Many companies want to sell you compressed air services and equipment, but they’re not all the same. Some distributors may not have the capabilities to provide the service you need; they may not carry sufficient inventory and could be locked into a single brand. An air compressor distributor that is a good fit with your business will help lower your costs and maximize the performance of your system.

Before selecting a distributor that will support your business, it’s essential to do some homework. Start by defining your needs and expectations – only then are you in a position to evaluate potential partners. The four criteria outlined below should help.

1. Expertise

No one advertises a lack of know-how, so it’s up to you to judge. Take note of the questions asked as you discuss your compressed air system and needs – they will give you insight into the extent of their knowledge and experience.

Look for case studies they have written that showcase the most challenging projects they’ve undertaken. These should give you a feel for the kind of projects they are comfortable handling. Don’t forget to ask how long they’ve been working in the compressed air field – you don’t want them to be learning on your system.

2. Customer Service

Evaluate distributors’ responsiveness and willingness to help. Do they put your needs ahead of their own? You can get a feel for this from your initial communications with them. It bodes well when a business seems eager to help.

What about longevity? If they’ve been in the business a long time, that suggests they’re good at satisfying their clients. Look at their client list and look for big-name success stories. Those businesses don’t tolerate poor service, and neither should you.

3. Services Offered

Do they offer services to meet your current and future needs? How well do they define them, and can they back up the headlines with details? (Example: If they say they do audits, do they define what these projects involve?) Do they have case studies that explain the kind of work they’ve carried out for other clients? Are they truly independent, or are they focused on selling services pushed by particular compressor manufacturers?

4. Project Management Expertise

Equipment installation and system upgrades should always be managed as a project, so find out what kind of skills they have. Can they explain how work is planned and executed? Can they take you through their project management processes? Do they have clear and consistent methods for communicating with stakeholders and the sponsor?

You’ll Be Together a Long Time

Selecting a distributor that will work with you on your compressed air needs is not like buying commodity products. You need to determine your needs and expectations and find a partner that can meet them. Get it wrong, and your business could suffer. Get it right, and you could be longtime partners.