Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

Does an appliance supply partnership make sense for your contracting business?

Canadian Contractor

Scaling an alliance to your operation means benefits similar to the largest builders

The home building giants across North America have had partnership arrangements with major appliance manufacturers for years, and there’s no surprise why it works. It isn’t all about bulk volume pricing; there are several logistical advantages such as on-time delivery, marketing advantages through brand recognition, and standardized installation procedures.

Big player or small, the advantages are there for all
Changing from a system of one-off transactions to a strategic alliance with an appliance supplier doesn’t mean sacrificing customer choice. Most of the leading manufacturers who deal with the volume home builders have a large stable of appliance brands that offer pricing and features that meet client requirements, and showrooms with trained staff to explain the options and advantages of each.

Planning for appliances is critical at the earliest stage possible to allow for supply lines and venting

Planning for appliances is critical at the earliest stage possible to allow for supply lines and venting

The question is, while the advantages for volume builders are fairly obvious, can these be scaled down to smaller operations?

The answer is probably ‘yes.’ Taking a look at the advantages enjoyed by the big guys, it isn’t hard to see how most of these would trickle down to all but the most highly customized projects.


Installation considerations right from the initial design
Major appliances requiring permanent installation work need to be considered at the initial design stage. Whether it’s locating the water supply line or dryer venting in  a laundry room, dishwasher or microwave cut-outs, or cabinet spacing for oven ranges, knowing the dimensional and hookup specifications for appliances at the earliest stage is going to make your job as contractor much easier down the road. 

Working within a timeline and a budget
A relationship with an appliance supplier allows you and your customer to work within a budget more efficiently, lock-in pricing, and ensure delivery is on-time at the right time. Obviously, delivery delays or missed closing dates mean lost time and money. More than that, some projects could have access issues for large bulky items when hallways and entries are finished. Bringing in the double-width refrigerator a week or two early for example might be the answer.

An appliance partnership means one call for for final installation and after-sales service

An appliance partnership means one call for for final installation and after-sales service

One call for hookups
A strategic alliance with an appliance supplier does more than streamline the initial supply line of vendors. It smooths out the installation process in terms of hookups to plumbing, venting and plumbing, as opposed to separately calling in electricians, plumbers and other trades.

Riding the marketing slip stream
The power of brand name recognition should never be underestimated, whether your project is a multiple home development or single spec build. The big national appliance brands spend a fortune advertising their features, reliability and style. You can latch on that and ride the coattails of being associated with a respected brand.

Fewer call-backs when the project is complete
Finally, with the work is done, the final payment received, and the customer happily living in their new or newly renovated home, the service offered by the appliance partner lives on through warranty and service protection, scratching one more after-sales concern off the contractors list.

Find your scale
The big boys who build hundreds of houses each year might be able to go straight to head office to form their alliances. However, smaller builders and renovators can form strategic partnerships of their own, perhaps with a major appliance wholesaler/retailer in the area. It might take some negotiation at the start, but as multiple projects get underway down the road, the payoff can be very worthwhile.

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