At its 2018 annual conference at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, California, The Association of Independent Manufacturers’ Reps (AIM/R) revealed results of a recent survey of its member rep companies that shows the strength and progressiveness of the collective group.

Conducted by The Profit Planning Group out of Boulder, Colorado, the benchmarking survey reveals AIM/R rep companies generated $9.876 billion in total sales in 2017, making it, as AIM/R points out, the second-largest distributor of products in North America. The average annual sales per AIM/R rep agency is $33.5 million.

From the time period 2016 to 2017, AIM/R member agencies enjoyed an 8% average sales increase, the survey shows. The typical AIM/R agency represented 18 lines in 2017. Sales per line, based on survey respondents, jumped from $1.747 million in 2015 to $1.977 million in 2017.


Other survey results

The survey also reveals AIM/R rep agencies generated 50% of their revenue on average from their firm’s two largest firms, while 80% of a firm’s revenue on average based on survey results comes the five largest lines.

Eighty-eight percent of AIM/R firms have warehouses/local inventories.

AIM/R’s membership features 257 stocking rep companies with 4,300 total employees serving the industry. Of that 4,300 total, 2,175 are outside sales reps actively selling its manufacturers’ products.

The survey shows AIM/R members have been investing in growth on the talent-procurement front. Since 2015, the average number of full-time employees in an AIM/R agency has spiked from 11 to 15, while the average number of full-time salespeople has gone from 6 to 7.5. The employment of product specialists in an AIM/R agency has gone up from 12% to 28.3%, the survey notes.

AIM/R’s survey shows a typical rep office is 3,000 square feet, while 74% of reps own vehicles and 86% of agencies under the AIM/R umbrella reimburse for travel and entertainment expenses. Continuing on that front, 93% offer health benefits, while 86% offer retirement plans and 44% carry business-interruption insurance. Seventy-seven percent carry indemnity insurance and 75% have a business-continuation (or succession) plan.

The average AIM/R rep firm has been in business 44 years, while 69% of AIM/R firms are family-owned entities.


Hall of Fame inductees and awards

During the conference, AIM/R welcomed two more members to its Hall of Fame with Tom Tiernan, CPMR, and Gregg Marshall, CPMR, CSP, CMC, joining that elite group. It was revealed by AIM/R Senior Vice President of Industry and PR Brian Morgan (The Morgan Group) that Tiernan and Marshall were AIM/R’s first two reps to earn the CPMR designation.

A. O. Smith Senior Vice President-Sales Jim Margoni is the recipient of AIM/R’s prestigious Golden Eagle Award handed out each year to an individual in senior-level management of a manufacturing firm that utilizes manufacturers reps and has a proven track record in support of manufacturers reps being the most efficient, cost-effective method of going to market. Margoni follows recent winners Scott Edwards (Armacell) and Brent Noonan (Uponor).

During the conference it was revealed the 2018 AIM/R Conference will head to Walt Disney World Swan in Buena Vista, Florida, Sept. 11-14, 2019, for the 47th incarnation of the event. Bailey Sales’ Rick Root is the 2019 AIM/R president taking over for Carr Co.’s Michael Hobbs.