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Thread: Shopping.

  1. #1
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    Default Shopping.

    Is anyone else that got the questions doing any "pre award" shopping?..
    I've kinda been dissapointed in responses i've gotton so far. Maybe sales people will be a bit more excited and willing to make a deal after the "official" announcement.
    I also hope that we are able to share shopping info on this forum.. If its ok with "moderators" I would post my best deals, or at least P.M them to anyone.
    Seems like alot of us are getting the same things.


  2. #2
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    The level of ignorance with salesfolk involved in bidding grant equipment is still higher than I would have thought with it being the 5th year and all for this program. None of them want to believe that their people are actually getting the money, probably due to the FF who cried Grant syndrome. So many people, applying for so many things, some convinced they have it nailed, only to be denied yet again. They're probably tired of hearing people say they're getting the money.

    And I'm sure none of them have ever bothered to educate themselves about the program and how it works, including the prenotifications. When we got the 8 ?s in 2002 for the heavy rescue, I only got 2 salespeople to work with me on the premise that we hadn't been denied yet, maybe we should get a spec together. I knew we had it, didn't want to tell them that. The other 6 manufacturers told me to pound sand. Until I actually got the award and had cash in hand, then they'd work with me. Soooo, when the public announcement came and we had already spec'd the truck and were ready to submit an order, all of those other people called me all day at work trying to get me to let them submit a bid. That's the good part of a co-op purchasing program like HGAC: everything is prebid, so I didn't have to let them do anything. Besides, I wasn't going to back up the order another 6 weeks because they had no sense of customer service.

    If the supplier won't work with you before the money is awarded, there isn't too much promise that they'll be any better after the award either. That's just poor customer service in my opinion. What happened to treating everyone that comes to you like a paying customer whether they are or not?

  3. #3
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    In the defense of the apparatus folks, anything more than plugging options into a quote writer program costs money. Money for engineers/CAD folks to draw it up and engineer it, money to plot and FedEx the prints, etc. If I were selling apparatus, and had 8000 people knocking on my door only with the possibility of getting a grant, and I HADN'T been informed that the prospective customer had received the magic questions - I would hesitate to spend a lot of resources on them.

    We've had two builders who have been nothing but fantastic about working with us through the spec process (one was well over a year long), but there have been quite a few that just didn't want to spend the time or resources to engineer a unit that was going to be "unconventional." In some ways, I don't blame them.

    Still have our fingers crossed for our communications equipment to come in a grant. Our portables and repeater system WILL kill someone, its only a matter of time. Plus, we'll have better interoperability with mutual aid companies beyond what we already have.

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    Well there's a difference between asking for a bid on a generic spec and re-engineering the assembly line. I wouldn't have mentioned it if I was asking for a complex set of numbers. I just wanted a ballpark number. They thought it would be a waste of time to even work up a bid that took 10 minutes for the other two salespeople to do. To satisfy the naysayers of specific manufacturers in the department I asked 9 companies for a price for:

    6 person/5 SCBA seat chassis
    rescue body w/roll-up doors
    400+HP engine with appropriate tranny and retarder
    250gal tank
    250gpm PTO pump
    4 bottle 6000psi cascade w/2 bottle fill station
    4 preconnected hydraulic tool reels
    15kW+ PTO generator
    6000+ Watt light tower
    overall height less than 11'
    overall length less than 32'

    That was all I asked for, and only got 2 responses. As I've said before about the others, their loss. If they thought 10 minutes of their time was too valuable to spend with me on a bid then, it proved that they would never value our business in the future.

    My purpose was to highlight how companies are shooting themselves in the foot by not working with their customers BEFORE the grant is awarded. Especially since we get the prenotifications, so I was asking loaded questions and they dropped the ball. Great customer service is rewarded with repeat business every time.

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    Please don't think I'm saying you're wrong with your frustration. I've had local reps for BIG companies flat out ignore when I've approached them at shows.

    You're entirely correct that "wasting" 10 minutes could be worthwhile, but some of these guys selling these rigs are so stuck on themselves that you're almost expected to BEG THEM to buy their rig. Nope.

    Any salesman that tires enough of the "I'm thinking", "What if," "How much" calls needs to find a different line of work.

    I agree though, that the guy who provides the service gets our business. We have one guy in particular who bends over backwards for us. I'll steer as much business his way as I can, unless his pricing is out of whack. In the last two years, I've had to buy from someone else once due to his pricing being too high, and it killed me to do it.

    Nice sounding rig by the way. We have a neighbor that built one almost identical to your description, and it is easily the most functional and useful squad in the region, in my opinion.
    Last edited by npfd801; 06-23-2005 at 01:27 PM.

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    Thanks. Pierce had it at Dallas Fire-Rescue in 2003. Their guys told us they had 12 new orders placed at the show based on the entire design of the truck, another 8 modified that were in progress, and another pile took bits and pieces from it, mainly the bumper design with the handline/combie tool setup.

    I wouldn't advocate spending money with anyone that acts like you need to beg them to let you buy something. Even if it is another salesperson from the company I swear buy. Companies in general slid away from the customer comes first attitude, and they still wonder why business is hurting.

    Dead on with the sales calls too. If you don't like having to sell people on buying your stuff, don't be a SALESperson.

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    I've only had really one SCBA salesguy want to work with me, and even having a harder time than that on Globe turnout gear.. Does the prices go down a little when the "official" announcement comes?.. I hope so..

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    Yeah, for better or for worse, most of the salespeople watch the announcements and then end up calling people that have been leaving them messages for a few weeks.

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    Default

    And of course i have to mention all the ink that is wasted for the fax machine. Seems like they almost know who applied for money and what they applied for. If a sales person doesnt want to sell then we'll find a dealer that will. To many dealers out there to get stalled by one.

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    Seems like most of the "dealer" have territories(sp) .. and wont sell out of their district...

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    That's when you find another brand to deal with. I mean, think about it: if you're getting this bad of service before you spend the money, how bad will it be after they have it?

    PBI is dang near the same from anyone, it's just cut, stripes, and color. I'm in Globe now, been in Quaker Safety, Morning Pride. I like the replaceable pads in the MP gear, much less expensive in the long run versus having to take the whole set out to get repaired.

  12. #12
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    Default Equipment Dealers & Grants

    bc79er is correct on most of his infromation but, perhaps I can add something to this discussion from the dealer's standpoint. When the grant application is written, it is obviously good to have some quotes, and shopping for the best price is ALWAYS a preferred practice as evidenced by the number of department being asked to take a "reduced" award.

    The dealers hands are actually tied by the "manufacturers" who set the pricing structures they must use. Many of these manufacturers offer their dealers "protected" areas, to discourage "customer pirating" and to protect their dealers; there are good and bad points to this, just like everything in life.

    You should also bear in mind that "many dealers",including the company I work for, used to order and ship based upon "pre-award" preliminary notifications. They got burned bad by these when DHS held up the formal award announcements or they actually never got their award, at all. This caused an accounts recivable nightmare for the dealer and eventually caused a considerable amount of expense to them in "returns" and shipping costs.

    Many dealers and suppliers have adopted a policy of placing an order but not "actually shipping", until such time as they have a copy of the "formal grant award" letter faxed to them. I truly believe this is not a "huge problem" but, a way that ANY businessman (remember many of you have private businesses and are volunteers)would take to ultimately keep their costs down, which in turn keeps the cost down to you, in the long run. These dealers are not "non-profits" and they have boards and stockholders to answer to. It is merely a matter of properly coordinating and working with your sales rep. and not "jumping the gun" on your shopping spree.


    KB CHIEF Grants

  13. #13
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    Default SCBA

    anyone getting SCBA with thier grant $$$?
    I've shopped pretty hard so if anyone needs to know who we are probably buying from PM me.. I dont mind to post it, but dont want a moderator to think i'm spamming...
    But if its ok to put Company names of where we get the best prices, I sure dont mind.. We all need the best prices we can get.. especially if your a vollie dept. like ours.. the more we save the more we can buy...

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    Zoom- Our department should receive a breathing compressor and SCBA's under this years AFG program. I have only checked prices at one company. It seems that our grant was high by $10,000 to $15,000. Do we get to spend the extra money on something else or do we have to turn in back in?

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    Per the Program Guidance: You can spend up to $5000 in extra funds within the original scope of the grant or on fire prevention. Anything over $5000 must be spent on fire prevention or returned. Extra funds being defined as funds left over after you have bought what you asked for in the original project definition.

    Now that doesn't mean that you can't add things to what you're asking for. So if you only asked for a 4 bottle cascade with 2 bottle fill station, you can buy a 6 or 8 bottle cascade with 2-2 bottle fill stations. As long as you meet or exceed what you asked for, you'll get no grief from DHS about it. Same way you can upgrade to a 2000gpm pump on a truck when you asked for 1500gpm. You just can't go the other direction.

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    BC..
    What if you have money left over on one of the projects, can you spend it on another one of your projects?.. like.. I think we will have a little left on the mobile air system... can we spend the rest on turnouts , since we seem to have underestimated them?.

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    You can, just run it past them so there are no surprises when they look at the reports you have to send them. You can buy extra sets (up to $5K of course), so I don't see why you can't go over the $1200 if it's all part of the same pile of money they're giving you. I know several people that upgraded within the gear line with money saved from their SCBA chunk, looks like the same animal to me.

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    BC, thanks for the help. I have one more question for you. I was brand specific in our grant. Do we have to stick with the brand that we proposed or could we switch? We are not planning switch, but I was just wondering if we could.

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    Yes, brands you can switch with no problems, as long as you still get the minimum that you asked for with the new vendor. So if someone would give you 45 minute SCBAs for what the other vendor was pricing 30 minute SCBAs, there's no problems. DHS is all about everyone getting more for their money.

    Which reminds me it's about time to say again: you're CASH customers after the award. I'm a business person myself so I don't mean to say make them give it to you at cost, we all have to make a little money, but no reason they can't bend a little from their original price. Everyone overestimates, and if they didn't, oh well. They should have to account for price increases since it could be 12 months between bid and award.

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    BC, thanks alot for the help. I am one of those guys that doesn't post very much, but definitely would not have received a grant without this forum and your expertise. Thanks Again.

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