Distributors – Regional-based vs. Online

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Our company only supplies regional-based distributors, never online retailers. The reason we do this is because we see that the regional distributor adds considerable value to the contractor in terms of training, sales support and on-the-ground technical support. We feel that online retailers can only offer a slight price advantage at the expense of real customer support.

    I'm posting this here because I'd like to hear whether or not you experience the value of regional distributors. In other words, how important is in-person support and a local presence to draw upon?
  2. Travisty

    Travisty LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    We have had a remarkable amount of help from our distributor. Since we just started out he has actually even walked jobs with us and helped us with our designs. I can't say enough about how much help he has been with product lines and help starting our business. Our distributor has even been so helpful as to let us borrow his demo kit for our first jobs.

    Travis Schiffner
  3. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Right now I only use 2 distributors. Longhorn irrigation supply here in Texas and Terradek in Minnesota. Sometimes I need to use the larger distributor (Terradek) because of selection. Both of these distributors are members of the LVLIA and are very knowledgeable about the industry.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I met the owner of my distribution company Chuck link just the other day. He is full of knowledge and very willing to share. We are having dinner Tuesday night and will discuss marketing and design as we are just starting up in lighting.

    Its benificial to both of us. The more I learn the more I make the more I make the more he makes. Having a seasoned person like that a phone call or email away is priceless. I can order online from him as well so no worries. I like having product 30 min away and being able to pick it up as needed. Keeps my costs down as I dont need to overly stock things and technical support is 2nd to none.

    You can keep them online distributors. Customer service is alive and well with chuck link and florida/southern outdoor lighting distributors. If your distributors are giving you hassels I suggest you get with him. No pressure to buy in bulk and no headaches if you need to make a return.
  5. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Southern Outdoor Lighting Distributors (Chuck Link) are also LVLIA members. He knows is stuff!! These are the kind of guys that you want to do business with.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I plan to :) the more the better lol.
  7. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    I believe service is the real issue, followed by product availability then pricing. If you have no service, it doesn't matter how cheap you can get the product if there is no one to assist or back up the product they sell. We are all in the service business and charge accordingly for that high level of knowledge and service. If it weren't for the distributors and manufacturers representatives i would have a very difficult time doing all the work I am able to accomplish.

  8. Frog Lights  LLC

    Frog Lights LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    Our company is establishing regional distribution. It is our goal to provide quality merchandise at a price that will put the profit back in "your" pocket. We are not in a position to handle on line distribution for very small orders.
  9. SamIV

    SamIV LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    I feel I would be doing my distributor a disservice if I would buy online. Price alone does not make a distributor. The service he has given me and advice especially in marketing, no online distributor could match. I am truly endeared to his business and he to mine. If you are buying online just to save a buck, you probably are not charging enough. By the way, I use the same distrbutor as Pro - Scapes.

    Sam IV
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Burt sorry you had to miss a nice dinner. Full of great info. I had my lovley wife and our partner with us and we had a great time. Now thats dedication. If your customers appreciate your dedication to them why shouldnt you appreciate it right back. We are all confident this is going no where but the top.

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