Kitchen Dealers: Hidden Fees are Holding You Back!
Buy Direct from Manufacturers to Save Money
Setting up a new kitchen and bath showroom, or updating an existing one, can be a daunting task. The temptation to sign up with buying groups and outside rep agencies is very real. While the promises of discounts, rebates, and access to ‘preferred’ vendors seem to be designed to help you navigate the waters of establishing a showroom, this practice will actually cost you more money in the long run when you factor in the hidden costs and fees.
What Are Your Showroom Displays Actually Costing You?
Buying groups offer you the promise of big rewards — discounts, rebates, and preferential treatment with their list of preferred vendors. At first glance, the membership fee is justified by the great benefits you receive. After a closer inspection, you see that there are many hidden and extra fees associated, and the limitations of the group leave your design choices restricted.
• Membership Fees — Annual fees range from $2000-$5000
• Strict Requirements — Mandatory attendance at yearly conferences (paid by you), must submit photos of your showroom and floorplans.
• Limited Selection of Vendors — Only one or two choices per category of material will be on the preferred vendor list. This limits the choices of both you and your clients, leading to homogenized designs and “cookie-cutter” kitchens with which people will eventually become bored.
• Rebate Upcharges — You end up paying your own rebates, through membership fees and order upcharges.
• Artificial Value — Preferred vendors are not necessarily the best or most economic options. After factoring in all of the costs associated with the group, these vendors cost as much or more than the competition.
Outside Sales Rep Groups:
Cabinet and countertop manufacturers will partner with outside sales rep companies to represent their brands. Often, an outside sales rep company will have both cabinet and countertop lines under its roster, and will present both as a package when setting up a new showroom. It is common for them to offer free or heavily discounted countertops when the showroom signs on as a dealer for the cabinet line.
• Sales Rep Commissions — You are paying this. It is built into the cost of your cabinet or countertop order; no discounts are passed along to you.
• Faux Discounts — Cabinet companies provide countertops “for free” when you sign on to display their cabinet lines. What they don’t tell you is that the price of this top is already built into the price of the cabinet display, and they’re keeping the commission on the whole order.
• Vendors are not always local to you; the limited choices prevent you from buying from the most convenient vendor. Long distance charges are added into your cost for shipping, templating, and installation. Service appointments are also costly and difficult to schedule.
• Nothing is free. The complimentary showroom display you received? You are paying that back with every countertop order you place. The money for your ‘rebates’ has to come from somewhere, and that place is usually from you and other showroom owners.
Anything that sounds too good to be true, usually is. The good news is that many of these problems and hidden fees can be avoided by cutting out the middle man and buying direct from the manufacturer.
When buying direct from the manufacturer you get:
• Personalized service with people who are the most knowledgeable about the product.
• The ability to choose the materials which best fit the needs of your client, and submit your custom designs.
• There is no pressure to conform to the popular trends or the cookie-cutter kitchens promoted by the buying groups and sales reps.
• You are in direct communication with the manufacturer. Fewer channels of communication make it easier to manage your projects, or schedule service appointments.
• Easy to understand quotes and invoices that spell out exactly what you’re paying for with no hidden or extra costs.
• Showroom discount programs benefit the dealer, and the terms are explained in detail.
Break away from the big groups and give your local manufacturer a chance. You will be pleasantly surprised by what you find!