Saving Money Through Venders

by on March 6th, 2015
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An often overlooked way to save money in small retail is through venders. In fact, I was astonished at how much work venders actually do. I know this because I used to work for a drink distributor. In order to get more of our products in the stores, we’d supply man hours, equipment, and maintenance services. The only thing our customers had to provide when it came to our products was the space and electricity. Everything else was on us.

Man Hours

I worked most of my stores once a week and spent an average of two hours in each store. At my rate of pay, the stores I worked saved $38.46 a week. Throughout the course of a year, the stores I worked saved almost $2000 in payroll.

While I was in the store, I’d stock the products I sold, take a mental inventory and order more product. However, if the coolers were in dire shape, sometimes I’d organize the entire cooler. It meant going through every product whether I sold it or not, consolidating crates, and stacking everything in a stable manner. The reason was simple. When I walked into the walk-in cooler, I couldn’t find all my products. If I couldn’t find my products or certain products, there was a chance that I’d over-order the store. If I over-ordered the store, I’d have a problem with expirations dates, and that was my fault. Since I don’t like that scenario, it’s easier for me to completely organize a cooler prior to ordering. It also means the employees in the store don’t have to organize their cooler thus saving more man hours.

Equipment

In order to increase space, many venders offer their own free-standing refrigeration units and display racks. These are free to the store. Of course, the equipment has to hold the vender’s product, but if the store needs a shelf for milk and eggs, I had a tendency to consent to the use of one shelf for the store’s personal product. After all, I just increased space by four or five shelves depending on how big a cooler I put into the store. More shelves equal more sales, and more sales mean I take home more money.

The savings to the store is also substantial. A small cooler costs about $500. A large cooler or multiple door coolers can cost as much as $2,000. That’s money the store doesn’t have to spend.

The distributor I worked for also provided all the plastic racks and signage meaning the store didn’t have to sign or replace anything that held our product. We did it for free just to keep the products in the store.

Maintenance

I also called for all maintenance on my distributor’s equipment. The store did not have to pay for that maintenance. It was provided for free. After all, if the cooler was broken, we weren’t going to sell anything out of it.

In one particular instance, a small deli had its own triple door cooler. It was at least 30 years old and constantly broken. The minute I saw that, I offered to put our coolers in the store. Our coolers were new. Our coolers weren’t likely to break, and if they did, we’d pay for maintenance. The store owner agreed, and within a week, we had removed the old coolers, placed ours, and stocked the store with product. It was fast, easy and virtually free. All the store had to pay for was the product. It was an immediate savings of over $2,000 for that deli owner.


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