Say you are a manager that purchases only from big box stores, online or through supply houses. You do so because you don’t like being bothered by pushy salespeople and you think these outlets will give you the bet price.

Although I understand your concerns about being controlled by a vendor who allows “charge creep” to slowly erode at your bottom line, I am concerned that you are not partnering with a knowledgeable distributor who probably will cost less than your current expenditures of time and resources.

At this time, if you need a five gallon pail of product delivered in a hurry, I can assure you that the big box stores and Internet probably will not be able to respond in a timely manner. Since you have your business spread among so many different distributors you do not have much leverage with any one of them thereby resulting in delivery charges and simply responding to your needs when they have taken care of their bigger customers.

Based on the numbers you provided, you could have considerable leverage with a couple of the companies you named since your total business would be worth it to one of their sales reps. You also could benefit from standardizing your product line and implement color coding and product specific training that is supplied by the vendor and/or manufacturer at no additional charge. I noted that you do not think training is that important so this may not be a great value. I also noted that one vendor also has a service where they can keep your accounts in stock based on pre-negotiated prices. This one service frees either yourself or a clerk or the local supervisor to pursue other duties.

We will continue this discussion in a future article.

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