Mining Manufacturer Rebate Programs
Let's investigate an often-overlooked way for contractors to make some extra cash this year: manufacturer rebate programs. From January through March, many building materials manufacturers announce their rebate programs for the new year. Designed to reward loyalty, these programs can net contractors some serious cash all year long. Most contractors ignore or forget about these rebates - and in doing so, leave money on the table. It's easy enough to participate; all you have to do is put in a little time to get organized.
Figure your Earning Potential
First, let's prove the opportunity is worth the effort. For round numbers, let's say:
- Your roofing crew averages one 20sq job per week for 50 weeks out of the year.
- Your shingle of choice is IKO Cambridge. IKO is offering a $5/sq rebate on Cambridge for 2018 (when you use at least 3 qualifying IKO Roofing System Accessories).
- 20sq avg job * 50 jobs/yr * $5/sq = $5,000!
That's just one example. Tailor the figures to your company and you may find that you could earn much more - all for filing some paperwork!
All It Takes is Some Organization
While manufacturer rebate programs vary, one constant is that they all require you to send in copies of your material invoices for proof of purchase. Sifting through your distributor invoices at year end can be a huge pain, and it could be easy to overlook a qualifying invoice. Consider these tips to set yourself up for success:
- Use Smart Filing. However you receive your distributor invoices, store a copy electronically and either put it in a folder by manufacturer (GAF, Mastic, etc.) or add a few letters to the front of the file name to designate the manufacturer. (If an invoice for a GAF job was named "PO123456 Jones Residence 123 Any St.", rename it to "GAF - PO123456 Jones Residence 123 Any St.") Then it will be easy to sort and collect your invoices by manufacturer.
- Get Mobile: Download apps like Evernote and Scanable that quickly let you scan receipts by taking a picture with your phone and then save it into an easy digital filing system you have set up. The beauty of these scanning apps is the ability to file the invoice right from a photo and quickly access it anywhere when you need it.
- Set Up Reminders. Some manufacturers like CertainTeed require invoices to be submitted within 60 days of purchase - that means you can't do it all in December. Set up a monthly reminder to submit invoices for rebate programs to make sure you don't miss out. Make it part of your month-end accounting procedures.
- Stay Informed. Stay in touch with your distributor sales rep to make sure you're taking advantage of all the rebate programs that make sense for your business. There may be a new program out there that you're not aware of, and many manufacturers rely on distribution to communicate the promotion.
This year, give yourself a bonus and take advantage of manufacturer rebate programs! With a little bit of planning, preperation, and organization, you could earn a few extra thousand dollars. Who couldn't use that?
About Dave Karras
Dave Karras is the Marketing Manager at Wimsatt Building Materials.