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The picture?

It’s the spinner on the propeller on my airplane. You can see the propeller on the upper left. It guides the air into the cooling intakes in the cowling (the engine is air cooled.) Thanks for asking.

Nearly $7,000 in claims on their way into the loving arms of the manufacturers and/or auditors in what was just about two days of work this week. Lot’s of circulars came in this week so next week should be pretty good, too.


Make it Easy on Yourself

Make it easier to physically do the work. For one of our local customers we use an actual old carton for this step. When your ad invoices arrive drop copies of them in the box. As tearsheets and other materials come in they go in the box, too. Once you’ve accumulated all the information you need you can get to work.

We do the electronic ads first because if they name more than one product we have to apply a certain amount of subjective reasoning to how much we bill to which vendors so it can be the slowest part of the process. It’s relatively downhill after this.

We take the newspapers and separate them by title: Daily Bugle in this pile, Hometown Ledger in that. We put a copy of the invoice with the papers and we’re well on our way with the display ads.

For flyers, we total up the printing, production and distribution costs and get started measuring. Don’t forget to deduct from the total area the small but legitimate space for your logo, location and that information that has to be there.

For everything else like outdoor, wearable’s, music-on-hold and web ads we apply basically the same math that we do for all the electronics. Be aggressive but fair.

We can run through these steps pretty fast because we have four tables and two copiers and we do it all day long, but you can do what we do in the conference room or on a large desk.

File Claims for Everything!

File claims for everything. We joke about filing claims for geraniums and crushed gravel; but we really have done it. You never know who is going to send you a check, whether they have an actual written plan or not, whether they’re in a co-op directory or not. (We got one of our stores $25 from a manufacturer that probably had never even had a claim filed with them before.) Even if there is no plan or reimbursement, it could well move you to the front of the line for scarce product or some other favorable treatment. And $25 may not sound like a lot but if you put it in the context of, say, a couple of quarts of Ben and Jerry’s and a 6-pack of Sam Adams it starts to make sense. And if you hit a couple of those a month it adds up over the course of a year.

It’s your money. Don’t just leave it there!

For the record, Co-op Cash Back Systems prepares and files claims for you. Call 508 643 1000 to see how to get set up.

Your Claim Form

When you file your co-op claim use a claim form that includes all the information the manufacturer will need to check your accruals and send you your reimbursement. Make it easy for the vendor to transfer the information to their in-house claim form if they use one. Include phone numbers, store locations, account numbers, rep name. If the claims auditor has to work too hard to find your account information it can mean that your claim gets set aside in favor of easier work for them to handle and could put you out of this month’s reimbursement cycle and hold up your money. There’s a copy of an old one on our website that you’re free to copy and adjust to your own company.

No manufacturer wants to find a copy of their form and an envelope and address it and stamp it and run it to the out basket, if they can just sit there and quickly and easily copy your information. Or at least they shouldn’t.

Measure ALL your print ads

We measure all the ads horizontally, write down the numbers and go back and measure all the ads vertically. That way we have measurements for all the ads. If we missed one going one way, chances are we’ll catch it going the other and can be sure it gets claimed.

If you measure horizontally Products 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. Vertically you measure all the ads and realize that you missed Product 4.

Goes to our Ruthless Aggression model of filing claims for people and an attitude you should take, too, if you’re in charge of filing co-op ad claims.

If you don’t want to do it yourself, call Co-op Cash Back Systems or hit

How many co-op plans are there these days?

We don’t know how many co-op ad programs there are, but comparing two of the directories that we use from 2005 and 2008 respectively there are 800 pages in 2008 and 865 in the 2005. So there could be a few less programs or it could just be that the formats of the directories changed from one year to the next or that companies merged and two co-op plans became one or, of course, the ever popular smaller font so the publisher has to print fewer pages.

Good morning!

Good morning!

Co-op Cash Back Systems works for retailers and distributors preparing and filing their co-op ad claims.  We’ve successfully claimed millions of dollars.  Typically, we work in the Hardware/Lumber categories.  I’ll tell you some of the ideas that we’ve had over the years that will make it easier for you to file your co-op ad claims, keep track of your recievables and get more money back.  Some of it is work process, some is to help standardize what we’re all doing, some is philosophy.  All of it is to help you get all the reimbursements you can get.

We play by a couple of rules

Caveat #1 is that it has to be a good deal for everybody; manufacturer and retailer.

Caveat #2 is that whatever I tell you about co-op, there will be an exception.  If I say you can be reimbursed by check, credit memo or product, someone can always come up with “Well, my guy prints my bags.” or “I get a free lunch!”  Sure.  Good.  But those are the kind of reimbursements that we don’t see so we don’t know about them, can’t see them and can’t add them to your reimbursements report.

There’s always an exception to anything I say about co-op.

Btw, our website is


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