Finding and ordering your custodial supplies online can feel a little like a gamble – unless you’ve done your homework.
In the 1998 comedy, Married to the Mob, mafia wife Angela complains that everything her family owns, “fell off the back of a truck.” The phrase is a common euphemism for stolen goods, and it doesn’t just happen in fictional movies.
The state of Michigan recently had an order of surgical masks on the way from the national stockpile to aid in their response to the coronavirus pandemic. When they opened the shipment, however, 225,000 masks were missing. Whether or not those masks “fell off the back of the truck” remains to be seen.
The point for commercial cleaners and building service contractors is that when you order custodial supplies online, there is little assurance you will get what you expect unless you are dealing with a recognized and trusted source. This is true anytime, but with supplies running short in a pandemic, you want to be sure you’re dealing with an honest and forthright business.
The problem with missing custodial supplies is multifaceted, too. It goes well beyond the frustration of not receiving your supplies.
When you don’t get what you’ve paid for, there’s the initial loss of money. That gets quickly compounded when you have to then buy the same items from another source. And while you’re waiting to get the supplies in, you could very well run out, leaving you without the ability to do your job.
Keep up with your supplies, schedules, and all your custodial cleaning checklist with Janitorial Manager. Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation demo and learn how it works.
How to choose your source for ordering custodial supplies online
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are some very reliable places to get your custodial supplies online. Finding a supplier is easy, but you don’t want just any supplier. It’s essential to take the next step and learn about their level of service and reliability. How?
1. Read online reviews
You can find these anywhere from Yelp to Google to Facebook. As an example, Brady Industries has a 4.9-star rating on Facebook (out of 5), with comments like, “Friendly, inexpensive and the staff are knowledgable.”
While a series of good reviews is encouraging, don’t assume a bad review is a deal breaker. Take online reviews in stride, and consider the context. There’s always someone who wants to complain or is never satisfied. If you come across a company with three bad reviews out of 30 or 40, it probably isn’t a big deal. Three bad reviews out of five? That’s another story.
2. Look for longevity
Every company has to start somewhere, so don’t discount a new online supplier out of hand. But consider, too, that a company that has been in business for a while has a history that’s easy to research.
3. Contact options
A company that focuses on customer service should make it easy for you to get in touch with them. Imperial Dade, for instance, has phone contact information, email address, a contact form, and the locations of their two headquarters all listed on their website. Additionally, they have the physical addresses and phone number of all their branch locations listed.
4. Product options
You might not need the 10-page list of all-purpose cleaners that Brady Industries carries, but isn’t it nice to have options? Maybe you need to switch brands or have multiple sizes available for facilities with differing janitorial needs. It’s much easier to order from a supplier that you already have a relationship with.
5. Payment terms and refund policy
What works here is largely your choice, but most reputable companies will be clear on their policies around payment, refunds, returns, order minimums, and so on.
7 of our favorite sites to order custodial supplies online
We couldn’t just give you a few pointers and send you on your way. That wouldn’t be very good of us, now would it? Here are some of the best places we know to order custodial supplies online, pandemic, or not.
1. Brady Industries
Brady began as City Janitorial Supply in 1947 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This family-run business now has 20 locations primarily, though not exclusively, in the western U.S.
The sales team has an average of ten years in the industry, and Brady employs factory-trained specialists that can help you diagnose and fix equipment issues. Their buying power ensures competitive prices, and with over 500,000 square feet of combined warehouse space, their extensive inventory is always up to date.
2. EBP Supply Solutions
EBP opened its doors in 1918, serving the Bridgeport, Connecticut area. Since then, they’ve expanded substantially, with three distribution centers along the eastern seaboard.
EBP stands out in its commitment to sustainability practices. They are an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council, plant over 16,000 trees a year through their partnership with Trees for the Future, and they are founding members of the Connecticut Sustainable Business Council.
3. Western Paper Distributors
Western Paper is an award-winning supplier based in the southwestern U.S. They’ve been recognized for excellence in operations, performance, IT, and business development, in addition to numerous other awards.
While Western Paper is a wholesaler, working to supply custodial, food service, and laundry needs across the country, they are also an integral part of their local community. They recently opened a “farmer’s market” in their parking lot where area residents could pick up hard-to-find essentials like toilet paper and disinfectants.
4. S. Freedman & Sons
S. Freedman began supplying “quality products at competitive prices” in 1907. They’ve moved a long way from distributing goods around Washington D.C. with a horse and wagon. Today they supply the entire U.S. with high-quality janitorial supplies.
The company stocks over 9,000 items and works hard to keep supplies shipping, even through the uncertainties of a pandemic.
Mailender’s story began in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1936, at the height of the Great Depression. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that their janitorial supply business took off.
Today, Mailender is the premier wholesaler of janitorial supplies in the Midwest. The company prides itself on customer service, and they carry thousands of products, from carpet extractors to paper towels and everything in between.
6. Imperial Dade
Imperial Dade takes advantage of a fleet of more than 700 delivery vehicles to distribute goods to over 45,000 customers.
The company carries nearly every item you could need, and they make ordering custodial supplies online as easy as possible, with a simple credit application and ordering system.
7. Southeastern Paper Group
Southeastern Paper Group opened in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1969. Today the company is 3rd generation family-owned, yet they strive to maintain the founding principles of providing world-class service and innovative solutions.
Southeastern Paper supplies everything you need to run your commercial cleaning operation, including some of those odds and ends like replacement parts, batteries, and putty knives.
Ordering your custodial supplies online doesn’t have to be a struggle. Nor does it need to be an anonymous experience where you are little more than a number. Try one of these wholesalers for top quality service and build a relationship with a supplier who actually knows your name.
And once you have your supplies in stock, don’t forget to use Janitorial Manager to track your usage and supply levels. It’s a great way to help you ensure you have what you need to do your job.
Make your business stand out with Janitorial Manager, software designed by janitors, for janitors. Contact us today for a free demo and learn about all the fantastic features!