Keeping Their Cool
Distributors of industrial fans should be focused on quality and performance, not price
Airmaster Vice President of Sales Marketing Ed Laabs is a fan of proverbs for explaining business. After nearly 30 years of industrial experience, there’s one sales saying
he puts above the rest: “It’s easier to explain price once than
apologize for quality forever,” coined by Zig Ziglar, an American
author, salesman, and motivational speaker.
Its message is simple: don’t skimp on quality to sell at a cheaper price.
That sentiment is shared by Sauk Rapids, MN-based Schaefer
Ventilation, where company president Neil Crocker knows that
quality is should be priority No. 1 for any distributor considering
carrying or adding to an industrial fans product line.
“Quality matters. It’s about whether (fans) last a few years or
a few minutes,” Crocker says.
“Fans aren’t exactly rocket sci-
ence. A good fan moves a lot of
air, moves it efficiently, and lasts
a long time. End use customers
appreciate not having to replace
them. Those are the things to
Laabs has seen the industri-
al products sector from three
angles. He was president of
Eagle Industrial Supply for 18
years before becoming Nation-
al Accounts director at buying
group IBC for 2 years, and is
now on the manufacturer’s side
with Jackson, MI-based Airmas-
ter since April 2012. Through it
all, he’s learned to sell on value,
not on price.
“Distributors sell based on
value, not on price, and that
moves products,” Laabs says.
“They can sell a cheaper brand,
but is the end user getting a
What is Fan Quality?
Industrial fans quality is all about the materials. The highest
quality fans are typically heavier, the gauge of the fan blade is
thicker so it won’t flatten out over time.
“The most important product feature is the raw materials
used,” Laabs says. “We make the best fans in the business be-
cause we use the best materials.”
Another factor to look at is what type of motor is on the prod-
uct. Airmaster only partners with one motor manufacturer, which
Laabs says gives them a competitive advantage.
Both the materials used and the motor determine the lifespan
of an industrial fan. And customers will pay more up front if it
means getting more out of their investment.
Energy-efficiency is a third factor, and a trend that will only
continue to grow.
“That’s not going away,” says Dan Anderson, product manager of Milwaukee-based fans manufacturer Rite-Hite. “That’s a
great area for distributors to grow their business. Not only are
consumers excited about it, but government agencies. You’re
talking about rebates from electric companies and state-funded
A trend that industrial fans manufacturers and suppliers hope
continues to grow is one where customers are choosing a fans
solution over air conditioning. Especially effective in the warmer
months, a proper fans system moves hot air out of a building so
it’s not adding to its heat load, and provides a breeze through
air circulation. When outside temperatures cool down at night,
a fans system airs out the building and allows it to start the next
morning at a cooler temperature. In the winter, keeping heat in
the building is helped simply by closing shutters and bringing hot
air down from the ceiling.
“People should think about improving their working environment, and they can do it with fans as opposed to A/C,” Crocker
says. “It’s cheaper. People should think hard about it. A/C companies would love to put a new product on top of the building.
Fans lower top expenses and operating expenses. There’s a lot of
things you can do to not need A/C.”