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Timster 05-18-2009 10:12 PM

How to find plumbing distributors for plumbing invention?
My business partner (we are general contractors in same company) just started a new business selling a patented plumbing product.

Basically every plumber that looks at it wonders why it wasn't 'invented' 50 years ago. It is the kind of thing where you slap your head and wonder why you didn't 'invent' it. He just went to his first convention, and everyone loves it, and he also came back from a big China trip.

So, eventually, he hope to sell them by the gazillions, and hopes they will be in every single store with plumbing supplies in a few years.

My questions are: is there a reference book I can buy that names all of the large distributors of plumbing products so they can be contacted? Any ideas from plumber industry people on how to market this successfully?

Once they see this product, they will want it on their shelves, most likely, from what my partner says.

I am not sure if I am allowed to post a link to a website showing/describing the 'invention' (it is patented) so I will refrain for now; however, I would love to hear unbiased thoughts on this new product, so hopefully I can post the link.

hayewe farm 05-18-2009 11:43 PM

One of the easiest ways is to work the shows. Put up a sign "distributors wanted" if it is any good they will contact you.

faucetman886 05-19-2009 03:37 AM

As to a book for reference, try the Thomas Registry. Probably indisputably the most comprehensive industrial guide.
I was an accountant specializing in startups and turnarounds for over 30 years and the best advice I can give, before you start looking for distribution and orders, is to make sure you have a solid source for having the product manufactured and enough operating capital to adequately carry you through the formative stages. Most small businesses fail because of a lack of capital and over expectation of the products market. GOOD LUCK

Chemist1961 05-19-2009 05:41 AM

I was involved I a non plumbing business a few yaers ago where my company became an OEM supplier for several distributors and I designed and sold the products based on 15 yaers industry experience.
To learn more about your options you might also want to talk to a few solid well known retailers and find out from the owners who their preferred suppliers/distributors are. There is nothing more dissapointing than a great product in the hands of the wrong distributor who ties it up and goes nowhere with it.
I know the owner of a large CDN firm in my area who manufactures and distributes in Canada and the US. If you want to send me a PM. I assume that is allowed in this circumstance. The Thomas registry is a help but nothing beats hands on face to face meetings at trade shows to see how companies present themselves.

Joe F 05-19-2009 08:38 AM

I'd contact corporate HQ for someone like Ferguson Enterprises. Make sure you can meet the potential demand. Nothing worse than having the big distributor say "this is great, well take 12,000" and you having to tell him "we can only make 100 per month".

Timster 05-19-2009 09:43 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hey, I appreciate all the helpful suggestions; very informative. :thumbup:

Chemist, this thing is on the ground floor, and I don't know if the guy you know, would be able to get this out, so I will post more information on it below. :)

Here is the invention, without posting any links or anything. You know the P trap under the sinks in kitchens and bathrooms?

Well, this 'invention' is an offset P trap kit that will fit into the wall pipe when it doesn't line up perfectly. So you don't have to rip out the sheetrock and move the pipe in back.

The 'invention' is approved for code work.

Thanks again for the replies. I know million of new products are out every year, and you guys have been there, done that; thanks for the assistance.

Here is a really small picture of the product. If you look close, the product is the pipe, with an offset, going into the wall under the kitchen/bath sink:

KHouse75 05-20-2009 01:00 AM

Looks like what I saw on a few minutes ago searching for an air switch:

Timster 05-20-2009 01:53 AM


Originally Posted by KHouse75 (Post 275946)
Looks like what I saw on a few minutes ago searching for an air switch:

Yeah... That is it exactly.

It is called the Freedom Arm if you read the sticker. I am holding the pipe in the picture above, in my hand with that sticker on it; early development name, but that name will soon be called something more fitting and appropriate.

That photo above is what we are talking about. No patent infringement here...

Again, this thing is patented, so nobody else will be producing it (maybe faking it in China, of course).

Thanks again for everybody's help. :)

Anti-wingnut 03-13-2014 09:59 AM

How's your patent going?

LateralConcepts 03-13-2014 10:14 AM

Because I watch the show Shark Tank, I think the sharks would recommend licensing the product. That takes all the headache and overhead out of manufacturing, distributing, etc. You just sit back and collect a check.

UnclePhil 03-13-2014 02:37 PM

I wish you all the best with it..

Just curious what plumbers have been doing all these years with out this offset P trap?

How often are they needed, how much could you charge where it would be worth it for you and them..??

I know many plumbers that don't mind making holes..or putting togethere a few fittings..

Good luck with it and all the best..


Oh in answer to your question... maybe go to plumbing supply houses and ask for Names of manufactures...

And use the WEB....

I tried something similarly decades ago and sent out to maybe a dozen manufactures..there was no internet..... they were kind and did return letters as to why they where not interested....

Although over the years I have seen similar (but different) products produced from these manufactures...

How can you patent an "offset" I don't know.......but...

again, all the best.

beenthere 03-13-2014 04:30 PM

Hopefully, they figured out how to market it 4 years ago.

Ghostmaker 03-13-2014 06:23 PM

I hope you have a patent. If not thanks for the great idea. Just joking

Ghostmaker 03-13-2014 08:22 PM

Take it to the TV show and sell your patent to a trap manufacture.

A Squared 03-14-2014 08:55 AM

I'm kind of curious how you patent a bent pipe. Seems like people have been bending pipe for a long time.

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