Discussion in 'Lets talk Business!' started by CPS Dave, Jan 4, 2017.
I'm Meg. So he was bashing my suggestions. Lol.
I'm not trying to be a dik, just shooting you straight.
Put yourself in their postion. Are you willing to work around your distributors schedule to buy your items or will you purchase from a distributor that caters to your schedule.
The distribution business is ruthless. High overhead, high freight charges, floor plans. Inventory stocking can eat you up but you can't sell it if you don't stock it. Meanwhile cleaners price shop you on the Internet.
Whatever you stock its not what they want. Stock what they want and they switched chems on you.
Haha no worries. I prefer when people are blunt and respectful at the same time which you are. I appreciate the feedback.
I agree. Was going to mention hours but I thought Someone covered it already. They are pretty lousy.
How did you get into this business and why did you decide to be a distributor?
Do you have a business plan and marketing plan?
Hey now, friendly bashing.
We don't have a formal marketing plan. We have done a lot on facebook forums. Also many phone calls to locals, follow up calls from every online order, Grand opening postcard, spotting seminar, a few raffles, a few mailchimp emails to those we have collected, etc. Marketing is clearly an opportunity for me which is why we are discussing this.
Therefund are several reasons I became a distributor. I have worked retail for 16 years. I love working with and helping customers. I got into the cleaning industry 11 years ago part time. Steered away and came back to open my cleaning business 2 years ago. Decided I enjoy it, but don't wanna suck rugs till I'm 65, and finding detail oriented employees is not easy. I know retail better, and I have enjoyed creating relationships with my mfg's. I like to be a "go to" guy and support and teach people. I don't have 250k sitting around to start with a big bang so I was trying to start small and work my way up. We have had good online sales, but locals are clutch. The other animal of course is to expand online presence to reach beyond the few Facebook groups....
Have you considered offering delivery? Free delivery with $x purchased, $50 for under that. Many of the janitorial distributors have delivery to job sites or offices so no one has to deal with 3 cases of toilet paper. Haven't seen that with carpet cleaners though. Don't leave out the janitorial side, often times there is little money in the products but you will cover the bills with it.
Yes, we just started reaching out to janitorial last week. We have also been discussing the best way to do delivery as well. We were thinking free delivery of 3 cases or more to keep it profitable. Haven't locked that in yet though.
I don't believe the locals will buy from you if you also compete with them. I could be wrong but I'm petty enough not to.
Take your time but if you want to make a serious go of it you're going to need to fully commit. Not dable but balls to the wall risk everything. Unfortunately thats what its going to take to make it. Even then its damn risky. The big guy get volume pricing and can sell lower and still make a better margin than you.
Cleaning is the easy money. Hire and train well so you can play in the distribution business.
The other guy is an independant interlink, he also has a cleaning business with 3 vans. I know it rubs some people and causes a level of trust issues. So very valid.
Dave, how big is your cleaning division, and how big is your market?
We have found about 175 local cleaners, and we have about 875,000 population.
I hate Waxie Sanitary Supply, but they are the only one that sells HOST product in town. So I have to use them. Sell something that others aren't? One of our local supply stores just started selling that CTI Weed Be Gone Stuff so I go there just to buy that. Others offer free demo classes. Interlink I look forward to going to EVEN if it is just for shoe covers, because they have coffee with different flavored creamers in the AM. I could buy shoe covers anywhere.
I might suggest then to drop your cleaning side and just focus on the sales. If you have any kids "sell" the side to them and you focus on the sales and tell people that you are not going to compete with them like the other guy does. Seems really piddly but you may just have better luck doing that. But that's my 2 cents, you have to do what is right by you.
P.s. Keep us/me updated on how you are getting along
Those hours are rough. Do you have a motion activated camera outside your door? That's the only way to know when you are missing customers trying to come when you are closed. My local Interlink closes from 2:45-3:45. I can't tell you how many times in the past year I have tried or wanted to stop by in the past year and have been caught by that time slot.
We do have surveillance, that's a good idea to check. Thanks
And that will be the reason your sales will always be limited.
Might want to go to online sales only if you don't have the bank to staff properly.
Who answers the phone if someone wants to get in touch with you or place an order or see if you stock something?
My employees answer the phone during business hours and I have a business cell phone that I answer after hours when available.
I am a full time retail manager trying to grow the supply business so I can leave my corporate job. At some point I am going to have to risk it all and jump ship to get the supply shop going.