Negotiating Discounts from Distributors and Manufacturers

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 17, 2012

In competitive bids, an integrator's threshold between profit and loss can be very narrow with a single point being significant. Sometimes, purchasing large volumes of equipment seems to be the only obvious way to get discounts. In this update, we examine other tactics to successfuly negotiate additional discounts from your distributors and manufacturers.

Here are the six recommendations with details to follow:

  • Ask the 'Regional Sales Manager' (RSM) of the manufacturer who is 'the best' distributor to buy a specific product through.
  • Ask all your local distributors to provide written quotes on the same 'bill of materials' (BOM).
  • Involve your distributors on the front side of all big RFP/RFQ responses. 
  • Take advantage of 'project' pricing programs and discounts.
  • Make it very clear to your RSMs where you stand with proposing their company's equipment.
  • Negotiate with the distributor or RSM to include free manufacturer training into a big sale.

Ask the 'Regional Sales Manager' (RSM) of the manufacturer who is 'the best' distributor to buy a specific product through.

This basically comes down to asking which distributor the manufacturer RSM likes best. RSMs may know which distributors have current promotional deals or buy product the cheapest. Being aware of this information can result in buying at a better discount, but sometimes it is just the RSM trying to 'grease the gears' by throwing business to a favored distributor. 

Ask all your local distributors to provide written quotes on the same 'bill of materials' (BOM).

Distributors will often price match each other. Pick the overall lowest quote, and if they are high on one or two items, let them know 'where you need to be' in order to buy that product through them. However, be prepared for all your distributors to catch wind that you buy this way. It could impact your relationship.

Also, be aware that buying from 'non traditional' security distributors can also yield compelling pricing.  Simply shopping around on the internet can turn up interesting sources of equipment from sources not specifically positioned as 'security distributors'. You might be able to encourage price matching based on those results.  

Involve your distributors on the front side of all big RFP/RFQ responses. 

This way, distributors have time to work their own internal resources to find you the best price/ alternative products/ ready-made kits for you to propose.  Simply making sure that you communicate your project requirements clearly (without the rush of an urgent deadline) can bring surprising pricing results from your distributor.

Take advantage of 'project' pricing programs and discounts.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Even if you are not sure of the final disposition of equipment/quantities for an opportunity, fill out the pricing discount application with enough dollars of equipment and enough differing products to give you enough information of how to build your final quote as details are refined. Even if the final project proposal falls 'just short' of meeting the minimum dollars to qualify for project pricing, you can directly appeal to your Distributor or RSM to honor the discount pricing already extended. 

Make it very clear to your RSMs where you stand with proposing their company's equipment.

If you hate a manufacturer's stuff, tell them so. Be upfront when telling them why. They will work hard to change your opinion, often in the only manner that they have authority: pricing. 

If high pricing prevents you from competitively proposing good equipment, make sure that the manufacturer's RSM understands this.  They may not be able to change things immediately, but this feedback is helpful for them to hear and elevate to the 'upper echelons' of the companies they represent.  Knowledge of your local market may help a manufacturer price equipment in a way that makes you more profitable. 

Negotiate with the distributor or RSM to include free manufacturer training into a big sale.

A common complaint of integrators is the cost of training on a manufacturer's product. Though this negotiation does not directly affect the cost of purchased equipment, it may result the integrator spending less money to install it. Be upfront in telling your RSM that having trained installing technicians will deliver a better end-user experience for that company's equipment.


While we have had success with the tactics above, negotiating discounts is certainly more art than science. Do you agree? Disagree? What other tactics do you use?

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Introducing Effective PPF (ePPF) - Improving Video Surveillance Designs on Jun 11, 2018
Pixel density (PPF / PPM) is the best metric the industry has to define and project video quality. It allows simple communication of estimated...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jun 07, 2018
H.265 support has improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and more manufacturers...
Keypads For Access Control Tutorial on May 31, 2018
Keypad readers present huge risks to even the best access systems. If deployed improperly, keypads let people through locked doors almost as if...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
Top Benefits Of Attending Trade Shows (Statistics) on May 15, 2018
150 integrators told IPVM: What are the top benefits of going to trade shows? The clear top 2 responses in order: (1) Networking (2) New...
Access Visitor Management Systems Guide on May 11, 2018
"Who are you, and why are you here?" Facilities that implement Visitor Management Systems hope they never need to ask that question to anyone,...
Access Control Card Printers Guide on May 03, 2018
Card printers are a core component of professional access control systems, often used as photos IDs and prominently displayed. Modern badges put...
Access Control Levels and Schedules Tutorial on May 01, 2018
Configuring access levels and setting up schedules is central to maintaining facility security. Many people may need to enter areas but most do not...
Anixter Acquires 'PSIM Platform Inner Range - "Heart of Our Technology Differentiation" on Apr 30, 2018
Anixter Security has made a bold move, acquiring what it calls a PSIM platform as part of a $150 million deal, with Anixter's CEO Bob...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Secure Channel' OSDP Access Control Examined on Jun 21, 2018
Despite claiming to be better than Wiegand, OSDP's initial releases did not address the lack of encryption between reader and controller, leaving...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
Last Chance - Save $50 - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 20, 2018
Today, Thursday the 21st is the last chance to save $50 on registration. Register now and save. This is the only networking course designed...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against IFSEC Show Facial Recognition on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM has filed a complaint against IFSEC’s parent company UBM based on our concern that the conference violates core GDPR principles on...
IFSEC Final Show Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM is live from London reporting on the IFSEC show. The Chinese have taken over the UK, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...
IPVM Vulnerability Scanner Released on Jun 18, 2018
IPVM is proud to announce video surveillance's first and only cybersecurity vulnerability scanner. This tool allows quickly and simply...
Hikvision Corrects False Cybersecurity Announcement on Jun 18, 2018
Hikvision has corrected a false cybersecurity announcement that claimed a British government-sponsored program endorsed the cybersecurity of...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact