Can Saving a Few Cents on Promotional Products Cost You More Money in the Long Run?
May 3, 2013
Austin, TX Are all promotional product distributors the same?
I was asked to submit a bid by a city a few months back for some promotional products. I usually stay away from the bidding process, but since it was a six-figure bid and would not take more then twenty minutes to complete, I sent the completed form back anyway.
We were not the lowest bid. Not even the fifth lowest bid.
Actually, our bid for imprinted promotional products came in somewhere in the Top 15% of all 36 bids they received.
Fast Forward to today.
The promotional product, which was intended for people of all ages, got recalled due to non-compliance with the CPSIA laws (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008).
That’s right. Because of non-compliance with existing laws, the product was deemed to be unsafe to children 12 years and younger– and this nightmare is costing the city — and this particular vendor – hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, litigation, product recalls, etc. — to say nothing about reputation as the scandal made the local news and social media landscape.
Now, answer the question: Are all promotional product distributors the same?
There are over 30,000 distributors of promotional products in the country.
Most are part-timers with little or no overhead working on price as their only point of distinction.
Very few vet their suppliers.
Very few have a corporate code of conduct.
Very few take advanced classes and seminars and webinars and achieve advanced recognition and degrees from their associations
Very few take the time to read and understand compliance issues.
Very few even know what the letters CPSIA stand for–let alone how it can affect YOUR business and reputation.
Very few blog about marketing issues and product safety.
Very few have liability coverage in case of situations like the one just mentioned.
Very few take the time to help select the right promotional products for your particular needs and target audience.
So, if we are 4 or 5 cents higher on a $2.99 water bottle – isn’t it worth it to ensure that it is lead-free?
Isn’t a few extra pennies per item worth it to ensure that the promotional product you order is not going to come back and cost you — in terms of reputation, quality of imprint, liability, etc.?
Penny wise-pound foolish is a phrase that resonates strongly with our company – and with our clients.
I have been selling promotional products since 1981 .. and I still have many of the same clients that I worked with 30-plus years ago .. because I look after THEIR best interests.
There are hundreds of imprinted water bottle factories, and about the same number of tote bag factories, I can choose from.
So can my competitors.
I stick with the ones that have strong codes of conduct and quality control standards and ones that comply with CPSIA and other regulations to avoid embarrassing and costly issues.
By saving a few cents, you force your promotional products distributor to walk that thin line of going with an inferior or less reputable factory over one that ensures the highest industry standards.
I would argue that you would be better off ordering 3% fewer items than paying 3% less for an item – if it means using a better factory that meets and exceeds of industry and governmental regulations.
Now, I ask you again: Are all promotional product distributors the same?