The times when they took a while was for parts for ridgid machines, cables they didn't have in stock stc. Plumbing supplies they are fast at getting. But I do understand the point of your post on greasing the wheel!
My experience with Ferguson has been second rate. I still buy pipe, fitting, toilets and water heaters from them, but thats it. I now buy most service parts from Plumbmaster. (similar and related company to wolverine brass) My drain-cleaning tools I buy online from www.northstate.com or www.heavydutystore.com
Last edited by gear junkie; 06-12-2008 at 02:19 AM.
Buy cheap, buy twice.
Branch managers of a plumbing supply house wield a lot more pricing power then most people understand.
Going back to my Rule #1: Youíre a salesmen first, a tradesman second.
Branch managers get a commission, monthly, quarterly and annually base on the volume of business they bring in. It is in there best interest to bring new customers in.
Business is a relationship game first and foremost.
All give you a couple examples.
My current supplier of industrial water treatment equipment and I have been doing business with each other for about 10 years.
It all started out 10 years ago when my then, supplier jerked me around when I walked in with a $20,000.00 purchase order. Because I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to be jerked around, the day before I went over to another supplier that I knew but did not buy from. He knew my current supplier because he had worked for them years before. He told me if things went sour to see him. He did not try to sell me on his services or anything. Well things did go sour. I walked out of that vendors office with my P.O. and drove twenty miles to see this potential new supplier. I handed him the P.O. that my staff had created for XYZ supplier and his next words to me were, "when and where do you want the product delivered" No credit check, not even a credit application.
In fact too this day I have never filled out a credit application with this company. I make it a point of stopping in on occasion on a Friday afternoon with a couple cases of beer, or scotch. I have an open door policy. That means I can walk into there warehouse and do my own shopping, write up my own job ticket and walk out. No counter help, no involvement from his staff. If I need something at 2am on a Sunday morning, no problem. I have access to the building, because I have secured that type of trust.
With regards to Ferguson. In the past we buy occasionally from them, because there pricing has not been that competitive with our existing supplier. Our primary supplier has been pretty good to us.
We have been working on a very large bid since the start of the new year. The pricing has been based on my local supplier who I have been doing business with for many years. As a businessman I shopped pricing on a lot of the product and found that we were in line for the volume of business that we did.
Out of the blue we were at a project near a local Ferguson outlet. I had to go in and buy some small fittings, maybe $50.00 worth. My regular supplier who was literally two blocks away did not have the parts in stock. When I signed the invoice, I was P.O.ed because the pricing was much higher then we paid with the other supplier. The branch manager overheard me complain and came over and checked our account. He stated that we donít buy a lot from them so it was hard to justify a price discount. I countered with, "well you should at least match what I pay with XYZ company down the street. If you guys want my business you need to at least match them."
One thing led to another and this branch manager and I started BSíing for some 30minutes.
I promised him that the next big project we had come down the pike I would give him an opportunity to bid on the materials. Well that day came up and I gave him that opportunity. He sharpened his pencil and smoked the pricing on my existing supplier. I gave my existing supplier an opportunity to counter but they were to busy. So guess what the Ferguson dealer who is 20 miles away from office is going to get about $100,000 in business from us on this one project.
Vendor/Customer relations is a relationship business. When you establish that type of close relationship with your vendors, even if you donít do huge volumes of business they will treat you right.
Don't know about the HD prediction, I believe HD already gave wholesaling a try somewhere in the midwest and got their hands slapped 2 or 3 years later - had to sell out.
Until lions have their own storytellers, stories of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter
I think it's BS that I have to smooz a vendor to get a good price. How about a fair price across the board for contractors? Maybe it's my lack of tact in life that resents this relationship. Do you treat a 1st time customer badly? Of course not, my customers don't need to give me anything to give them a fair price. My price is already fair. Will I knock a couple bucks off the price for and established customer? Of course, but no sucking up is needed. Fergusons stocks crappy fittings anyway. I can buy real nibco and fernco fitting at HD for cheaper than the import knockoffs at fergusons.
Buy cheap, buy twice.
I get all my crap from my local supply house. (FW Webb) The price is competitive and usually in stock or a day away.