I have been "officially" in business for less than two weeks now but the buzz is growing fast. My husband works at a hospital in Pittsburgh and has been pimping my biz like a pro. He delivered my first sale today and the 6 dozen cookies lasted a reported 42 minutes. Alright, I'll stop patting myself on the back and get down to it.
Anyway, a Rep from one of the medical equipment companies heard about me and approached my DH with a business offer. She visits a large number of area hospitals and often brings/sends gift to "sweeten" a sale (pardon the pun, it was compulsive). She asked if I would be able to make cookies for her and have a courier service deliver them to the hospitals. She would pick up the cost of the courier. Now, for those who aren't familiar with the medical world, company reps drop BIG bucks almost daily on their prospective customers so this is potentially a several hundred dollar a week deal we're talking about. I doubt I would even have time for other orders from the way my DH was talking.
The problem: I live in Steubenville, OH and as far as I can tell not a single dang courier service comes near our area. Because of the potential this has, I don't want to close the doors on it yet. What do you guys think? (or yins guys, for those who live near Steeler nation!) Is delivery by courier a safe way to go for baked goods? Can anyone think of another option for getting the stuff to either the couriers or the end destinations (which could range all over western PA). I thought of driving to the nearest courier location but that would mean going practically into Pittsburgh and that hardly seems logical. Any help would be great! Thank you!
Why can't your potential customer take them with her when she visits? Hubs can deliver to her, then she can take to customer? Package them well and give her a week's worth of cookie gifts (however you package them; boxes, baskets, etc.).
Yins...love it! My parents were born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and I spent a lot of time at my Grandma's as a kid. Don't forget it's the Stillers. My mom warshes her clothes in warter too.
A few of the large health systems near me have put a stop to the practice of "sweetening" a sale. We used to get yummy lunches delivered from one rep, until the higher-ups found out. No more lunch. I do understand why though. It's almost bribing.
Ya gotta love dem Stillers! (ooo my MIL says warsh. bugs the daylights out of me!) Our part of Ohio backs Pittsburgh teams more than Ohio teams, with the exception of college football (go Buckeyes!). My aunt-in-law is the only Browns fan in the family and boy does she get heck for it!
I don't know how regularly the rep comes to his dept. but I will suggest it. DH suggested hiring his brother to make deliveries but I told him I didn't want to put that kind of miles on his mother's car! I have heard that "sweetening the deal" is technically not allowed but DH's many free lunches say that it's not followed too closely. I think because it usually comes out of the rep's pocket and not company money it becomes a gray area but not sure. Either way, who she gives the cookies to and why doesn't concern me too much. So many of the medical supply companies sell virtually the same stuff so it just becomes a competition between reps to win favor either by being chummy or various non-mentioned gifts. I agree it is rather shady, but the DRs/ppl who buy the supplies aren't stupid and are the ones who really perpetuate it.
Thank you for the idea!
It is true that several states have mandated that reps can no longer provide any type of treat or present. I'm a nurse in Florida and long gone are the days of free pens, lunch, etc from our reps. Probably cause too many medical workers were being swayed by these treats. Hopefully your state won't opt to go that way cause this sounds like a sweet deal if a courier can be found but if you jump on it now then even if your state does mandate the no treat rule your name will already be around the hospital.
even if your state does mandate the no treat rule your name will already be around the hospital.
BINGO! She visits hospitals all over western PA and even a few in WV so we're talking about major exposure. All the same, if we can't figure out how to get the cookies to their destination still fresh and intact I may have to pass.
Thank you Michelle for the idea, hubs talked with the rep and she will pick the orders up from him at work. It will be at most 16 dozen a week which is totally doable! Yay! Thank you all for the help!
Awesome!!! That is such great exposure for you! Don't forget to tuck in a few business cards and stick a label on the back or whatever to make sure people know who made the cookies. I'm so excited for you! I'm working on my first corporate order right now and it's scary, but luckily I met the owner's wife at her house while delivering cookies so I don't have to deal with the office people yet. That scares the you-know-what outta me! Anyway, congratulations and keep us up-to-date on how its going.
That's great news!! so glad you could work it out, and Ditto on Michelle's suggestions for more advertising!!