Part 5.1: Suppliers (Dry Cleaners)

Obviously most businesses aren’t going to be dealing with dry cleaning suppliers unless they are hotels, a business in which its employees wear uniforms, or they are dry cleaning depots. But most businesses are going to be dealing with some type of a supplier.

As a dry cleaner delivery service our main supplier is a dry cleaner themselves. We talked to several different suppliers all with different personality types, services, and different negotiating tactics. The most important point in finding a supplier that you know you are going to have to depend on is someone that you can trust. If you don’t know these people before hand or didn’t have some sort of connection prior, it is likely that there will be trust issues right from the start. If you are planning on having your business operate for years into the future it is so important to find someone that you can build a relationship with.

Before any real negotiations can begin you have to know that your supplier is worth building this relationship with. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can I work with these people?
  2. Are our interests aligned?
  3. Do they want my business? (If there is any reluctance on their part don’t waste your time.)
  4. Are they transparent about their business practices? (If they are hiding something and you can’t understand why, it might be best not to stick around and find out.)
  5. Will they negotiate price?

In our industry price and margins is a very difficult thing to negotiate since nobody wants to give information up. It was worth poking and prodding to find out as much info as we could along the way but often companies are very tight lipped in certain industries. Here are a couple of books that may help in your negotiating tactics:

  1. Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In. Roger Fisher and William Ury
  2. Secrets of Power Negotiating for Salespeople. Roger Dawson

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