Thursday, August 07, 2008

Making arched top doors - part two - the hardware

One of my beefs about the commercial hardware companies I deal with is that they are often more expensive than buying things from my local Ace hardware, or one of the big box stores. Oh, they'll try to convince you their product is better. But when I see the exact item on sale at a cheaper price, it's hard to believe their argument.

So I called a couple of my suppliers, only to find that the hinges were about $100 a set. OK, these are commercial hinges, very heavy duty, but I'm not sure they're worth that price. It's not like these doors are heavy, nor are they going to receive heavy traffic. Those are two important aspects to consider when choosing hinges.

On my next trip to my local store, I found a similar two way hinge for about $16.00 each, about 34% cheaper than for what my "wholesaler" sells them.

What's up with that?

Which brings me to another topic - as a small business owner operating in this economic climate, I'm always looking to save a buck. One thing I've learned is that my suppliers are not necessarily saving me money, even though they claim wholesale prices.

I recently bough a gallon of glue - Titebond Brown Glue, which has been my adhesive of choice for many years. Every now and then, I'll get lucky and find it locally. I used to buy it in 5 gallon pails, which offers a huge savings in cost. But in this hot weather, I can't do that. So I'm back to buying it by the gallon, even though it pains me to pay more for it. So I called my "wholesaler" and ordered a gallon, and a few days later, I got the bill - $33.00 and change for a gallon.

#@(% me.

Then I checked at Rockler, and learned they were selling it for $18.99.
Learn from my mistakes - sometimes your best deal isn't with your supplier. Loyalty is a two way street. If they want my business, they need to sell things at a fair price.

Buying sandpaper is another one of those things that makes me want to scream. I can't tell you the number of sandpaper vendors that call me for an order, or send me samples, trying to get my business. I've been ordering sandpaper online for years now, saving a bundle. No, I don't own a piece of this company; I just know they're nice to deal with, they ship fast, and I can't buy sandpaper this cheap anywhere else.


Dean Mosey said...

Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only person in the world who feels this way about suppliers. I seem to be in the same boat in many ways. I recently made a substantial purchase from one of my finishing products suppliers. I have used this company's products for several decades now and was ecstatic to finally be able to order on-line since they stopped sending co. reps. around. The order came through in record time and with no screw -ups. About a week later I received a call from the company asking if I would be ordering again or if it was a one-time purchase. I asked why would I stop ordering after 30+ years of business with them. They said I hadn't used a company account number. I told them that I had in fact used the number on previous invoices and was told on-line that I needed a different acct. number. The phone rep. then informed me that since I ordered on-line and paid with a credit card, I paid "general public" prices and could have saved 30-35 percent ( which in this case amounted to approx. $170). I asked them to please check their records to verify my previous orders and could I get some sort of "consideration" in this. I was told that couldn't be done but "make sure you have an account number for next time." "Next Time" may very well be a long way down the road.

Jamie Y said...


I feel your pain.

I used to have a hardware rep that would come to my shop and hound me for orders. Then they laid him off, so I would call in my orders, no problem. I figure it's easy money for them - sales without having to pay someone to get the sales.

Now they act like I'm bothering them if I call and get prices before ordering from them.

Not sure what the answer is, but I've started buying a lot of my hardware from other sources. Like you, it may be a long time until I order from my "wholesalers" again.

Sucks. Good luck.