Everyone always talks about how important it is to have good relationships with clients.
But what about suppliers and manufacturers? Don’t they deserve the same respect and communication as well? After all, they are a major part of the reason you remain employed.
Ideally, you want to become what the industry calls a “valued customer.”
When landscapers find a reliable supplier, it’s important to understand that you’re not necessarily in charge of the relationship.
Just because you write the order doesn’t mean you can make unreasonable demands.
If you want your suppliers to be reliable and produce good quality materials, it’s important to maintain a balanced and healthy relationship.
Dustin Hanson, owner of Hanson Landscape and 2014 Landscaper of the Year Finalist, prides himself in establishing good relationships with suppliers – because he used to be one.
“Every single one of our suppliers will hands down, without a question, say that we pay our bills faster than any other client that they have,” Hanson says. “If everyone else is taking 30-60 days, and you’re paying in 15-30 and you’re the first one who gets their money in every single time, regardless of the amount of business you’re doing, they remember that you are the fastest payer.”
Whenever Hanson has been in a pinch, those suppliers are there to take care of him as a customer because of the loyalty that has been established.
Here are a few tips on how to establish a lasting relationship with your supplier:
1. Create clear communication. Don’t let your busy schedule or paperwork keep you from returning a supplier’s phone call. Again, they are the ones who are a large part in helping your business run.
2. Pay quickly. Try not to wait too long to pay your bills. As Hanson says, suppliers will remember who pays their bills first and it could make a difference down the road.
3. Don’t be unreasonable. Try to work with your suppliers rather than work against them. Don’t be demanding large requests left and right, especially when you know how troublesome those tasks can be.
4. Keep them in the loop. If you are changing staff or moving locations, be sure to keep your supplier informed. A supplier sees you as a customer, and creating a relationship by sharing information can strengthen that relationship.