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

ONVIF Video Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 29, 2019
ONVIF is well known within the surveillance industry as an interface to connect IP cameras and VMS systems. However, new users may find it...
Access Control Turnstiles Guide on Jan 28, 2019
Turnstiles control pedestrian access to secured areas, essentially becoming moving portions of fences, walls, or barricades for physically stop...
Cable Trenching for Surveillance on Jan 21, 2019
Trenching cable for surveillance is surprisingly complex. While using shovels, picks, and hoes is not advanced technology, the proper planning,...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jan 08, 2019
H.265 support improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and most manufacturers...
This Brooklyn Storefont Sells Millions In Uniview And Hikvision on Dec 18, 2018
Looking at their Brooklyn headquarters for this "CCTV Manufacturer", it is not much: Inside, it is not better: However, this company is one...
AV Tech Company Profile on Dec 07, 2018
Taiwanese manufacturer AV Tech's revenue declined ~70% since 2012. Planning a comeback, AV Tech spoke to IPVM about their opportunities and...
SS&Si Claims To Be "The New Face of Security Distribution" on Dec 03, 2018
Can 27-year-old Jake Voll disrupt the security distribution giants? He has positioned his company SS&Si as the 'NEW FACE' of...
Building Occupancy Codes and Access Control Tutorial on Nov 01, 2018
A building or room's classification can greatly impact which building codes must be followed. In terms of access control, these 'occupancy codes'...
Resideo IPOs, Then Plunges on Oct 31, 2018
ADI and Honeywell Homes management have been touting their spinout and IPO for months, including appearing on Wall Street as they widely shared on...
ADI's Financials Revealed + W-Box Growth Priority on Oct 15, 2018
  ADI is one of the most powerful distributors in the security industry but how big are they? How much profit do they make? How much do they sell...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Casino Surveillance Pro Interview: James Lathrop on Feb 15, 2019
James Lathrop has been working in casinos for almost 25 years. During that time, he says he has held "just about every job you can do in the...
Hikvision 2018 Revenue Tops $7 Billion USD But Growth Slows To Low on Feb 15, 2019
Hikvision's annual revenue topped $7 billion for the first time in 2018, although growth slowed sharply. In this post, we analyze the latest...
Hanwha Smaller Multi Imager Tested (PNM-9000VQ) on Feb 14, 2019
Hanwha's first repositionable multi imager PNM-9081VQ tested well, but was huge, over 12" wide and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Now, they have...
ADT And 'The Defenders' Silent About Massive Complaints on Feb 14, 2019
ADT's largest dealer, "The Defenders" has been the subject of a massive number of complaints over many years and many forums, most recently a CBS...
Hikvision Chairman Praises United Front on Feb 14, 2019
Hikvision’s controlling shareholder held a meeting last month praising the United Front, a Communist Party organization known for its secretive...
Sales Turnover At Anyvision on Feb 13, 2019
Anyvision raised a $43 million Series A and according to their newest investor: what you need to do is push the gas pedal and build an...
Cisco Meraki Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Feb 13, 2019
Cisco Meraki says their cameras "bring Meraki magic to the enterprise video security world". According to Meraki, their magic is their management...
Uniview / UNV Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 12, 2019
Uniview / UNV, the self-proclaimed #3 China manufacturer, while starting late, has been working to make inroads internationally. In IPVM's 2019...
Nortek Mobile Access Reader BluePass Examined on Feb 12, 2019
Nortek's Linear access control division claims to make mobile credentials "more secure and easier to use than ever before" with their BluePass...
Solink Raises $12 Million - Company Profile on Feb 12, 2019
Most industry professionals have never heard of Solink, a company whose tagline is: It's time to revolutionize the way business uses...

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