With over 100 years of combined industry experience, the Industry Owls are seasoned veterans who have seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly, when it comes to making the right decision for picking vendors. Just slightly behind your employees and your guests, suppliers and vendors are a major key influencer in the long-term success of your business. Listen to the lessons closely and learn from those who have either seen or experienced and learned what not to do when choosing vendors.
Ten Tips for Finding the Best Vendors for Your Facility
– By Sondra Doyle –
Anyone can sell you something. As a facility owner, you should look for a partner, one who becomes as invested in the success of your business as you are. Secondly, you are the customer. And just as you want to provide your customer, the end user, with the best product quality and customer service available, you should demand the same from your vendor. When you search for the best vendor, whether it be at trade shows, regional seminars, online or from your own established network, create your own check list to uncover the very best. Look for the following as benchmarks:
- Best product quality and wide selection.
- Fair prices.
- Excellent customer service.
- Extensive industry experience.
- Inventory depth.
- Processing and delivery of orders.
- Can they process and ship within 24 hours?
- Online ability for placing orders.
- Electronic invoicing.
- Compatibility with all POS systems.
- Redemption counter design, set-up and re-design.
Shop your vendor the way your customers shop you. Then you will know that you have a vendor that fits you and your business ethic. Here lies the best partnership for success.
(Sondra Doyle is Marketing Coordinator/Sales, Sureshot Redemption/Party Supplies. Visit www.sureshot-redemption.com.)
Tips for Finding the Best Vendors for Your Facility
– By Frank Seninsky –
1. Look for a company that has vast experience, has been in business for several years or longer and ask for at least five references.
2. If Games:
a.) Make sure they know a lot about redemption games, how to lay them out, how to program them and how to repair them.
b.) Get a list of games they recommend and have them state why each game is proper for your facility.
c.) If revenue-share, make sure the agreement includes: A schedule listing of each game to be provided, how many new/different games will be rotated in each 90 days/each year, how many hours/week and on what days on-site service will be provided (obviously should be for almost every operational hour on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays, how many operating hours after a service call will technician show up, Certificate of Insurance with liability, property damage, limits that you feel are adequate ($1,000,000) with $2 million – $5 million aggregate.
d.) If sale of games: how long is warrantee, what items does warrantee cover, make sure that each game can be traded in at any time based on agreed-to formula, how long will seller provide service assistance and weekly review of each game’s performance? Will seller keep you informed of all game service bulletins and upgrades to enhance performance? See below for details of a solid game contract.
Elements of a Good Game Contract
– By Frank Seninsky –
- 1. State the total number of games, bill changers and related equipment to be provided. If redemption is included, the number of ticket eaters or scales; redemption counter size and location; staffing and service responsibilities of each party, and who pays, the point mark-up formula for prizes determines ticket value.
- 2. State financial criteria used to determine vendor investment in equipment, and number of games rotated in monthly, quarterly or annually.
- 3. State the minimum number of service visits and hours of service per week, and maximum response time.
- 4. Vendor is responsible for repairs, including parts. State resolution if games are vandalized or stolen.
- 5. Recommended term is three years (maximum of five years), with extensions (specify period) with mutual agreement of both parties. State how and when (window) notice not to extend agreement is to be sent.
- 6. State that vendor will supply only lawful copyrighted equipment, shall defend any equipment-related lawsuits and hold location harmless (client negligence exception).
- 7. Commission arrangement based on the number of tokens collected with different values stated for tokens sold from bill changers, over-the-counter sales, discounted birthday and group sales, and “walk-away” tokens.
- 8. All deductions must be spelled out with guidelines, including limits and minimums, for token discounting, free token promotions, redemption prizes, game ticket and merchandising game payout percentages.
- 9. State who is responsible for applying and paying for game licenses. Licenses and/or any gross receipts taxes are split between the parties in the same percentage split as the commission.
- 10. Exclusivity is recommended, with one vendor chosen. If location also operates some games, state that the games must be owned and describe circumstances for purchasing/rotating new games. A ratio formula needs to be set up, based on the number of tokens collected from the vendor’s and the location’s games so actual cash, discount tokens, refunds and promo tokens can be divided fairly.
- 11. Agreement should be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of a specified state, with the forum and venue in a specified county court. To settle disputes, the American Arbitration Association or another impartial arbitrator or panel could be designated.
- 12. It is recommended that the losing party in any lawsuit be required pay all of the winner’s reasonable legal costs.
- 13. Additional terms and conditions should include termination for a material breach that is not cured within a 30-day period and specify damages for an uncured breach that is followed by a termination; insurance requirements for both parties; notices, binding effects and assignment if location is sold or a new majority owner is put in place.
- 14. Both parties should have their attorney review any contract before it is executed.
(Frank Seninsky is president of Amusement Entertainment Management and Alpha-Omega Amusements. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-254-3773.)