Are you committed to protecting your investment and dealing with freight carriers? One of our first shipments as a new distributor was an entire flatbed of concrete countertop mix. Upon delivery we noticed under every pallet a pile of white powder, which of course meant someone damaged the bags while loading the trucks. We immediately took digital pictures and called the manufacturer to inform them of the situation before we unloaded any product. The end result was 23 damaged bags and a claim against the freight carrier. In addition, remember that certain products have a shelf life, which means rotating the inventory and ensuring your stock will not sit on the shelves unsold and become outdated.
Are you competing against your customers? I hear stories of businesses continuing the contracting side of the business while also distributing. The reality is that some companies are becoming distributors so they can be price advantaged. In essence, they are their own best customers. In one instance, a contractor/distributor was actually getting leads from the manufacturer which allowed him to adjust his bids accordingly which certainly was not fair to competing contractors.
These are just a few examples and considerations to keep in mind if you are thinking about adding additional divisions to your pre-existing company. Focus on your company's strong points and think through everything before you take on something you don?t want to handle and may regret.
Bob Harris is the founder and president of the Decorative Concrete Institute, Temple, Ga., which provides hands-on training in architectural concrete. He has personally placed or supervised the placement of more than 3 million square feet of decorative concrete and is the author of a best-selling series of decorative concrete books and DVDs. For more information, call (877) DCI-8080 or visit www.decorativeconcreteinstitute.com.