Air filters, the logistics behind them, and why it should matter to you

When searching for home air filters online, you will likely come across any number of articles explaining why you need to change your air filter regularly. Common topics you might encounter include how to lower your energy bill, keep your kids' allergies at bay, or to keep your furnace from wearing out prematurely. All of these ideas are important, and like it or not, filtration is a crucial part of our modern-day existence. Here at AirFilterBuy, we want you to understand the value proposition that we offer as well as why we are able to offer selection, service levels, and pricing that are unmatched by any of our competitors.

As crazy as it may sound, at our core we are a logistics company. Now, any company that is in the business of eCommerce (or really any modern-day movement of hard goods) can probably make the same argument. However, when you are largely in the business of transporting air, it becomes even more important. Wait, you thought that we sold air filters, not air itself? The fact of the matter is that, by and large, any box containing a case of air filters is bulky and made up largely of air itself.

You see, the actual cost of an air filter (even a pleated filter, which is our specialty) is surprisingly low. While the manufacturing process is still rather labor-intensive by modern day standards, even the cost of labor in the actual making of a standard filter is relatively small. Every time that filter touches another persons hands or is transported to a different location, however, the cost of that filter rises substantially.

Think of the life cycle of one of our competitors, 3M Filtrete. It is manufactured just over the border in Mexico (likely neatly circumventing any U.S. labor laws), then next transported to both 3M distribution centers as well as directly to the distribution centers of its major customers, such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot. Once the filter arrives at that distribution center, it has to be reloaded and shipped to the individual stores.

Now, the big box stores are incredibly efficient at their inventory distribution. However, our story doesn't stop there. Filters are bulky (they're mostly made up of air, remember!) and take up a lot of shelf space. The cost (or rather, opportunity cost) of that shelf space for a store is meaningful. A Home Depot probably makes as much revenue in one day (or likely more) from the sell of  just one designer kitchen sink as it does from all of the air filters sold in that same day, even though the air filter aisle takes up 100 times more floor space.

While until now we have largely been operating in what I would call 'test' or 'beta' mode, the feedback that I often hear from our new customers is that they had been searching for that hard-to-find size replacement for their furnace or air conditioning unit, and could not believe they finally found it from us at a reasonable price.

At AirFilterBuy, we have over 100,000 square feet (and growing) of manufacturing and distribution facilities dedicated directly to making the products that we sell. Once that product is made, it is sent directly to you, the end user or wholesale installer (more on our wholesale offerings to come). There are no middle distribution points, no wholesale middlemen, no additional transportation or handling costs that need to be baked into the price before that product is sold. This allows us to pass on this savings to YOU our customer.

To manage this and to do it efficiently is not easy, and in fact takes a world-class technology team to support and build it. This is what we have been working on for the past year, and we are now ready to open up for everyone to benefit.

We believe in transparency and are committed to an open dialog with our customers, as well as continued communication about our mission on this blog. Over the weeks and months ahead, we are going to be writing more about our mission as well as our offerings. These include:

  • A commitment to 100% USA Made products, when and where feasible

  • A partnership to provide long term sustainable jobs to a disabled workforce

  • An extensive wholesale offering for HVAC installers that are looking for a better, more efficient, way to purchase and not have to stock inventory

  • Unparalleled selection and pricing

  • Addition of humidifier filter and automotive filter lines

  • Directory listings of local HVAC service providers

  • Initial talks about opening up our platform to third-party drop-shippers that fit within the AirFilterBuy philosophy

As always, we value YOUR feedback and are open to any suggestions that  you have for how we can improve.

Air filters may not be the most compelling product in the World, but they are an incredibly important component of our modern day existence. We just want to make that component of your life more efficient and affordable. Thank you for being our customer.