From garbage bags to paper products, and from cleaning solutions to equipment and sanitizing accessories, private label includes a wide selection of jan/san products. Consumables are among the most popular private label cleaning products.

“Paper is our No. 1 seller, then plastic garbage bags, and both are private label,” says Robert Cronyn, president of Los Angeles-based Empire Cleaning Supply. “We have a successful line of paper products that we’ve private labeled, and we do a large volume in those items.”

Empire also sells private label marble floor and tile cleaners, and they sell a private label room deodorant.  

“These products have been around for a long time, and the products are so good,” says Cronyn. “The people that use them love them, and new people try them and they love them. It all leads to the products being well purchased.”

A New, Private Label Model

Those jan/san distributors thinking about developing — or enhancing — their current private label offerings should also think about private labeling equipment and accessories such as mops, sponges and microfiber, which are not as common to be house brands.

In the past, many distributors offered brand name products and private label products. However, a new private label model has been emerging: Companies still sell name brands of cleaning products, but now offer two different private label lines — traditional and premium — to offset new, conflicting demands. Some customers want quality products, but at lower prices than national brands; others just want the cheapest products around.

“We inform the customer that we have a premium label brand, but it’s above the regular private label brand,” says Cronyn.
Premium private label products cost a little more, but people pay because they assume they’re better quality products, adds Cronyn.

The premium line is of better quality than the value line, and thus premium products often are more closely affiliated with the distributor’s own company name. If offering two lines, distributors don’t want their name associated with the one that is priced the lowest and considered “cheap.”

In a sense, the premium line acts as another name brand in the marketplace — but a brand with a distributor’s own name on it and offered at a lower price.

The need for traditional, value lines come when customers shop solely on price and don’t put much emphasis on quality, says Keith Schneringer, marketing manager for San Diego-based WAXIE Sanitary Supply. For these customers, even the premium line is priced too high. This is common for commodity items, such as paper, trash liners, gloves, etc.

The caveat in offering a premium private label is that the product must be of relatively high quality.

“If your customer uses your premium label product and it’s not premium, they’re not going to be happy about it, so you have to be very careful,” says Cronyn. “If you lose the trust you have with your customer, because you’ve said something is premium and it’s not, you can lose that customer.”

Cynthia Kincaid is a freelance writer based in Columbus, Ohio.