Vendor View: Changing the Way Custom Installers Do Business
When president, Jay Faison, established SnapAV in 2005, he had a simple goal: build a business to help custom installers, like himself, increase their profitability. Starting with this wide-open objective has translated into a business model that ignores some of our industry’s “conventional wisdom” in favor of new approaches. Faison talks about his company’s business practices and how they are shaking up custom retail.
CR: What makes SnapAV different from other manufacturers in the industry?
Faison: In starting SnapAV, I knew the key to building a successful business was to provide dealers with a more profitable alternative. This drove three big differences in our business model.
The first difference is the breadth of product that we manufacture. We engineer products in 15 different categories, including interconnects, structured wiring, loudspeakers, projection screens, equipment racks, video display mounts, video distribution and more. And all are high-quality products.
Second, we have a different pricing structure. When we established SnapAV, we knew running a lean operation was critical to keeping dealer prices down. Put simply, to sell comparable products for less, we needed a business model that would enable SnapAV to operate on less product mark-up than other manufacturers in this industry. We accomplish this through a mix of technology, process and good-old-fashioned frugality.
Third, we approached the structure of dealer relationships differently. We weren’t going to follow the longstanding tradition of selling through sales rep firms or distributors, or requiring large buying commitments from our dealers. Rather, we maintain direct relationships with all dealers regardless of their size.
The combination of these lower dealer prices across our many different product categories yields dealers significantly higher profits. Additionally, the direct relationship that we have is beneficial both to them and to us. All of these differences result in a model that really hasn’t existed in our industry before now.