A Different Avenue to Buying Plumbing Equipment

Distributors, suppliers and dealers all offer options for contractors looking to purchase new equipment

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Purchasing equipment or new plumbing tools can be difficult in today’s market where it seems like there are countless options available. Getting knowledgeable and unbiased reviews before buying is invaluable for your business.

Contacting manufacturers directly for advice can provide information about a specific product, but it does not always give the buyer comparisons to other options. Going through suppliers, dealers or distributors is a way contractors can get some of those comparisons.

Suppliers carry a large inventory of products from multiple manufacturers and not only provide a product, but also service to go with it.

KNOWLEDGEABLE SERVICE

For contractors, the convenience and efficiency of shopping in one location versus multiple stores saves time and money. Having a plethora of choices also gives the buyer a chance to directly compare and contrast similar models of different brand names to find what works best for their personal situation.

“We’re a one-stop shop where contractors can get everything from one source,” says Gary Allen, CEO of Jetter Depot. “We can put a package together, whether it’s a jetter, a camera system, whatever. That way when they get on the job, they have everything they need.”

Jetter Depot offers equipment such as jetters, pressure washer nozzles, hoses, cameras, manhole/pipe tools and other similar items. Along with carrying an extensive line of product and brand names, what separates a lot of suppliers even more is the well-rounded knowledge of the industry that comes from the equipment they supply and their personal experience that goes with it.

“We use the contractor experience we have to support the product lines we carry,” says Andy Rothenberg, PrimeLine Products president. “People know that if they come to us, they are going to get the support they need.”

The company’s expertise isn’t specialized in one area or brand name, but spread out over numerous product lines it truly believes in, from sewer and lateral lining and repair to testing equipment and chemical grouting and more. “We’ve got the knowledge, because we’ve actually done the jobs,” Allen says. “And I think customers appreciate that.”

The knowledge diversity comes in handy when contractors call looking for answers to a specific problem.

“We get a lot of phone calls where they are just looking for a solution,” Rothenberg says. “Having the broad product line and the experience separates us. They know that they can call us and get an answer and solution.”

Knowing the importance of getting the job done in a timely manner, dealers will also commonly use special delivery services to help the customer get what they need as fast as possible. “We offer a Hot Shot delivery service,” says Keith Jones, president of Central Oklahoma Winnelson. “Meaning you call in an order and it is loaded and out the door immediately.”

Central Oklahoma Winnelson offers many plumbing-related products in its inventory from water heaters to fixtures, power tools and pumps.

CONTINUED SUPPORT

Service doesn’t stop with the sale. Several dealers and distributors also provide training and demonstration on products they carry.

“We have a 1,000-square-foot training center that we are able to offer classes in,” Jones says. “Our customers love the fact that we offer training classes and there are a lot of times that we get them approved for continuing education credits through the state.”

These training sessions not only help customers leave with the necessary equipment to get the job done, but also provide the know-how to go with it, leaving less room for error in the field. Not only do distributors regularly offer training, it is not uncommon to find full equipment repair and technical support services.

“We’ve got a 5,000-square-foot warehouse, repair center and loading dock for repairing trucks and engines,” Allen says. Jones says his company is able to offer technical support for roughly 500 manufacturers.

A knowledgeable dealer’s ability to provide a product to a customer along with training and support — and, if necessary, repair — separate their services and keep customers coming back.

“We are trained to never tell the customer ‘no’ and to do whatever it takes to get our customers an answer,” Jones says. “We understand that if our customers are not here, we don’t exist.”

Having that attitude in the world of customer service builds relationships and trust. “I think relationships are a lot of it,” Rothenberg says. “I consider a lot of my customers my friends. They know that if they call me with an issue and want me there, I will jump on a plane and get there. That’s just the level of service we provide.”  



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