View Full Version : Poll: Would you buy materials from a competitor?

DVS Hardscaper
08-19-2008, 11:06 PM
I can't figure this out.

Ok, as mentioned too many times, I have been doing hardscapes for 12 years now. And yes, over that course of time I have witnessed quite a bit.

And every so often an installation contractor gets this great idea to become a paver dealer. And usually....they don't make it past 2 years.

Well, now we have a contractor that is opening a store that sells hot tubs (the hot tub industry is DEAD right now), patio furniture, pavers, etc. OK, as a contractor, none of the other contractors respect him because he performs crappy work for dirt cheap.

Well now he's opening a store that is going to sell pavers!!!

No way in the world would I EVER buy anything from someone whom I am competing with. I will travel 40 miles out of my way before I ever do such.

08-19-2008, 11:17 PM
I have one actually new in the business. He is now selling versa-lok which im not a big fan of. He also opened a nursery and has a very smart girl working it from a nursey who closed down last year. I buy plants from him but the real kicker is he sends me wall jobs. I have done 3 from him this year and dont even use his product. I would like to buy from him since he sends me work but has not giving me any crap for not buying his block. I of course do very little planting and send that his way. The shrubbery i bought from him was for my own home. So now is the time to buy a hot tub?

08-19-2008, 11:21 PM
If it was considerably cheaper and the guy went out of his way to make sure of ontime deliveries, in stock product, etc.... then yeah. Otherwise, no.

Summit L & D
08-19-2008, 11:26 PM
We were buying from a local guy that grows some really nice trees. The guy is a "good 'ol boy", but in my opinion not the sharpest tool in the shed. After having a project all but signed off on, I found out that he was bidding against me (telling the client that I buy from him anyway, and would be just charging them more), I ended up not getting the work - on that job. But on the flip side, we have been in to completely re-landscape several of his projects. Most of the time the client doesn't really know what they are/are not getting until it's to late.

All that to say NO I don't think that buying from a direct competitor is a good idea.

08-20-2008, 08:10 AM
the local big guys have tried this one with Techo and the other Belgard. With mostly homeowners buying it is tough to support. after 3-4 seasons they called it quits. The big problem was customer service and price. if you don't have those things no one will buy from you.

08-21-2008, 09:49 PM
There is a fairly large wholesale nursery that I buy from when I do large installations. In the past (long before I was in the business), this company also did commercial installation work. After many years of this, they decided to get out of the installation business and focus on the nursery aspect alone because the answer from many professionals to this question is a resounding NO WAY. They felt they were turning off potential customers because they were also competitors.

DVS Hardscaper
08-21-2008, 11:13 PM
I'm surprised with the number of folks that are saying "yes".

when I first started in hardscapes (12.5 yrs ago) there were only 3 of us contractors that our community had to choose from. Well, now I can't tell you how many contractors call theirselves 'hardscapers'.

It's a competitive rat race out there. And I'm out for myself, and only myself.

I can't see providing someone whom I'm competing with to keep food on my table with ANYTHING that will enable them FINANCIAL GAIN.

08-21-2008, 11:18 PM
smack a different company name on it and sell away. we have shoemaker services in fenton who does the tipical lawn /landscape/hardscape but they also own michigan landscape supply and they sell tons of pavers every week.

08-21-2008, 11:49 PM
DVS-If it benefits you financially to buy I see NO reason not to. I have and will continue to when it benefits me.

DVS Hardscaper
08-22-2008, 08:28 AM
I'm curious how supplementing your competitors income would benefit you?

08-22-2008, 02:32 PM
If I can get materials for less than somewhere else with the same level of customer service than we are both winning. Why do I worry about their supply yard? Is their supply yard in competition with my landscaping company? No their landscaping company is my competitor. Now I'm sure you could make a million arguments both ways, so I will leave it at that.

wurkn with amish
08-22-2008, 05:49 PM
I do buy from One competitor--- and now he refers all work towards us.
There's another competitor that I won't buy from--- simple fact I don't like them!
But when I do buy its not alot.
Just remembered there's a company i JUST STARTED buying plants from, I can get them cheaper thru them and we both buy from the same wholesaler.

08-22-2008, 09:13 PM
I do buy from One competitor--- and now he refers all work towards us.

I just don't understand. How and why would they refer work to you?

The service we recieved from the supplier/installer was junk and his prices were high.

Techo-bloc is big on getting installers to become suppliers.

wurkn with amish
08-23-2008, 01:21 PM
because I left out the kicker. they are just nursery/ supplier now, who knows just form relationships with people it helps.
Like i said though.... I don't buy alot, just enough to keep them happy.

Probably doesn't work for everyone.

08-23-2008, 09:07 PM
I wouldn't even if it was cheaper, but thats just me. I wouldn't want the competitor knowing what I was up too.