Cash and carry

Friday, February 29, 2008

Bernie Hamann has never been short on ideas. In the past, Hamann, owner of Lakeside Mobility & Scooter, has advertised in bathroom stalls and during Boston Red Sox games, allowed customers to sell used HME on his Web site and even put his company up for sale.
With still no buyer in January, however, Hamann was at it again. He slashed prices on wheelchairs and scooters by 25% and began asking customers to pay cash and carry.
"I just get these ideas in my head, and I say, 'Why not try them?'" Hamann said. "Hopefully, we'll get some cash sales, and we won't have to wait so long for payments."
In the middle of December, Hamann notified existing and (hopefully) new customers of the change. He still bills Medicare, but he no longer seeks out that business as much.
A "handful" of nursing-related facilities have already taken advantage of Hamann's reduced prices, he said (For example, he sells a GoGo Ultra scooter, which retails for $1,200, for $750).
If customers want anything beyond equipment, including service, they must pay for it "line item by line item," Hamann said.
Lakeside Mobility's new business model has been well received, Hamann said, even if its showroom is filled with boxes.
"You still get to see the product," Hamann said. "There's usually one of everything in front of the boxes. Customers are still happy. They're saving money."