Member Discussion

Have You Had Clients Finding Cheaper Product On B&H?

Have you had any clients find cheaper items online in sites such as B&H?

I've had a client call me out on Hanwha product being cheaper on B&H in the past, of course many people out there do not seem to understand that labor alone does does not keep the lights on in a building. The good news was that Hanwha has posted on their site a page a warning of unauthorized dealers and warranty disclaimer, B&H and Amazon being some of the names mentioned. I sent the link to the client and right away provided me with a PO# for my quote. I have another instance where I quoted Comnet, but the bad thing is that Comnet has a direct link to B&H on their site. We called Comnet customer service to confirm whether B&H can sell their product and we were told "no", and they will be looking into why there's a link on their site. I know ADI and other distributors are selling directly to B&H, but what are the manufacturers doing to prevent this and do they care?...Should we make a switch to utilizing Altronix or other Comnet competitors....Thoughts?

 

https://www.hanwhasecurity.com/warranty-policy/

https://www.comnet.net/how-to-buy/north-america?sel=california

 

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"We called Comnet customer service to confirm whether B&H can sell their product and we were told "no", and they will be looking into why there's a link on their site."

LOL

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Happens all the time. Some manufacturers try to fight it, only to learn that the first sale doctrine means that B&H can resell anything they can get their hands on for any price they want. 

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I agree with you.... I got no beef with B&H.

 

For the record, my laughter was generated by this part of the comment I replied to:

"they will be looking into why there's a link on their site.""

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Funny huh...Have you guys seen any other manufacture's website pointing you directly to one of these online re-sellers?

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Hikvision actually lists two large online re-sellers as authorized (in the US):

Neither has every single model listed, and MCM is especially light on SKUs, but I'm willing to bet they could get it if asked. 

B&H is also omitted from Dahua's list of unauthorized partners. It doesn't explicitly state they are authorized, but considering smaller sites like UniquePOS and Adorama are listed, one would think they'd list B&H if they're unauthorized.

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To the OP:

Yes, I have had customers find things online and ask why ours is more. My response is typically something along the lines of "if [online retailer] wants to install and warranty the device for you and you trust their expertise to do things properly, then I certainly have no issues with you buying from them." That usually gets the point across pretty fast. 

RE: B&H

I have no issues at all with B&H or others like them, but I absolutely blame the manufacturers and distributors that are complicit in them getting product in the first place. I do my best to not do business with any of them that I believe participate .

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Good point. They cannot expect a free service call if a device purchased online fails shortly after installation. I guess in that case our hourly rate will go up if we're installing product purchased elsewhere. 

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You will always have 2 winning arguments to justify your higher price over most online places like that:

#1) Tech Support
#2) Warranty Support

Amazon or B&H doesn't have any tech support (that I know of). As far as warranty goes, Amazon definitely doesn't. Im sure B&H has a decent warranty.

However, If you get tired of explaining that argument, why not price your products similar to whats being shown on the web and just work that money into your labor costs? My guess is that you would be questioned alot less.

 

 

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B&H does have tech support for surveillance and security products. I know because I wrote the manual and trained the techs, when I worked there. 

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Thats good to know. In that case, I think the OP has more of a difficult argument to argue here.

I still think the OP should work those costs into labor instead and price the products the same as what a reputable online seller sells at. 

Reason being is look at this from a customers perspective. Most people are leery when it comes to any type of service work being done. Unfortunately, its the nature of the game when it comes to electricians, plumbers, etc. and security installers. Regardless if you are a reputable dealer or not, if this customer does not know you, you will always have to over come that. I think the more transparent you can make it for the customer to better. 

If a customer looks at your quote sheet and can find the same products cheaper online all day long, then that immediately throws up a small red flag in their mind and the questions begin. However, if you simply work those costs into the labor line item and price the product out to be about the same as what you see online, less red flags and less questions. The bottom line is the same for you and you. They already see value in your labor as it is, otherwise you wouldn't be quoting them.

I am not an integrator either and I don't know what you experience in the trenches, but Im just offering my own perspective as if I was a customer. For example, if I were to have an audio system installed professionally, and I saw the quote with both labor and components on the quote in 2 seperate line items, and I saw the same components online for much cheaper, I think I would probably also question the installer about this as well. Its only human nature to want a better deal.

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On the flip side, of course, there are things that a professional integrator can offer than B&H never can. An integrator can do a site survey to make sure the right product and system design is being used, for example. Being able to offer aftersales support like service, maintenance, and emergency repairs is something an integrator can do that a website cannot. But you have to make your case. 

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My distribution cost for the particular hardened Comnet switch was roughly $75 higher than B&H.

I suppose If I cannot convince the client of the added value in purchasing a product from a qualified installer then we simply will not provide installation warranty nor support for the product. 

I will be looking for an alternative product for the Comnet switch and would hate to have to find an alternative distributor...

 

 

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Hi Sean,

This is unfortunate.  The best way to combat this is with pre and post sale support. Please feel free to contact me directly (scarrozzo@comnet.net) and I will do my best to assist you. 

Steve Carrozzo

ComNet

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Agreed. 

Can you confirm B&H can legitimately sell your product and can honor the Comnet's warranty? 

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Normally we do not discuss other companies purchasing abilities however in this case, we do not show B&H having an account directly with ComNet. With regards to warranty, the product holds the warranty however someone would still have to service the product and installation. This would be the differentiator when bidding a "Box Sale" or a project with services attached. 

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Steve

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I recently allowed a client to purchase his own UBNT products because I knew he would just complain about my markup to no end. Funny thing is, it is biting him in the butt big time. The UBNT router (USG-4 Pro) is defective and just outside of Amazon’s return window. And of course, we all know UBNT doesn’t make it simple for end users to RMA gear. I’m 100% hands off on the issue. I informed him of the defect and wished him luck getting it replaced. I also mentioned that he will likely not have internet access for weeks during the RMA process. All of which would have been minimized had he allowed me to supply and warranty the items. I will use this as a cautionary tale for years to come. 

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Why does he not just pay you now? i.e. pay you to buy a new one, fix it, etc.

I think what you are doing is fair but it's a win/win for him to pay you to you resolve this now, no?

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I would help if asked, and bill my normal rate. He has yet to inquire. I feel that me asking now would seem opportunistic. In the end, my markup would have cost him less than he’s likely to pay in return shipping. 

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If he purchased the router from you what would you do in this situation? 

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Provide an immediate swap and deal with the RMA on my own dime/time. 

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Do you carry one in you own stock or would you immediately order one locally?

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I have two in stock

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Jon just mastered one of the Sales Training objectives.  A salesperson needs convincing and honest stories to tell during the process.  He now has a favorite in the tool bag.

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We don't sweat Amazon, BH, etc. 

 

We don't list part #'s on quotes so that helps.

 

We also work with clients on providing solutions. We rarely focus on any specific piece of hardware. We sell the result, not how we got there.

 

One time I had a client pushback about a PC for a viewing station. I told him exactly where I was getting it, how much.I told him I preferred he buy it but he would have to get it, handle any warranty issues etc. He quickly said forget I ask.

 

We have another client who uses strictly UBNT cameras, switches, etc. They used to buy all of their own hardware, stage it, and hire some guys to install it. But it was problematic, the guys didn't know how to troubleshoot, etc. We came along and we now provide all the UBNT gear for them, at a markup. They know exactly what we pay but they value our experience, etc.

 

We all need business but the guys that are price shopping to BH and Amazon sure are not on the top of my opportunities list.

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