Bradford White Corporation has spent years honing its relationships with contractors
By Joel Davis
To succeed, manufacturers have to do more than build great products—they have to build goodwill, establishing beneficial partnerships with the contractors that buy and install their products. To do this, they look for new ways to provide the tools and resources needed to help their partners build up their own businesses.
Bradford White launched the For the Pro website in 2017 to offer marketing and practical application tools to help the professional contractors who install Bradford White products. The website is home to helpful videos to enhance contractors’ knowledge of installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance.
The website was never meant as a replacement for the in-person support the company offers contractors, said Carl Pinto, Bradford White senior director of marketing. “The success of Bradford White has always been about our relationships with contractors, especially since 1992, when, as a newly formed private company, a cornerstone of our mission was to support wholesale distribution and the professional contractor,” Pinto said. “For The Pro is an extension of that mission.”
Bradford White continues offering training in the field and at its iTEC training facility, but the addition of For The Pro allows contractors access to helpful material at any time. “We took what we were doing in the field to help professionals and used it to create something that was more broadly accessible by our customers,” he said. “We want to provide educational resources to ensure that end customers, via residential or commercial contractors, are getting the right products and that they are installed properly and safely.”
In addition, contractors can use the For The Pro website to secure product cross-reference guides, sizing applications, and product calculators to help them find the best products to meet their needs, as well as up-to-date Uniform Energy Factor ratings and state and local rebate information.
The dynamics of the industry and the needs of professional contractors are continually changing. Bradford White has found that it is important to keep the For the Pro content fresh and published at regular intervals and to introduce new concepts based on feedback.
The content in For The Pro is not just about helping contractors with the nuts and bolts of product installation. Case in point, home service business guru Ellen Rohr became a For The Pro contributor to help contractors successfully build their businesses.
Rohr is author of the Bare Bones Biz book series and franchise operations manager of Zoom Drain and Sewer. She created a business development video series, “Ellen’s Corner,” exclusively on For the Pro.
“She’s dedicated herself to helping contractors in the HVAC and plumbing and mechanical trades live their best lives,” Pinto said. “It really expands what contractors can get out of the site.”
As originally envisioned, contractors needed to register to access For the Pro content, but since that time, many of them have advocated for Bradford White to make the information more accessible. The company plans to make more content available beyond the virtual walls of For the Pro, making it accessible on other places on the internet, such as YouTube.
“Increasing access to the content benefits us all,” Pinto said. “It ensures that contractors and customers are getting the information they need, prepared by Bradford White, that represents the brand appropriately and uses best practices, in contrast to some videos and information provided by third parties.”
By providing these new videos outside the wall, so to speak, anybody who may have to work with a Bradford White product has quick access to the right information. Increasingly, contractors don't want to log on and go through an extra layer to get to that information, Pinto said.
“The contractors we work with recognize the way of the world is changing and that the accessibility of information matters. This change is representative of the spirit of For the Pro.”
Investing in Results
The investment in building relationships with contractors is critical to Bradford White’s success, said Matt Kozak, the company’s national sales manager. “For the Pro is an important piece in our success. As a company that relies on the contractors exclusively for our sales, it helps individual contractors build their business, making them more appealing to the end user and better prepared to sell and service our products.”
The industry is changing quickly, and companies such as Bradford White have to work hard to update and change content offerings to meet the evolving needs of contractors. Strengthening the partnerships between manufacturers and contractors ultimately benefits the industry as a whole.
Joel Davis is a writer with more than 20 years of journalism experience, covering business and local governments. He is the content supervisor for Maryville, Tennessee-based Ripley PR.