What do you look for in a material VENDER?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,631

    Years ago we had 2 dealers in our area that sold hardscape materials (pavers, block, etc).

    Now, we have at least 7 different companies that sell hardscape materials.

    Other than buying a product from a supplier because of the brand(s) they sell - what do you look for in a supplier?

    Do you look for good pricing?

    Do you look for a supplier that has good business ethics?

    Do you look for a supplier that can have material available on the date promised?

    Do you look for a supplier that can provide you with good job leads?

    We have a supplier in our area that sells good product...but their business ethics SUCK. They refer unlicensed contractors. This drives me up the wall. As this tells me they are more concerned with moving product, then they are with integrity and true professionalism.

    This particular supplier also will promise materials to contractors - knowing full well that they ydo not have the material in their inventory. Thus leaving contractors stranded for a day or 2.

    This year I stopped dealing with them.

    I was one of their first customers. We're licensed.

    And we do great work and our customer service is outstanding.

    Yet - they're referring contractors that are inexperienced and unlicensed. About 2 years ago I started getting upset when they were giving good referals to (2) contractors that are NOT licensed, and they were giving me the crappy referals, or none at all. I even hinted that I wasn't happy with this. I don't care if I don't get referals - but don't refer an unlicensed, inexperienced contractor over me!

    I recently was informed that this supplier has started a point system. Where the more you buy from them - the cheaper you pay. BUT......I was told by a RELIABLE source that this supplier HAS NOT made this known to their long time, faithful contractors. They have kept it a secret!

    So in Jan of 2007 I started dealing with a supplier that does very little referring. Always has material available as promised. Yes, they are slightly more expensive. We have more work than we've had in the last 3 years. And we're all happy.

    When it comes to business ethics and practices I don't play around.
  2. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Service is most important to me. My supplier gets me what i need, when i need it. That is way more important to me then saving 25 cents a sq ft on pavers.

    Personaly, i do not think dealers should refer anyone to customers.
  3. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    we have atleast 6 major suppliers, I generally deal with just 2 but it is nice to install different or new product. I'll use a supplier if the pricing is fair, they are honest and reliable, but it is nice to be recognized when you walk in and maybe get your delivery done before someone else because of your loyalty. I hate it when one contractor can buy the same product for less than another.
  4. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    I have 3 suppliers, but I really only use Travel'n Trees anymore. If he doesn't have something or can't get it that day, I will run out to my other supplier & get it. He is right up the street from me so it is very convenient. Can't beat the good service & price I pay either.
  5. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    I look more at service than any of those other factors, because if I'm left stranded for a day or two I'm losing more money than any discouted paver price. I could care less about the referals, because these are generally homeowners who are thinking about doing it themselves and are typically cluless as to what our services cost.


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