R.C. Sales & Service LLC

12005A 107R.C. Sales & Service LLC is proud to represent top-of-the-line plumbing and HVAC manufacturers and their products.
By Jim Harris

Whenever wholesale distributors in Illinois and Indiana need industry-leading hot water heaters and boilers, they look to R.C. Sales & Service LLC.

“Our greatest strength as a company is our product knowledge, application knowledge and our expertise in water heaters and hydronic equipment,” says Michael Dore, principal of the Downers Grove, Ill.-based manufacturer’s representative. “Our knowledge and skill in working with engineers, contractors and wholesalers helps them design, sell and install hot water and hydronic systems that work.

“Our customers rely on us,” he adds. “If there’s a problem on a job, they can call us and we shall meet them on the jobsite and resolve the issue.”

R.C. Sales & Service represents world-class manufacturers in the marketplace including A.O. Smith, the largest manufacturer and marketer of water heaters in North America. Other notable manufacturers represented by the company include:

* TACO, a leading manufacturer of circulators, pumps and hydronic accessories;

* Weil-McLain, a leading North American manufacturer of hydronic boilers and comfort heating systems;

* Panasonic’s HVAC mini-split heating and air conditioning systems;

* Testo, a HVAC testing instrument manufacturer; and

* Haws, a manufacturer of drinking fountains and emergency eye washes and drench showers.

“We are selective on which manufacturers we represent,” Dore says. “We are regularly approached by different manufacturers who would like for us to represent their products because of our relationships with engineers, contractors and the wholesale distribution channel.”

R.C. Sales & Service selects companies that manufacture mechanical room products and compliment existing products in the plumbing and HVAC industry that will be of interest to its wholesaler customer base. The company’s inside and outside sales departments closely evaluate each potential new manufacturer. This includes asking whether there’s a market for the prospective products as well as if the company can help the manufacturer increase its sales.

R.C. Sales & Service also analyzes whether the product would fit the offerings of its existing wholesalers. “With technology and efficiency standards changing, there’s more to selling products,” Dore says. “It needs to be the right product for the application. 

“We probably say no to more companies than we say yes to,” he adds.

R.C. Sales & Service’s salespeople regularly meet with factory sales personnel to support its sales efforts and become more knowledgeable about manufacturers’ products and applications. Several manufacturers meet with the company once or twice a month, Dore says.

Continuous Education

R.C. Sales & Service sells exclusively to wholesaler distributors in the HVAC; plumbing; and pipe, valve and fitting channels. As an industry participant, R.C. Sales maintains memberships in several industry associations.RC Sales box

The company has strong relationships with the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, the American Society of Sanitary Engineers, the Illinois Plumbing Heating and Cooling Council, the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, the American Supply Association, the Association of Independent Manufacturers/Representatives, the Western Trade Association, the Indiana Plumbing Heating and Cooling Council, the Chicagoland Better Heating and Cooling Council, Plumbing Contractors Association and other organizations. Members of these groups help promote and sell the products specified on many of RC Sales & Service’s projects, Dore says.

In addition to sales, the company offers technical training to the installers of the products it represents. This includes teaching courses required by the state of Illinois for plumbing contractors. The state requires four hours of courses, known as continuous education units, annually in order for plumbers to remain licensed.

R.C. Sales & Service can teach six two-hour courses. The company instructs roughly 2,500 to 3,000 plumbing professionals annually, Dore adds. 

Staying Competitive

The company helps its distributor customers remain competitive against larger competitors. R.C. Sales & Service’s manufacturers have a few advantages, such as minimum Internet prices set by manufacturers, as well as logistics in delivery for some of the items they carry.

Most of the large equipment and other products represented by the company are not easily shipped via U.S. Mail, UPS, FedEx or next-day air. “In addition many of the products are emergency need items and require immediate replacement,” Dore says. “They need to be in the wholesalers inventory for immediate availability and can’t wait to be shipped several days later.”

A Long Legacy

The company was established in 1989 when A.O. Smith appointed Ron Carter as its specification representative for the Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana bid and specification market. In 1992, A.O. Smith changed its business model from having a factory salesforce to instead working with independent manufacturer’s representatives. One of A.O. Smith’s four district managers, George Pagach, joined Carter at R.C. Sales & Service.

In January 1995, A.O. Smith appointed R.C. Sales & Service as a full-line representative agency. In 2004, the company merged with Dore Engineered Products, a representative agency owned by Dore. Dore and Pagach then became partners in R.C. Sales & Service.

Dore has an MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. Before starting Dore Engineered Products, he worked for Weil-McLain in several capacities including as a contractor specialist, a sales representative, a commercial specialist and a training and technical manager. His duties included overseeing marketing, promotional and advertising programs with wholesalers and dealers, developing training programs and assisting contractors in the field.

Dore is a certified professional manufacturer’s representative through the Association of Independent Manufacturer’s Representatives.

Moving Forward

R.C. Sales & Service continues to find ways to improve its operation. This includes potentially moving to a larger facility that includes a warehouse, Dore says.

The company also wants to add additional outside salespeople, which Dore acknowledges can be a challenge.

“Personnel is our biggest asset,” he says. “We need to find people with the right skillset to sell engineered products in both inside and outside sales. Finding and retaining competent, technically minded people is our biggest challenge.”

Although it recently had a few staff members leave to join manufacturers’ sales staff, the company is generally fortunate to have low turnover. “We are fortunate in that we have been able to hold on to our people,” Dore adds.

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Wholesale and Distribution International

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312.676.1100  312.676.1101

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