What would you like to see from a supplier

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by tillerstick, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. tillerstick

    tillerstick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    We touched on this in a previous thread, but what do you, the professional, look for from a supplier? I am always trying to figure out how to best service my customers, so I figure I would ask. I am in contact with my customers, and hopefully know their expectations, but my area is limited. So here is the chance to tell; us as you are our bosses. What is it that we can do to better serve you?
  2. What is it you do?
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  3. tillerstick

    tillerstick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    I am a supplier of both fertilizer and control products for the landscape professional and golf superintendent. That is my job.

    What I do is actually try my best to give my customers great service, great products at very competitive pricing. I return calls quickly and efficiently, but I will not answer a call when I am speaking with a customer. (I find that very rude and disrespectful to the person with whom I am speaking.) My motto is, " I may get beat on price, but I will not be beat on service." I am not always the lowest price, but hopefully I can show the added benefit of my service.
  4. Oh ok. Well, you are doing the right things so IMO don't change anything. Calling people back right away is prob the best thing you can do, so great job!
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  5. lawnguy26

    lawnguy26 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 208

    The main thing i look for is price and product availabilty. As long as you have what i need at the best price im buying from you. I dont care if the guy behind the counter is an a-hole, if his product is $3 a bag cheaper im buying from him. With the fluctuating prices in N and K somebody always has older stock they purchased cheaper and are still selling cheaper.

    For instance, rigt now three suppliers i buy from have ammonium sulfate selling for $14.50, $14.25 and$11.25. Guess who im buying from? if youre trying to sell me blade and i know i can go across town and get mansion for half the price...you can see where im going with this. I already know what i want and i just want it sold to me at the best price.

    However, if price is similar on a cetain product, like celsius, or the difference is minimal then i buy from the guy i like the best, but even that is more likely based on personality and similar interests rather then customer service.
  6. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Do whatever you can do to keep your cost low. i do not care if my supplier is running out of a old barn as long as I can get in and out quickly.....count on you to have the product I came to get instock.....and I can get it at a price which allows me to have a edge on the competition.
    IMHO suppliers need to have a better grasp of what they are dealing too. If I ask a question...you should be able to give me some input on what you have heard from other customers on results etc. Just reading what the label to me does nothing for me...I can read the label but I am asking you for input because I would think you should have a good input.

    One of the things that Lesco has that my other supplier does not have....a website that list their product and the Cost. Why is this important....because I can spend time sitting down and researching what gives me the best value in terms of application.

    Last but not least....don't forget us little guys. I only have a limited license and my supplier just restructured cost of products based off history so instead of giving one commercial discount it is based off you business volume. I have only been using this supplier since the first of the year so my volume history is not there. My cost went up $9 for 40 oz of Dominon which had a previous cost to me of 25.25 for the 40 oz. That is a huge difference.....when I emailed my rep with my concerns about this and informed him that I could buy many products off the internet now because the would ship them to my house for under what they charge if I go to the store.....all he said was sorry that is the way the company is going and that he was sorry to see it as he knew he was going to lose a lot of his little guys. Even though we are not buying pallets of fert etc at a time...our money is still green and I am sure you still enjoy the profits off our purchases.
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969



    I use different suppliers for different reasons. Lesco is Right on the corner like 7-11 so I buy from them like I would a Convenience Store in a pinch for product. I buy from Ag suppliers like Helena for bulk everyday product because of low Price. I buy from Univar twice a month so I can stay log into their private website which has training and free CEU's etc. I guess Univar is blackmailing me into buying from them because of their website which is mostly structural Pest Control information which doesn't conflict with Lawnsite.

  8. tillerstick

    tillerstick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Loving the insight so far. I do ask the question of basing purchasing just on price. While I completely agree that price must come into the equation, do you not sell yourself on service rather than just price. I have had the conversation with many applicators that feel they are worth more than the next guy because of the superior service that they offer. Is your supplier not the same? I am in sales, but I feel like I am not a salesman, but a serviceman. I am always willing to give you an extra set of eyes on a problem property if you are a customer.( If you're buying from the other guy, try to get him out there to look.) I also am offering classes for CEU's so I am glad that you find value in that Ric. I will do soil samples for you at my cost and then help you to interpret them. It is not just about pH. So, when you look at price only, are you really getting the right product for what you need? True 21-0-0 is usually the same, but old stock can be a brick as well. I try to keep my inventory fresh. I am hopefully moving it as quick as it comes in. I know I hate to open a bag of fertilizer that is either dusty, wet, or smells so strong of ammonia that I I am afraid to use it.

    I was with Lesco for about 6 years and left a year ago. One thing about the website, is the price can change at the register. It is not always accurate so it is best to contact your local store. It is true that bulk buyers get quite a price break from most suppliers, but I love my smaller customers. Most of them are credit card or check customers which is guaranteed income. And, that small guy today may be huge tomorrow. To me, it is fun to watch them grow from a backpack to a spray rig to a fleet of trucks. Hopefully, they have allowed me to be a partner with them in growing their business.

    Thanks so much for the input guys. I look forward to hearing a lot more!
  9. tillerstick

    tillerstick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Landscape Poet...funny about operating out of an old barn...I actually warehouse out of 2700 sq. ft. warehouse at a mini storage warehouse. It ain't pretty, but it's secure, dry, and my overhead is low. Not a lot of fancy lights or shiny things, but most customers are there to get there products and get out. Usually not the place for socializing.

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