I have never had an issue of folks shopping my fixtures, and here is why. This is just a suggestion and please don't be offended but, perhaps you should sell yourself as a lighting designer instead of a brand fixture salesman. Kichler has enough folks on the payroll doing just that already. Instead of listing every brand, model number, piece and part on your quote sheet, be simpler and more generic- I know my clients couldn't care less as long as they know they are getting a solid product- they are buying "ME". When you list brand and model numbers on your quote sheet you are opening yourself up to be shopped. When I sell, my clients rarely, (if ever ask me about brand), I just hand them a sample of what I will be using and am very general on my quote sheet. i.e...(8 spots, 7 mini wash, 4 path lights etc). This is a doctor patient relationship with your client- stop acting like a fixture peddler and they will stop treating you like one. There are doctors and there are pharmaceutical reps- which one are you going to be?
Regardless of what brand you sell or how you acquire your product- there is always markup put on it; (even if my clients know what I bought it for). You see, most of our clients are professionals and business owners themselves. They understand about making profit and purchasing. That is simply just business. The whole notion of having my hands tied and that I can't mark-up product because I buy product from outside the antiquated, supply house distribution chain network, is just a silly statement. My clients don't care about becoming my competition in the fixture buying realm. They just want a great job at a fair price. Just because they can buy equipment at the same price doesn't make them a lighting pro. When they open the fixture box- 10-15 years of design experience and know how does not come with the fixtures- and most know that. Trust me, they have all seen friends of theirs try to save a buck and they know how poorly it turned out.
Is it necessary for contractors (who continue to purchase overpriced equipment), to continually bash and belittle those who may buy on-line and save money for their business? Just because their business model is different than yours, doesn't make it wrong or dishonest in any way as many here would infer. Now granted, some of the online retailers sell junk- but some of it is very very good and superior to what I buy at my local distributor at half the cost. Why should I feel obligated to line someone else's pockets with profit I could keep for my family and the health of my business? Is there some displaced sense of loyalty that some must support the local distribution network? Why? Are the online retailers any less loyal to me because I choose to have a part shipped to my doorstep instead of wasting 2 hours driving across town to pick up a $30 part for a little face time? Local distributors have done nothing to improve or aid my business. They are just a middle man stock house that is generally "understocked" and "over-priced". The days of the local distribution house are numbered- contractors are already waking up to the fact that they can leverage their purchasing power better on-line to make more profit and be more competitive in a stale economy. I believe you will see some groundbreaking things in the next several years that will change everything about where and how, as well as the convenience and speed and price at which contractors can procure their equipment.
Ok, done with my soapbox.