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I cannot believe my eyes

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Billy: Your 'stocking distributor' should be just that. They should stock the inventory that you need for you. That is ultimately what they are making their 30-40% for isnt it?

    The last decade or so has seen a big drop in inventory levels carried by distributors. I have always pushed my vendors hard to carry the inventory that I require in the volumes that will keep my business supplied properly. Luckily I have found a few vendors who appreciate the volume and loyalty and are willing to inventory the items I need.

    Developing a solid relationship with a distributor is key to keeping overhead costs down. Why inventory product at your shop (tie up your money in stock) when you can have pretty much anything you require shipped to your door from your distributor overnight? If you live in a large urban area, that delivery time can be reduced to hours, and for strong loyalty, should come at little to no cost to you the 'customer'.

    Push those distributors hard guys... then keep the PO's coming.... before long you will find a shelf in their warehouse with your name on it.

    Have a great day.
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    when sold was here they always had most of what i needed. I have no problem waiting 2 days for stuff in most cases. What i need more of is service after the sale or if a goof was made. We are all human and mistakes happen no matter if it comes from the manufacture or the distributors end. If a goof is made the goofing party should correct it. You know good and well if any of us made a mistake for a client we would need to correct it and correct is ASAP.

    im not the biggest contractor by far but my business is growing. I dont have a problem commiting to 1 primary source. There will always be little things or specialty things that your primary wont have. That primary better keep prices right... provide service before and after the sale and offer smooth support should things not function as they should.
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    James is spot on here guys. Distribution is a "show me" kind of buisness. You have to understand that every contractor that walks intot a distributor is the next best thing in the world according to his own words. The distributors get it everyday from guys inflating their real buying power to get the best discount. The best thing you can do is go in to make a deal when you are ready to purchase a job. Show the distributor you are serious and are not just yanking his chain. Be upfront with how much you really buy but also lay out your demands. Let them know what you like and what you expect to be ont he shelf to keep your buisness. Some distributors are harder to work with than others and bottom line is you need to like who you are doing buisness with for the relationship to be succesfull.

    Joey D.
  4. Watson Irrigation

    Watson Irrigation LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Being a distributor, I agree completely with James on this. Solid relationships are the key.
    I hate to generalize distributor business practices, but I for one am more than willing to stock what my contractors buy and use, NOT what they say they are going to use. "Show me" is right. I cannot tell you how many contractors walk in the door and "demand" the best prices and that I stock my shelves for them in order to earn their business, and then we don't see their faces for several months. Just recently I had a guy come in patting his own back, making demands, collecting literature, asking questions, etc., only to leave the minute he found out that my deck light was $1.50 higher than the identical deck light at the lighting showroom. When I asked him how much help they gave him with ideas, training, designs, troubleshooting, and customer service, he admitted that those things were totally lacking. (But their price was better, so that makes up for it! :hammerhead:) Anyway, I know not all contractors are like this guy, and please be aware that not all irrigation distributors have the "deer in the headlight" look when talking about LV lighting. Find a good distributor, and you might just learn a thing or two, WHILE teaching THEM something.

    Does this sound like a rant? Sorry.
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    I think what Chris said here is good for everyone to hear. Not all Irrigation Distributors are up to speed with lighting but there are quite a few that are. I know some real good guys that work for Shemin, ISS, Horizon, and a handful of others that can and do lay out jobs form beginning to end and do a good job with it. I also know there are guys/distributors that participate here and are really knowlegable as well like Craig Freeman, Chris here from Watson who seems up to speed, and Dave Homsansky. I think the problem lies that not all "counter" personel are always trained on lighting but I know we try really hard to offer all of our distribution proper training for all of their staff. It is just very hard on both ends to make every person a "lighting guy". Irrigation is their primary buisness and we have to respect that. But the more you guys speak up to your distributors the more they will listen and hopefully make changes to put more effort into lighting for you.

    Joey D.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I think if a dist is unknowledgeable about a product they probably shouldnt be selling it. I see alot around here that sell to landscapers and irrigation guys and they tell them the connectors are included (quick discs) or just connect the lights to the main cable ect.

    If they are knowledgeable about irrigation they can obviously learn a bit more about lighting. This falls on the dist and the manufactures. Manufactures see dollar signs when they sign on a new dist and get that opening order. Some do a better job than others.

    Sometimes even the lighting only dist have only marginal knowledge of the product lines. Someplace you gotta draw the line between being a salesman and pushing the product and being a friend and taking care of the guys who decide to buy from you.
  7. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    Many so called distributors that exist today are so called Drop ship distributors meaning they stock very little and only make orders when the orders come in from contractors. The stuff gets shipped directly to the contractor from the manu and the distributor does the billing for a fee tacked on with no financial investment on their part. Why stock Vista when they can/will quick ship in one day? This type of policy with them at least discourages keeping anything but the fast sellers in stock. Why tie up money in inventory which takes shelf space and collects dust? At least thats' what Vista distributors are thinking. They are reaping what they've sown.

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