Distributors?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by cj, Sep 29, 2001.

  1. cj

    cj

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    I just received my first account application from a distributor. They demand my SS & Driver's License #, home address & phone (even though the business is incorporated). They also want a co-signer, authorization for a credit check, my business checking acct. # (& balance), business loan number (& balance), and a complete financial statement.

    This is more than I needed to give the bank to take out the loan in the first place! They offer no terms, and it certainly seems like a lot for COD. The sales rep didn't have a very helpful attitude. Just said, "If you won't even give us your Social Security #, there's no point in my taking this to the office." I repeated to him that the business is incorporated, therefore my personal information has nothing to do with the account, but he didn't seem to get it, just looked at me as if I was a moron.

    So now I have three questions:

    Is this over-harvesting of information SOP for food industry distributors?

    Are extended dating & % off terms rarely granted? (there were no options on the application.)

    Does Sysco carry anything that can't be found elsewhere?
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd talk with the VP of sales, or take your business elsewhere. Salesguys who say "it's not worth my time unless <insert anything here> are not worth your time either. I'd call the VP (forget about the district manager, these are the big salesguys) and request a different rep. This might not always be possible as reps have their own areas.

    There's obviously some stuff you can get from SYSCO which other houses don't carry, same with Alliant and others. Everyone carries just about everything you need for 99% of all operations.

    Kuan
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    If you want % off, you would probably have to have a preferred vendor contract. This would include extended terms (30-90) days out, low % over cost (down to 3%) and rebates which go directly to your bottom line if you pay your bill quickly.

    Kuan
     
  4. papa

    papa

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    Dear CJ:

    I have to inform you that this is the exact attitude that I have encountered from distributors as well. As an importer, I have been even asked to pay money in order for distributors to purchase my product. What is funny is that the amount that they request represents in some cases the total amount of purchases that they project for the following two years! The attitude is a little like this "How much money do you give us so that we buy your product?"

    I found that with smaller, regional distributors, the situation is very different. I was lucky to have found TEKLA in Chigago who is my distributor for all the surrounding states. They have treated me with the same respect that I have extended to them and according to some of their clients whom I happened to know, they extend that respect to their clientele as well.

    The answer to your problem might be in locating a smaller distributor who understands that business relationships are built on human relationships.

    :)
     
  5. fodigger

    fodigger

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    I think that you probably had a bad salesperson. As far as the personal info. incorp. or not you are receiving a loan so to speak from them if you have terms. Also while many will start you out on cod or order to order you usually will get better terms aftre your final credit determination comes in. Anyway, best of luck and try US Foodservice they work well for me.
     
  6. cj

    cj

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    I think you’re right about my sales rep, Kuan & Fodigger. I spoke to a friend who owns a pizza shop one town away. He pointed out the same things I did; that all that info wasn’t necessary for COD, and he got an account, no problem, no third degree, no attitude. But he has a different rep. So maybe I can contact his rep directly & go from there.

    I understand what you're saying, Fodigger, about terms being a type of loan. But here's my thought: incorporation keeps the personal side legally separate from the business. So if my own credit rating was superlative but my business account couldn’t cover a check, they still couldn’t get into my personal money. Which means they’ve gathered information that can't help them, but could hurt me, and I'm not too comfortable with that.

    Papa, that’s terrible the way you were first treated - in fact, it doesn’t even sound legal. But I’m sure many people are happy you kept trying! I believe you’re right; a company which deals fairly with it’s suppliers would be likely to deal fairly with clients. So I will look for smaller, more reasonable distributors, and develop solid relationships. When possible, I’d like to go straight to the source, and have already talked to some local farmers for next Spring.

    Thanks everyone!


    :D

    [ October 06, 2001: Message edited by: CJ ]