A reader writes: “I shop the big box stores, the Internet and several supply houses to find the cheapest price for the equipment and supplies I use in my cleaning business. I do not want to be held captive by one vendor who can charge me too much.”

I certainly applaud your frugality and hope that it is saving you enough to justify all the effort you are putting into it. I know of purchasing agents that will spend an inordinate amount of time negotiating 5-10 cents off a gallon of stripper or floor finish. If they are heavy consumers of the products they are negotiating, they may save enough to cover the time lost pursuing nickels and possibly losing dollars. I must remind you that your time is worth something. Have you ever decided what it would cost to replace you? If not, then please calculate what it would cost for a worker to cover your functions while you were on vacation, in the hospital or in some other way unavailable. Then determine if you would be pleased with how much this person is costing you.

You may find that the better approach is to shop/compare once per year or per quarter with a select group to determine if your primary vendor is giving you a reasonable deal. Note I did not say cheapest since we oftentimes get what we pay for in support and other value.

Saving the five to ten cents per gallon demonstrated to a client that they were losing money due to lost opportunities that never were pursued since most of us cannot do two things at once very effectively.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net