Explore the Benefits of Purchasing Through a Dealer or Distributor

Ample parts inventory, fast delivery and thorough new-equipment prep process are a few advantages for pumpers, according to suppliers.

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When a business is ready to invest thousands of dollars in new machinery and equipment, sometimes it’s best to cut to the chase. Buying direct from manufacturers has its advantages. Contractors can cut out the middleman and get a factory-direct product at manufacturer pricing. Fewer steps in the supply chain streamlines the delivery process. Plus, contactors can request special orders to meet their needs.

On the flip side, buying from a dealer or distributor has its own set of benefits.

Ron Selfe, president of VARco in Manassas, Virginia, and Jim Redstreake Sr., president of Vacuum Sales in Lindenwold, New Jersey, offer two different perspectives.


VARco supplies products to a wide-ranging market, including the septic, hydroexcavating and portable restroom industries. The company carries a selection of products including hose, valves, vacuum pumps, portable sanitation chemicals and steel goods for vacuum trucks.

Vacuum Sales is a dealer for multiple equipment manufacturers including most of the major vacuum pump and blower brands. Its customer base includes municipalities, septic service and portable restroom contractors, cleaners, environmental spill response companies and related businesses in the tri-state area of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and New York. In contrast to VARco (an online retailer), Vacuum Sales also maintains, repairs and modifies machinery and equipment at its 10,000-square-foot facility.

Redstreake describes the benefits of working with a dealer as “value added.” The value begins with “dealer prep.” Mechanics will spend six to 12 hours meticulously checking out new equipment shipped from the manufacturer.

Contractors gain confidence in their purchase, knowing the equipment has been checked by the manufacturer and rechecked by the dealer. Everything from a small skid- or trailer-mounted jetter unit up to an industrial vacuum loader or combination machine undergoes a thorough prep to assure it will operate at the highest level.

Down the road when the equipment needs preventive maintenance or repair, it’s back to the dealer. Vacuum Sales’ facility can accommodate up to five pieces of equipment simultaneously. Mechanics color-code service tickets to efficiently categorize, prioritize and schedule repairs. Code Red indicates the customer is waiting to get its equipment back in action in a hurry.

“We understand what downtime means to our customers,” Redstreake says.


Dealers also handle a variety of warranty work for contractors. “A lot of times we go above and beyond what the warranty is on that particular product line,” Redstreake says.

Having a local service center available for warranties may save contractors time, money and manpower. There’s no need to go directly to the manufacturer, which might be located across the state or across the country.

Dealers also sell a wide range of stock replacement parts that contractors need for quick fixes. Vacuum Sales carries $1 million in replacement parts, sold throughout the U.S. When it comes to filling an order, application is the key, according to Redstreake. “We’re basically applications engineers. Once we know what the application is, we know what to offer the customer,” he says. 

It’s the business of Vacuum Sales and VARco to know their products well. VARco employs a product specialist to answer questions and walk customers through problems that might occur with their vacuum pumps. Likewise, VARco’s customer service employees all have previous experience working in the warehouse.

“They have product knowledge down, right down to saying what type of box it’s packed in,” Selfe says. “Everybody in our office is very experienced in what we sell.”

VARco fulfills orders for U.S. and global customers from its warehouses in Ohio, Arkansas and Virginia. The company partners with multiple manufacturers, some that only sell their products through distribution networks. Buying straight from the manufacturer isn’t an option in those cases.


“The biggest thing with us is convenience and quick service. We are open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Selfe says. Contractors can call in an order on Sunday night and take delivery as early as Tuesday.

Product diversity is another benefit to the consumer.

We try to carry everything they’re looking for,” Selfe says. If VARco doesn’t stock what a customer requests, the request is referred to a product specialist who tracks it down. “Many of our products in the catalog came from people looking for things. We’re very sensitive to what they need,” Selfe says.

Contractors may see advantages to ordering in higher volumes, although VARco fulfills orders of all sizes. Hoses are the biggest seller. The company buys in huge volume to mass-produce the hoses and fittings.

Convenience is the common thread for both VARco and Vacuum Sales. Both companies fill a need by supplying the goods and services that contractors rely on to keep their operations running.

“A lot of what we sell is critical for our customers’ businesses,” Selfe says.  


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