Industrial-Sized Selling Opportunities

Ways to tap into the industrial marketplace.


Maryland, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Maine and Delaware are among the states with the highest concentration of workers in this sector while the top-paying states consist of Alaska ($53,000 annually), the District of Columbia ($49,320 annually), Massachusetts ($49,270 annually), Hawaii ($48,840 annually) and Connecticut ($46,810 annually).

An estimated 53,000 millwrights earned around $46,000 last year installing, dismantling, or moving machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints or other drawings.

Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Michigan and Ohio ranked among the highest paying states—millwrights earned between $43,000 and $58,000 annually.

Another strong area for mechanics—and in turn, tool sellers—is elevator installations and repairs. Mechanics held roughly 21,000 positions in jobs that installed, repaired and maintained elevators, escalators, dumbwaiters and moving walkways.

Mechanics earned roughly $26 per hour, with the highest percentage earning between $20 and $32 per hour, while the lowest 10 percent of the industry earned less than $14.60 per hour, according to the National Association of Elevator Contractors in Georgia.

Job growth should remain strong with mechanics seeking employment with elevator manufacturers, wholesale distributors, elevator maintenance and repair contractors, government agencies and businesses that do their own elevator maintenance and repair.

Here are five things you can do today to tap into industrial markets to increase your customer count and add sales:

Every industry—crane operation, bridge building, train yards, you name it—has an association that serves those people who work in these fields. Simply Google “industry” plus "association," (i.e. "crane operators" plus "association" got 1.9 million results, a bit much even for the aspired tool seller). Explore the Internet and contact a few associations—most of which have local chapters and are happy to direct you to industry folks.

Check out your local city or county business license department to find out who has recently launched a business. It may take some sleuthing on your part, but it may also be well worth the effort. Here are some points to inquire:

  • Has someone recently launched a business in your route area that caters to repairs and installations in these industries?
  • Have small or mobile mechanics recently started a business catering to any of these industries?
  • Are there any large manufacturing or processing plants located in your region?

Visit your local chamber of commerce and ask similar questions, or even if any chamber members are involved in the industrial field. Chambers of commerce serve business owners like you and are there to make successful connections. They cater to businesses large and small, so don’t be afraid to approach them.

Inquire the mechanics on your route. Ask your customers about their last three jobs, and you may be surprised to learn they worked at a manufacturing facility or an HVAC repair shop prior to their current job. If talking to 250 or more mechanics about their last several jobs seems daunting, create a survey/contest, and anyone who fills out a survey can be submitted in a drawing for a prize.

The last thing you can do today is check the Yellow Pages. Create a list of potential customers, and follow up with a letter of interest along with a date you plan to contact them directly to answer any questions they may have. You may be amazed at the industrial-sized tool and equipment selling opportunities these fields have to offer.

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