In most cases, distributors will work with a cleaning contractor hired by the sports facility. It’s important to also create a strong relationship with this company and make it look good to the client. When selecting a vendor, Kilsdonk looks for one who frequently brings new ideas, seeks feedback and conducts on-site tests.

“We lean heavily on our vendors to bring the most innovative things that are happening in the market,” says Kilsdonk. “We try to stay on top of things by being knowledgeable ourselves, but our distributor hears about what’s going on at the manufacturer level before we do, and we expect [our distributor] to bring the newest products to us.”

Kilsdonk says distributors helped Marsden impress a ballpark by introducing equipment for on-site chemical manufacturing, which saved big dollars on the site’s high-volume cleaner needs. Another suggestion for switching from 14-inch towel dispensers to 8-inch models also cut costs and reduced waste.

It’s important that distributors know a facility well enough that they can make suggestions for improvements. When Marsden’s ballpark client challenged the cleaning company to divert more waste from the trash stream, the company signed on with a vendor that offered to recycle chip bags into flowerpots, messenger bags and other products.

“We are always partnering to look for new ways of doing things,” says Kilsdonk. “We are trying to get as close to zero waste as possible.”

Waxie has found another smart way to add value to its handful of sports facility clients. The distributor sits down with each venue (during the offseason to avoid disruptions) and conducts an analysis of its current product lines. Waxie uses a computer program to offer scenarios showing alternate products that would increase green spend percentage without increasing the venue’s overall spend rate.

“Being able to understand their goal and, instead of just telling them to buy more green stuff, we’ve been able to selectively target where they can have the biggest impact,” says Schneringer.

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