When making decisions about buying things, we all have brands we prefer over others. Those brands may make superior products or offer more of the options we want. Or, they may have earned our trust over years of delivering quality items. This same concept applies to fire protection equipment and its vendors.
Why Your Industry Vendor Connections Matter
While not every type of fire protection equipment has multiple manufacturers or options, there are differences between what is available. These differences mean you cannot shop around for fire protection equipment very easily. Commercial fire protection equipment vendors do not allow every fire safety company to sell and install their equipment. Additionally, the parts from the different suppression and detection systems are not interchangeable.
This means that the vendor connections your company has can either put you at an advantage or disadvantage in your region. Your vendor connections can also add value to your business when it comes time to sell. If you offer the best equipment available and have technicians who are certified to work with it, it can make you a more appealing acquisition target.
Here’s a quick look at the differences between types of fire protection equipment, how these differences look in the field, and why they matter when you’re ready to sell your business.
How Your Fire Protection Equipment Manufacturer Relationships Can Make or Break Your Company
There are two major types of fire protection equipment: commercial and residential. Residential fire protection equipment works more like any other product you buy. You can go to the store and buy a fire extinguisher or a smoke alarm off the shelf. You can shop around for companies that install fire detection and alarm systems in the home. That is because this equipment is easily accessible to anyone.
Commercial fire protection equipment follows a much different purchasing process. Like any other specialty equipment, it has to be ordered through a company approved to purchase, handle, and install it. This approval process takes time and money upfront until a relationship of trust is established. Over time, as good credit is built, your fire protection company can purchase greater volumes of product. This allows you to build up an inventory and establish a reputation as a reliable provider of that manufacturer’s products.
This is why it’s especially important to have good relationships with vendors and manufacturers that offer commercial fire protection equipment. Once those relationships are in place, they become a solid foundation to help you grow your company without supply issues slowing your progress.
The More Products You’re Approved to Distribute, the More Customers You Can Gain
There are a variety of fire extinguishers, suppression systems, alarm systems, and fire sprinkler systems. Each uses parts that are unique. Suppression systems in particular use a set of parts that are not interchangeable. This applies to other life safety systems as well. Your company has to be an approved distributor of the system’s manufacturer to order the parts necessary to service it.
In the field, that means that a company’s distributor relationships will impact how many businesses are potential customers. For example, there are a few different commercial kitchen suppression systems on the market. Each has a different manufacturer. If you are only approved to work on one manufacturer’s systems, you will only be able to pitch your services to restaurants with those systems. This can seriously limit the potential customer targets you can approach in your area.
There is also the option to work with specialty fire protection equipment providers to further expand your catalog of equipment and services. This can include offering suppression or alarm systems that protect unique areas, like data centers or factory machinery. It can also mean offering custom detection and notification solutions. If your vendor connections are strong enough, you may even be able to order these specialty types of fire protection equipment under a white label to keep your source secret from your competition.
Building your supplier and manufacturer relationships strategically will enable you to offer services no one else does. And that is something customers and investors will notice.
Strong Supplier Relationships Take Time to Build. Don’t Undersell Yours.
The fire protection industry is built on long-standing relationships and connections. It is an industry that families enter together and remain with for generations. A solid connection, once established, can last for decades and be mutually beneficial for both the company and the manufacturer throughout that time. Newcomers to the industry can also build these connections, but they may take more time to reach their full potential.
If your fire protection company is an approved vendor for multiple manufacturers and you have these relationships, you cannot underestimate their value. They create and encourage a circle of referrals that continue to bring business to both of you. They help you keep your doors open and services running through difficult times. They allow you to guarantee your customers a level of performance they can trust. They give you the confidence to sell and install fire protection equipment that bears your company name.
Your company will be held accountable for the quality of the product it installs. To build and maintain a reputation as a leading fire safety provider in your area, you will need to provide the best products, services, and customer experience possible. Your vendor relationships can make it possible for you to do so. This will catch the attention of interested buyers looking to expand into your area. The key is to understand the true value of these connections and work with a broker who can leverage them during negotiations.
Want to Leverage Your Connections During Negotiations? Rory Russell Can Help!
If you are ready to sell your business, you want to work with someone who understands the value of your fire protection equipment vendor relationships. As a trusted fire and security broker with over 30 years of experience, Rory Russell knows how to help you sell your company for more. He brings his own knowledge and connections into each negotiation to make sure that you get the best value for your business.
Contact him today to learn more about how he can help you pitch the unique selling points of your fire safety business to interested buyers. Start by filling out our confidential form here or giving him a call at 800-354-3863 to get the conversation started.