The saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” In terms of chemicals in our industry, this is typically true, but not all of the time! Let’s break it down a bit, shall we?
There are various different opinions, or camps, when it comes to chemicals. There are those who think “They’re all the same,” those who think “It’s all water anyway,” and those who have been burned by bad experiences and know “the chemicals must be great- as well as the service.” Yes, there are other opinions, but we’ll stick to these for the purposes of this post.
For those who think all chemicals are the same, that’s simply just not the case. Yes, the big industry name brands with an international presence can command an inflated premium price. However, they’ve also poured lots of money and research into streamlined production and quality control while building/earning their brand equity and recognition in the marketplace. They’ve got shareholder’s to answer to and a lot to lose- so you better believe they’re going to make sure their products perform. Are they typically at least 10-20% higher than lesser known but still excellent brands? Of course, but you can rest assured the products are much higher quality than the watered-down super cheap stuff found on the shelves of a discount chain store. Also, arguably more important, is the fact that these higher priced, higher quality chemicals come with better customer service, account reps, technical service, customzed programs, results, etc. You can also use a fraction of the amount compared to the watered-down cheap stuff. If a detergent is half the price of another, it’s not necessarily a great deal- there’s going to be a pretty good reason for it.
Now, let’s address those who think chemicals are “all water” anyway. This train of thought is likely to hit a nerve with most industry professionals who have a deeper understanding of product chemistry and experience with achieving excellent results- especially in challenging conditions. They know the importance of good chemistry. They understand how chemicals interact with each other AND the wash items, and how this interaction affects results, time, money, frustration, the customer experience and much more. The health department knows how many ppm of sanitizer you need in order to avoid having your kitchen shut down. They certainly don’t think it’s “all water” anyway. The laundry manager who’s seen their entire inventory of brand new white towels turn beige certainly knows it’s not “all water” when a professional is able to reverse the damage with proper chemistry. There are weak, watered-down products in the marketplace. There are also high quality, highly concentrated products in the marketplace. There are distributors of products, and there are distributors of products, knowledge, assistance and expertise. Find your balance depending on your needs.
Lastly, we’ll discuss the camp that (I think you’ve by now realized) we’ve been working towards- those who have seen first-hand the importance and balance of product, price AND the relationship. They understand that chemical quality varies, and the cheap stuff won’t cut it in almost every case. They understand that there are different detergent options depending on their specific needs, and they need guidance from a professional to determine which will yield optimal results without busting their budget. They have tried both ends of the spectrum and have an appreciation for the intricacies of chemistry and those who have honed their craft over years of experience in the field. Most importantly, they understand the balance of getting what you pay for. It’s easy to fall into the alluring trap of underpaying, it stings to learn that you’re overpaying- but oh boy does it feel great when the value you receive surpasses the cost to receive it.
So, do YOU get what you pay for?