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Recommender: What do you look for when choosing the right distributor?

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Educational offerings, payment options and support are some of the top traits that contractors should look for in a distributor partner. (Photo: Ewing Outdoor Supply)
Educational offerings, payment options and support are some of the top traits that contractors should look for in a distributor partner. (Photo: Ewing Outdoor Supply)
Mike McCarron
Mike McCarron

Mike McCarron
Owner, Image Works Landscape Management

Our Stihl dealer is Virginia Outdoor Power Equipment in Merrifield, Va. One of the biggest things we were looking for was someone who was willing to come to our shop and train our guys.

They have a demo day at a local park. They’ll let us use some of the equipment for a day or two after the event, to let our guys get an even better feel for the machines. Plus, when we need parts or materials, they’ll bring them to our shop.

They’re not just looking at our ability to grow, but they’re asking us about our needs, about what fits in our trailers. We want a strategic partner, versus a sales rep.

Riley Marvin
Riley Marvin

Riley Marvin
President, Alpha Landscapes

For irrigation, we went with SiteOne because of their payment terms. We get 60-day terms with them, which is nice. Also, we can essentially have set inventory at our shop and then they’ll come to stock it. As far as irrigation parts are concerned, we’re still getting that set up, but that’s something we’re going to utilize. They just opened a new location and it is less than 10 minutes away from our shop, so that’s also convenient.

Mark Pyrah
Mark Pyrah

Mark Pyrah
President, Peak Landscape

We use a number of different distributors, but I would say that the people that we work with best are ones that provide education for us. If we have a question, they’re able to help work to solve that problem.

They’re not trying to necessarily sell something all the time. They’re just there for us. And then when we need support from an educational perspective, they’re going to provide it.

For instance, we use Wilbur-Ellis, which is a chemical/fertilizer supply company here in the Northwest. We contact them and they work with us to figure out what fertilizer we should have this spring. He doesn’t reach out once every two weeks to ask, ‘Hey, do you need this? Do you need that?’ What’s more, he knows our program. He gets to know us, knows when we need certain things, and then works with us almost like as a consultant rather than just somebody who’s trying to sell something.

LM Staff

LM Staff

Landscape Management's staff brings together collective experience in journalism, research, writing, and editing. Our team stays tapped into the pulse of the industry, covering a wide range topics with a commitment to delivering compelling stories and high-quality content.

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