I’ve noticed an alarming trend that the Great Recession seems to have accelerated – many equipment suppliers are marketing themselves as also consultants and designers of potential buyers’ family entertainment centers (FECs). Two recent prospects we have had discussions with sent us their FEC designs prepared by equipment suppliers had. Would you be amazed that in both instances all the attractions in the FEC designs were attractions sold by that particular supplier?
Business has slowed down for many FEC suppliers, as fewer centers are being built. Apparently as a way to try to generate business and get sales, many suppliers are claiming they can help their prospects by also designing their FECs, saving them money. Even scarier is that prospective FEC developers are buying into this.
Suppliers are experts in the equipment they sell. That does not translate into being experts on what the mix or design of an FEC should be, or even if the FEC is feasible. Do you think a supplier would tell a prospect that its offerings are not appropriate for the mix? Or tell them the FEC is probably not feasible? There are a rare few extremely ethical ones who would, but the vast majority are hungry for sales, so they put their self-interest ahead of that of the buyer. Rarely is the failure of an FEC attributed to any particular attraction, so the supplier makes the sale and doesn’t get any black marks if the advise was off the mark. Only the FEC owner suffers.
You only get what you pay for. Free or even fee-based advise and designs from a supplier will only get you very biased advise, that if followed, could get you in deep doo-doo. You shouldn’t use a supplier as a consultant or designer any more than you should hire a consultant or designer who also sells equipment or receives commissions or takes kickbacks from suppliers.