House brands hold a lot of potential. If they are high quality and reliable, house brands can help control costs and grow profits. If they underperform, you’re left with costly re-dos, missed deadlines and unhappy customers.
How can you know if the potential reward is worth the risk? Here are five questions to answer before placing your first order.
1) What is the Price Delta?
How much will you save buying a house brand? Calculate your cost down to the lowest common denominator, compare apples to apples and decide if it’s worth it.
Take, for example, banner material. Because the rolls are different lengths, it appears difficult at first glance to compare a brand name price to Kota Pro, the house brand sold by JDS Sign Supply. But when you calculate the cost per square foot, you easily see the price delta. Find a cost savings greater than 10 or 15% and you’ve found a house brand worth trying.
2) Is the Quality Scale Binary?
Are you buying wrap magnets? Then the quality test is pass/fail…they either work or they don’t.
It’s a different story when the scale is more nuanced. How will the material look next to work printed on a brand name product? Are you evaluating the function AND feel of a tool? In these situations, list what you need the product to do. Prioritize and draw a “cut off” line to separate “must-have” from “nice to have” features. Now you have a tool to rate both brands, feature by feature.
3) What is the House’s Reputation?
The “House” is a company with a track record. How well has it performed in the past? What do other shop owners have to say about it? Answer this question and you’re over halfway to making a wise decision.
4) How Well Does it Perform During a Test Drive?
How does the house brand feel in your hands? How does it handle vibrant colors? What does it look like after installation? Test on a small project and track the results.
5) How Big (and Strong) is the Safety Net?
What is the House’s policy if you try their product and it underperforms? Or doesn’t work at all? If the House stands behind its products, your risk goes down dramatically.
For example, JDS Sign Supply offers a 100% quality guarantee with its Kota Pro line. If you have a problem, we’ll make it right.
Tally the Scores
If you’re happy with four or more answers, the house brand is a sure bet.
Three “correct” questions? Don’t try it unless you’re comfortable with the return policy.
And if the house brand only connects on two or fewer questions, keep shopping!
Conventional wisdom says high rewards only come with high risks. When it comes to trying house brands, we hope this checklist helps reduce your risk while maximizing the returns.