This is the third part of a four-part article about wall-mounted chemical proportioners.

Selling chemical proportioners can give distributors a leg up on the competition, especially for those that offer a diversified product line to fulfill a variety of cleaning needs.

“We don’t approach a customer with a plan of what we’re going to sell him if we’ve never been there before,” says Gruber. “At the end of the day you want to be able to offer your customer as many systems and options as possible.”

Customers can choose from a wide range of chemicals as well as how many products they want to run through the dilution station. Typically, dispensers hold two to four products at a time; however, customers can switch out one chemical for another, giving them unlimited options. Some systems operate via dials, while others use buttons or programmable touch screens, depending on the manufacturer.

“It’s all about customer preference,” says Gruber. “The dispensers all do the same thing — mix a concentrated product with water — but the mechanism is up to the end user.”
 
Despite the array of options, distributors often urge customers to keep it simple. One or two chemicals may be all that is necessary for some customers. Furthermore multiple knobs and buttons can confuse end users, resulting in the wrong product being dispensed. Users may also get frustrated with too many options to choose from and forgo using the system altogether.

“The easier it is to perform a function, the more likely it is to be done correctly — or at all,” says Jason Jones, Cavalier’s vice president of sales.

Distributors need to spend time training customers to use the dispensers correctly, as well as provide a wall chart of step-by-step instructions for operating the system.

Although chemical proportioners have come a long way and most of them operate trouble-free, distributors that are interested in taking advantage of the market should do their research.

“If the distributor doesn’t currently offer a dilution control program, they need to find out what’s available,” says Sizonen. “What best fits your company model, structure and customer base? How easy is the dispenser to install? What kind of support can that manufacturer give you? Do they have reps that live close to your corporate office that can provide ride-alongs to help grow the business?”

In general, customers that use a high volume of cleaning chemicals, such as grocery stores, school districts or contract cleaners, are a good fit for chemical proportioning systems. The advantages of these systems to both the distributor and end user far outweigh any up-front dispenser costs, distributors say. In addition to cost savings, distributors tout environmental benefits, such as a reduction in packaging and shipping; improved worker safety; and more accurate dilution ratios, resulting in cleaner, healthier facilities.

“I see more and more people switching over to dilution stations,” says Gruber. “It’s much more cost-effective than ready-to-use products. I think most people realize that, and the industry will continue to grow.”