are few and far between.. .

Stuttering Stan
02-16-2009, 06:55 PM
1. Location 2. Price
When gas was high last summer, I tried to run trucks efficiently. So location is the biggest factor. Plus time driving = money lost

Price really isn't a big issue since all suppliers are usually within pennies of each other.

My main supplier, Turf and Garden, carries Hunter and Rbird. Although they lack product knowledge because they also sell fertilizers, mowers, pesticides, and everything else in the green industry.

DanaMac
02-16-2009, 07:33 PM
My main supplier, Turf and Garden, carries Hunter and Rbird.

So who sells you the K-Rain? :laugh:

There are certain repair parts that Ewing has set me up with for better pricing. I don't buy mass quantities of pipe or valves or high end rotors. but we buy lots of PVB repair kits, and brass ball valves.

HokieAg07
02-16-2009, 07:35 PM
My main supplier, Turf and Garden, carries Hunter and Rbird. Although they lack product knowledge because they also sell fertilizers, mowers, pesticides, and everything else in the green industry.

The Turf and Garden branch up here closed up or is in the process of closing.

DanaMac
02-16-2009, 07:38 PM
The Turf and Garden branch up here closed up or is in the process of closing.

We have one local supplier, LL Johnson, that has two locations. One older beat up building about 1.5 miles from my shop. And another brand new one (2 years or less) out east where we never go. The older one is closing up this month and consolidating to the newer one. Economy has hit them from what I heard.

Stuttering Stan
02-16-2009, 07:53 PM
The Turf and Garden branch up here closed up or is in the process of closing.

That's right. I remember getting a letter in the summer saying "In order to improve efficiency......yadayadayad..... store is closing". I never went to that one so I wasn't affected by it. There really are not many suppliers in this area, I can think of only 3. Maybe I should open a supply house?????

Stuttering Stan
02-16-2009, 07:57 PM
[QUOTE=DanaMac;2775659]So who sells you the K-Rain? :laugh:QUOTE]
Come to think of it, I've never seen K-rain in supply houses. May have seen it in big box as I walked by the plumbing aisle to get a crapper repair kit. I don't frequent big box like some others on here (they would never admit to it, I'll leave it at that!)

ARGOS
02-16-2009, 08:26 PM
I don't have a big box store to shop at.

rlpsystems
02-16-2009, 08:53 PM
Quality is just as, if not more important than price. I deal with the local JDL. Awesome pricing in the "partners program". PGPS just came down in price, so that just in time for start ups. Also the branch manager has become more of a friend than "salesman". When times get tough I think it's best to stay with one supplier. There more likely to work with you versus the big box places.

greenmonster304
02-16-2009, 09:12 PM
I have two suppliers to chose from, one is Atlantic irrigation and the other is a locally own supply house.

Atlantic is great the guy Matt who runs it is a super guy. Even though I only have a small business he treats me like I spend millions.

The other locally own house is great too. It is owned by friends of my family and employs my neighbor's on either side of me. They have just about every thing you could want from well points, pumps, tanks, irrigation supplies, drainage, plumbing, pool supplies, electrical parts, muck boots, grundons foul weather gear, and a lot of stuff I am forgetting. the best part is all the fittings are right there for you to pick from so if you aren't sure how to build something you can stand there and fit it until you get it right.

rlpsystems
02-16-2009, 09:51 PM
I have two suppliers to chose from, one is Atlantic irrigation and the other is a locally own supply house.

Atlantic is great the guy Matt who runs it is a super guy. Even though I only have a small business he treats me like I spend millions.

The other locally own house is great too. It is owned by friends of my family and employs my neighbor's on either side of me. They have just about every thing you could want from well points, pumps, tanks, irrigation supplies, drainage, plumbing, pool supplies, electrical parts, muck boots, grundons foul weather gear, and a lot of stuff I am forgetting. the best part is all the fittings are right there for you to pick from so if you aren't sure how to build something you can stand there and fit it until you get it right.

Grundens foul weather gear, great for those muddy holes.

bobw
02-16-2009, 11:48 PM
Around here, suppliers each only carry one manufacturer, and most manufacturers only have one or two suppliers. So, I use mainly rainbird, so I can choose between two supply houses. I use the one that has a good location and actually has pretty good senior staff (counter staff can be a bit braindead). For Irritrol stuff, the supplier I use is based on the people that work there; like them, don't like the other Irritrol supply house...

Everytime I read about you guys with JDL everywhere, I feel like I'm missing something...

EagleLandscape
02-17-2009, 08:05 AM
You arent missing anything with JDL. Their prices are through the roof. RB's pricing is about to come down 20% or so on alot of items from what I just heard from an certain someone. Apparently they were losing some of the market share.

AI Inc
02-17-2009, 08:37 AM
Price and service. The one I use is located at my exit and If I call them before 4 pm , anything I want will either be at my house when I get home , or the shop by AM start.

DanaMac
02-17-2009, 10:02 AM
RB's pricing is about to come down 20% or so on alot of items from what I just heard from an certain someone.

My supplier told me this a month ago and I received a notice on it last week. PGPs came down in price too.

Tom Tom
02-17-2009, 10:59 AM
You arent missing anything with JDL.

I agree with that, although our local JDL has a pretty good counter guy. This guy tells the most hilarious sprinkler mishaps (from other contractors) that I've ever heard.

Ewing has become my preferred supplier. They have a huge assortment of repair parts, great counter guys and manager. They keep you informed of current classes, workshops and most importantly free bbq's.

I haven't heard one peep from our local JDL. But then again, I'm small time to them and have been hibernating myself

DanaMac
02-17-2009, 11:00 AM
I agree with that, although our local JDL has a pretty good counter guy. This guy tells the most hilarious sprinkler mishaps (from other contractors) that I've ever heard.

Ewing has become my preferred supplier. They have a huge assortment of repair parts, great counter guys and manager. They keep you informed of current classes, workshops and most importantly free bbq's.

I haven't heard one peep from our local JDL. But then again, I'm small time to them and have been hibernating myself

Tom's back! Yeaaaahhhhh!!!

Tom Tom
02-17-2009, 11:07 AM
Tom's back! Yeaaaahhhhh!!!

2 more posts to hit 700! Leary's looking over his shoulder :laugh:

Mike Leary
02-17-2009, 11:15 AM
Tom's back! Yeaaaahhhhh!!!

Welcome back, Tom, I trust the lobotomy went well, or do you remember? :dizzy:

Tom Tom
02-17-2009, 11:17 AM
Welcome back, Tom, I trust the lobotomy went well, or do you remember? :dizzy:

I'll let you know in a couple weeks after my dentist checkup.

Mike Leary
02-17-2009, 02:23 PM
I remember when I was first starting out, dweeb that I was, treated poor at the supply house (the sign on the door said, "to the trade only"). I got so pissed I went to the manager and told him, "you can't take the chance , I might be a player some day". Customer service improved, and I did business with them for twenty years.

djt22
02-17-2009, 11:40 PM
Has anyone paid good attention to their pricing week to week from JDL. Have heard it is never the same week to week?

rlpsystems
02-18-2009, 05:11 PM
Has anyone paid good attention to their pricing week to week from JDL. Have heard it is never the same week to week?

When I first started buying from JDL it seems that the price of pvc would vary. I have been purchasing 90% of material from JDL and have no problem with their pricing. Spending at least 25k a year with JDL puts you into their "Partners" program which gets you their best prices. I also deal with a rather small JDL, so that might have something to do with it to.

DarkLotus
02-18-2009, 08:55 PM
I have found that FIS Outdoor has to be one of the most competitive suppliers I have seen. Their staff in South Florida is nothing to brag about. The West coast of Florida is a lot better and the same about the Orland branches. I don't know much about the staff in GA and the others.

When I was working the NE, Aquarius Irrigation was decent, with great counter staff and a sales team who bent over backward for me. I think they have like 10 more branches or so. I'm not too sure about their others.

Like it was mentioned earlier, pricing is about the same throughout. Customer service is where it's at for me. I want the supplier to come out to the job site under any circumstance and help me out. Hats and whatnot are always cool too!

bicmudpuppy
02-19-2009, 12:04 AM
Dana, I think your title says it all. The SUPPLIERS Loyalty determines how loyal I am. Are they there when I need some help with warranty or product support? Do they bump the prices when Joe homeowner walks in? or do they cut my throat and offer the home owner half my discount or more so they can "make a buck" on the walk in? Do they give me the best price they can? or, because I'm a small outfit, do they stick it to me, but give the guy buying 250K a year another ten or fifteen points off? Being treated in a manner I consider FAIR is first. Being knowledgeable runs a close second.