Should you give your supplier info to competitors?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by ginkgo1, Apr 19, 2003.

  1. ginkgo1

    ginkgo1 LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 6

    We are a small garden center and landscaping company in KY. We are often asked by competitors or other businesses where we get our supplies.
    What is the proper response? We found it so can you. We don't give out that info. Forget it.

    I don't want to be rude but isn't it rude to ask or am i being unreasonable.

    What would you do or say? Thanks
  2. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

  3. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    These people think you are stupid. Rub your forehead, say, "Excuse me, is 'Stupid' written up there?"

    This is common in retail business. Ask them why do they want to know. Then ask them why you would want to put yourself out of business by telling them.

    Just tell them, "I am the supplier that you are looking for. You need look no further. I do the searching for the best deals, so that you don't have to."
    I do some retail business, and deal with this all of the time. Get used to it.
    PS Now you owe me, so tell me, where do you get your stuff?
    Don't fall for this one either....
  4. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    I'd say you have other problems if revealing your product source will hurt your business.
  5. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Suppliers and sources are not shared much by astute businesses. Possibly suggesting that the competitor join a state or local professional organization or simply tell them you go on buying trips 'all over' would be a polite way of saying "NO".
  6. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    During late winter/early spring the major suppliers in our area (for parts and equipment) puts on a "feed" for their commercial customers. They serve barbeque, brats, red beans and rice etc. As I was sitting there with my competitors I made a comment about the sliding discount policy they had ($250 - 3%; $500.00 - 6%; $1000.00+ 11%) and said I wish I was getting the 11% discount. One thing led to another and before long three of us combined our order under my company. We purchased over $2000.00 worth of material, we each received an additional 5% discount we would have not received if we had gone it alone. I had the supplier create a separtae invoice for each set of parts. Offer to give your competition the identical price you would get but without any discount you leverage out of your supplier for increased sales. Your profit increases, you look like a nice guy and it's a win - win for everyone. If your supplier isn't going to offer an additional discount to you for the increased sales then say I'd say that's priveleged information that they don't have a need to know. For us, we were all sitting around the table but if I had a unique supplier(s) I wouldn't let on to the supplier about my increased purchases either.
  7. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    There are a lot of different types of suppliers that are used in this industry. Talking about where to buy fertilizer or mower parts isn't nearly as sensitive and telling a competitor where to buy large caliper trees at a good price. In the scenario above, you all were already customers of that supplier so there was no secret about who you bought from in that instance.
  8. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I look at it this way:
    Are you friends with the competition, do you talk about problems, the day, equipment etc? Like some competitions I talk to and some others I don't. Like with wriken..he is just a hop skip and away from me and we talk about everything. I am sure that both of us don't share every secret, but we share a lot of information. We actually can both solve a lot of each others problems. So a competition can actually be your friend and help you out in times of need or with problems.

    It just depends whether or not you can trust them and they won't stab you in the back.

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