Find Charter School Vendors

Opening a charter school is a lot like starting a business. You’ve got to put out a quality product (your teaching style), you need to attract customers (your students), and you want to attract the best talent (your teachers). One of the most challenging aspects of the process is the hiring and management of charter school vendors.

Your school will need more suppliers than you think. There’s the food for the school lunches, materials for the classroom, and furniture for the building. Some of these expenses, like the food, are recurring while others like furniture are one-time expenses.

But like any business owner would do, it’s vital that you form relationships with quality suppliers. Fortunately, there are specific signs you can look for in charter school vendors to avoid buyer’s remorse.

1. Recommendations and Good Reviews, Especially from Other Schools

You can save yourself a lot of time and energy by finding a company that already caters to educational institutions. Check out which vendors are the most popular amongst other public schools in the area and see if those vendors match the rest of your criteria.

As with any purchase, recommendations and stellar reviews are a sign that a company is doing something right. Seek vendors that know what they’re doing. Charterschooldirectory.com is a great resource that allows you to read and submit reviews for every charter school vendor in the space.

2. Puts Effort Into Customer Acquisition

Seek out suppliers that put an appropriate amount of effort into customer acquisition. Keep in mind that the “appropriate” amount of effort will vary, depending on the size of your potential purchase is. A supplier likely won’t put a lot of time or effort into winning your business if you plan to make a small, standalone order. On the other hand, if you’re trying to find a long-term partner for your lunch menu ingredients or you need a company to completely furnish your building, look out for companies that put effort into winning your business.

An organization that puts effort into winning your business demonstrates a certain level of interest in developing a long-term relationship. These initial conversations with vendors help you learn more about their prices, their products, and potential discounts for large customers. Go with your gut – if a potential charter school vendor doesn’t put in enough effort to win your business at the outset, there’s no chance the supplier is going to become easier to work with after they have your buy-in.

3. Demonstrates Quality Customer Service

You don’t have to wait until you hire a company to gauge the quality of its customer service. In fact, you can tell a lot about a supplier based on how they treat a customer before they are a customer. Do they send you a quote on time? Do they follow up with answers to your questions? Is their team happy to take your calls?

When you’re choosing a charter school vendor, you’re not just choosing a particular product, but the people who push that product as well. Issues or late shipments are inevitable, but when those things happen, you want to feel confident that you’re working with professionals that will solve things quickly.

4. Reliability and Stability

Much like customer service, reliability and stability sound like traits you can only see once you start working with a supplier, but that’s not the case.

You can measure reliability by reading reviews or speaking with current or previous customers. If reviews or personal testimonials are unavailable, request a trial period. This can help you judge whether or not a supplier will fulfill orders accurately and according to schedule.

To determine the stability of a company, take a look at how long it’s been in business and the turnover of its executives. To this end, charterschooldirectory.com includes a handy “years in business” data point on each vendor profile in the “details” section. High turnover is a sign that there are management issues within the organization that have probably trickled down to affect day-to-day operations.

It may be tempting to give a newer, local supplier an opportunity to win your business. A brand-new supplier could certainly turn out to be a great supplier. However, if your charter school is in its fledgling days, you may benefit from the stability of a vendor with long-term experience. Typically, more well-established charter schools are in a better position to take a risk on a newer vendor. However, do remember that you may see price discounts with newer suppliers – be sure to ask about any deals that your charter school might receive as an early adopter.

Good suppliers facilitate smooth operations, so be mindful of the sorts of charter school vendors you choose and look out for these traits when you make your final decisions.


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