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supplyhouse.com

heidleml
heidleml Member Posts: 34
A customer of mine ordered a few Taco sweat checks from supplyhouse.com at a significanly lower cost then what I can purchase them for at my local HVAC supply house. I was wondering what the professionals out there think of this business model for supply houses and if anyone has used this site to lower costs.
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Comments

  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
    I was reluctant to use them at first but everything Hat said is true. They readily stock a lot of things that I can't get locally.
    Steve Minnich
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    If they had a warehouse west of the Mississippi...
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Well said @Ironman . This is the problem with all business. Mom and Pops leaving the face of the earth do to big box stores, and Internet commerce.
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
    edited January 2016
    I agree with that Bob without contradicting myself. I use them for Hydro-Claws for tanks or some other oddball things that I need right now and it would take 4-5 days to get through my local guys.
    supplyhouse.com usually has it delivered next day.
    Steve Minnich
    jonny88
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,447
    Mom and pop stores I liked.
    But they're already long gone here thanks to Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot etc all of which carry high priced garbage and no one to help you even if you need help.

    I don't typically bother with plumbing supplies unless I have to because as a homeowner I'm usually treated like garbage.

    Supplyhouse.com is not the death of mom and pop stores, that already happened 10-20 years ago.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,347
    I'm thinking right now of a local electric supply house that's been in the family for 50+ years and was the largest supplier of Square D in the Shenandoah Valley. I've known the owner and his family for years, but he can't compete with Lowes on the cost of romex and electric panels. Since the bust of construction, his business has continued to fall off to the point he's going out because too many contractors will run over to the big box store to save $4 on a roll of 14/2. Wait til they need a 3 pole breaker or a commercial panel and see what the big boxe store will do for them then.

    So many contractors are poor businessmen. They're penny wise and pound foolish.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Rich_49
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    And probably spend the 4 dollars saved in gas to get there.
    Rich_49ChrisJZman
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    I hate to say it, but I have used them a few times for pex fittings and couple other items. It is nice just having stuff show up on your front door and not running to 3 different supply houses.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    Not heating related, bit I think still relevant.....I had ordered some appliance parts from a local supply house. Just for the heck of it, I went online to one of the internet suppliers. The total with shipping was less than 1/2 the cost. I hated to do it, but called the guy back, and told him he would have to do something or I would cancel the order. I went item by item with him. Some items, he said were cheaper than what he could get them for. In the end, the bill came to within a few dollars of the internet price. He made a sale, and profit, but what's wrong with the picture? The internet has been around long enough. These companies have got realize that they can't beat e-commerce. They must join the movement, or go under. Price gouging the few walk-in customers you might get a day, is a sure way to close the doors.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    I probably spend as much at Amazon as most others but I do realize the corner store has a lt higher overhead than Amazon does. How long do you think the prices will stay low when all the little shops are forced under?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    They don't have to be forced under, but they have to change. They have to sell on the internet also. E-commerce places, like RockAuto.com don't maintain huge warehouses. If you order 6 items from them, they may come from 6 different locations, and none of them are owned by RockAuto. They are just arranging to have the part drop-shipped to you, and taking a piece of the action.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,914
    I am somewhat ambivalent on all this. On the one hand, I like to patronize -- and do -- my local stores and supply places (both big box and specialty!). That said, however, until very recently the only plumbing supply place within driving distance refused to sell anything to someone who wasn't a licensed practicing plumber -- whether it was plumbing fittings, faucets, bathroom toilet paper holders or whatever. They were... well, shall we say impolite? to anyone else.

    Oddly enough, they have gone out of business.

    Recently another supply house (Plimpton & Hills) has come into the area, and they will sell to people such as myself (you do have to know what to ask for, within limits) and are very helpful and accommodating.

    There is no electrical supply house within a reasonable distance.

    So -- bottom line, I'll shop local when the store exists and when the store is willing to sell to me. Otherwise, the internet is the way to go.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    When I was working in Watertown, MA I used to use Watertown Plumbing Supply, I used them mostly for special projects around the plant. They were knowledgeable and willing to deal with homeowners, plumbers, and industry (we had an account with them for over 30 years).

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    I have to say I use Supplyhouse.com as well but I also use a local plumbing supplier. About a 50/50 split. I like being able to go to Supplyhouse and looking at/considering my options on some items. I like the fact they have spec sheets on most items. Not many local suppliers have the staff that can spend that kind of time with you. Anyway, if the price is within a few dollars and the local has it on hand, I buy there. If there is a significant price difference or they have to order what I want, I go with Supplyhouse.com.
    jonny88
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 880
    I definitely use them, they are a 2 day ground delivery for me. A couple nice parts about my local wholesaler: My sales tax gets taken out at the counter, I don't have to think about it anymore. The other is at 9 pm when I need a boiler part I can get it.
    Sadly both of those things are easily remedied, ship the part overnight and keep track of the sales tax weekly. There are many more good things but not a lot else that supplyhouse isn't doing.

    I like having relationships with my wholesalers and if it was 4 dollars more each time I would suck it up, but typically we are talking 15 and even 20% more on some items. Supplyhouse also allows me to buy american fittings. I have had only a couple errors through them and they have been my fault. I bought a 220V condensate pump!! Didn't even stop to look, never knew they came in 220!! All in all I don't know if the brick and mortars will be collapsing but if I was them I would do my best to get online, if only to try to maintain the customer base they have now. Perhaps they can allow us to order online save a few dollars on items that we buy a week or two out and not have to bother their counter help.
    Tom
    Montpelier Vt
  • Condoman
    Condoman Member Posts: 91
    I agree with ChrisJ. I do stuff for myself, family and a few friends. If you do not run up big business dollars at the supply houses they hose you on price for the one trip you must make and they are even condescending.

    I like the prices and service at supplyhouse.com.

    Another good supplier is zoro.com owned by Grainger. Same (Honeywell L4006A2114 stat) item is $25 less at Zoro.
  • Condoman
    Condoman Member Posts: 91
    I agree with ChrisJ. I do stuff for myself, family and a few friends. If you do not run up big business dollars at the supply houses they hose you on price for the one trip you must make and they are even condescending.

    I like the prices and service at supplyhouse.com.

    Another good supplier is zoro.com owned by Grainger. Same (Honeywell L4006A2114 stat) item is $25 less at Zoro.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,506
    Supply houses are going to have to come around, maybe even have an online kiosk in the building.
    I do like the supply houses better, but I will admit online is sometimes easier. Regarding zoro. I bought a pipe threader last year. Went to Grainger (1 mile away), showed them the zoro price, they wouldn't/couldn't match it (it was $600.00 cheaper). Bought it from zoro. It was shipped 2 days later, from the same Grainger to my shop.
    I also like the Webstone valves. Most supply houses around here don't stock many. If I need one, they will order it, at full retail price, and over charge me shipping, and have it in 3-4 days. If I order it online, it's about 20% cheaper, free shipping, get it in 2 days.
    How much longer until Amazon drones are flying parts to the job?
    steve
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Condoman how do you pronounce your name?????
    I am coming around to see the benefits of SupplyHouse.I think in the profession though we still need our local guys but boy do they have to change their ways.First Depot now Supplyhouse.Its a tough one as you build up a report with your local guy and then start using online.But after going through invoices from my local guy over a couple of months I saw big differences in a lot of items which I now have to waste time on fighting,Click of the button and you have all the info right there at a good price.Hard to beat.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    @Chrisj I have seen where homeowners get treated like crap even though a lot are more knowledgeable than the counter guy or the plumber who is online.They have to change with the times.I believe there is room for the two.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    jonny88. Are you saying your ok with homeowners buying their own parts?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,697
    I personally do my best to use the local people. When I did my boiler the local guy was 40% higher than supplyhouse.com. Now I don't have an issue paying more to the local guy, but not 40%. I gave them a chance to improve the price, and their response was essentially nothing. I replied to their quote with a mention of price and the errors they made on the quote and I couldn't buy from they unless they did better, the response "OK". That's it, nothing more. So I went to supplyhouse.com. I should also say that in my area, this is a plumbing supply house issue only. Every one else local is cheaper than big box and some will price match (electric supplier). I can buy electric equipment cheaper from my local supplier than big box, the lumber yard is WAY cheaper than big box and has FREE delivery no matter what size the order is. I do use big box when the local guy is closed (Sundays and after hours), but I try and use local as much as I can. That is as said except for plumbing, they seem to be out in left field and not keeping up with the times.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    unclejohn yes I am saying that.On another note a GC can go to a supplyhouse,without a permit will do his own plumbing and get all the help he needs.I know a GC who has more material than me.I do think there is room for both.I hate to see the small guys go out of business but they have to do what they have to do,
    ChrisJHatterasguy
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Buyer beware... I have NEVER supported the internet wholesale scheme. I have to ask myself, will someone from the internet come to the job site to help me move a large tank or boiler into place? Or help me troubleshoot one of those oddball issues that always seems to pop up at the worst time?

    I don't think so.

    Also, when dealing with some critical items (boilers for example) I am aware of some manufacturers who will not honor their warranty if the product is purchased off the internet, and their reps will not provide factory support in regards to same. Here is the policy from the internet supplier.

    Replacing Items Under Manufacturer Warranty

    SupplyHouse.com honors all manufacturer warranties for our products. If you are experiencing an issue with a product purchased through SupplyHouse.com that is still covered by a valid manufacturer's warranty, please contact a Customer Service Representative. SupplyHouse.com will advise you of the next steps for getting your replacement as fast as possible. In some cases this will require you to troubleshoot the issue with the manufacturer directly to obtain a case or claim number. (HEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM) Because of the nature of warranty claims, this process can sometimes take several business days. We will do everything we can to minimize the wait and resolve your issue.

    In many cases, larger items that are malfunctioning will not be eligible for a whole unit exchange; examples inlcude boilers, water heaters , and air conditioning units. Warranty policies for such items typically cover parts only and labor costs are rarely covered. Most manufacturer warranties will allow for replacement only. Items are generally not eligible to return for credit. Customers are responsible for the shipping costs to send the warranty item back to us and SupplyHouse.com will pay the shipping costs to send out the replacement.

    END COPIED STATEMENT

    For inanimate objects like pipe, valves, fittings etc., probably makes no big deal, UNLESS you have a failure issue that turns into an insurance claim, and then all hell breaks loose.

    The other real issue I have is with unqualified people having access to items that can kill or maim occupants of buildings. We see examples EVERY day of what these weekend warriors can do, given an opportunity. If I offended you ( DIYers), suck it up butter cup. Protection of my customers health is first and foremost, and I have been properly trained, licensed and insured to perform my work.

    This is one area that the manufacturers have a love hate relationship with. They love the increased sales, but hate the warranty returns due to the major lack of knowledge from the end users purchasing their goods. I am aware of at least one major boiler manufacturer who when they find out who it is that is selling their product to the internet peddlers will terminate their relationship with that supplier.

    After the product leaves their dock, there is normally a chain of custody that is specifically tracked for legal and warranty reasons. When their products enter the internet market, that chain is broken, and you are stuck with no support, regardless of the reason for failure.

    Buyer beware....

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
    GordyIronmanSWEIZman
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,447
    edited January 2016
    unclejohn said:

    jonny88. Are you saying your ok with homeowners buying their own parts?

    *You're.

    Us homeowner's don't mind helping others.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    BigRob
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,914
    Mark -- you make some good points. In particular, I rather agree with you about your comment concerning unqualified people. The problem is how to determine who is qualified? You can't go by the license -- we have all seen some pretty horrible things done by licensed people and, unfortunately, it's not that uncommon. The local supply house usually does do that -- but in most cases (not all!) the counterman is even more clueless than the homeowner coming in, if he were allowed in (there are exceptions: the guys at my local supply house are knowledgeable and friendly and helpful to all who enter, licensed or not).

    One approach, of course, is to substantially stiffen the requirements for getting a license, and then to enforce -- internationally -- a requirement that the purchaser of an item must show their license for each purchase. This would be very lucrative for those few who could actually manage to get a license. I'm not sure it would be all that popular with the general public; the wait to get a faucet repaired (at least in my area) would stretch to years...

    Another approach, which would also require some real upgrading of training, would be to require that certain things which are safety of life (not property) must be signed off by a qualified inspector before they can be placed in operation. Again, a lovely idea. Again, in my area there are perhaps 4 people who I would regard as genuinely qualified to pass on such things.

    I don't have a good answer; the topic is very very complex. I do know that limiting access to parts to only licensed people just isn't going to fly.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    I'm not sure I would buy a boiler, ductless split, or any other products like this online. Not a fan of that.
    Long story but my friends brother did that with a ductless split and it didn't turn out to well for him.
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
    edited January 2016
    When I go into a supply house, I have an expectation that I'll get in and get out in a reasonably short time. Sometimes they're 8 deep at the counter and there's just no getting around that. There have been times where I've been held up by a DIY trying to explain an 1 1/4" x 1" x 1 1/4" cast iron tee, to the point of drawing pictures. The counterman is doing his best to explain to him that he's not going to be able to sell it to him anyway but the DIY is just being pushy and persistent. I have zero patience for that. I have a schedule and customers to keep happy. In my eyes, its about respecting the way a supply house chooses to do business and there's usually a sign right on the entrance door for all to read.

    Was my grammar ok?
    Steve Minnich
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    Do we need to start posting pics of boilers, installed by licensed professionals. Would these same manufacturers honor the warranty on a boiler that was butchered on installation by a licensed pro?
    ChrisJHilly
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
    No, they don't.
    Steve Minnich
    ChrisJ
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
    I just bid on another boiler re-pipe where a "licensed pro" installed a high end mod con less than a year ago. The homeowner was concerned that it would void the warranty if I made changes.
    So I went to the manufacturer with pics of the install and a diagram of my suggested changes. They agreed 100% that anything on that boiler would not be warrantied as is but would be with my changes.
    The original contractor would void his warranty but who cares?
    Steve Minnich
    ChrisJ
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,676
    Everyone is guilty of talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to business. I've seen double standards with our old school distribution process with my own eyes. It's a bit like politics, someone will scold you sooner or later if you don't agree with their business model.

    If you're a beginner and need more technical help, some of the vendors have some smart people. As the contractor begins to master his/her craft, that need becomes less (one can get all the info they need from the manufacturer reps). So, if you don’t require the skills of a guy sitting at the local vendor making 70g a year, do you really want to pay that overhead?  Maybe yes, maybe no.

    My business model has shifted many times over the years. We stopped doing the stuff "everyone can do". Positively no money to be made,  just headaches. If it's a good customer, of course we go tale care of it. A new caller, "I'm sorry we don't have a technician available for that right now. " I understand many would disagree with my philosophy on that. How does one become a good customer? Buy a heating or cooling system from us and help us maintain a good relationship.

    I love it when my local supplier tells me, I "won't get credit on a warranty part until the manufacturer give them the credit". They are essentially asking me to diversity my portfolio. A competing wholesaler writes credits on the spot.

    Time changes, just ponder how many businesses models have been squashed over time. No more horse buggy wheel repair. No more mom and pop auto parts stores. No more dingy Harley Davidson shops. Sooner or later it will get our industry.

    For the guy without any inventory this online vendor model is less than ideal. The shops with stuff on their shelves can, will, and do save dough with these online suppliers.

    The same is true for many industries. I buy most of my motorcycle parts online (dirt bikes = parts, materials, gear needed)...the local vendor doesn't stock much and I have to pay for the part to be odered, then I need to drive to pick the stuff up. When I order stuff from the online vendors, and it doesn't fit well, they pay to return/exchange it.

    Look at LL Bean, same thing, they pay to return it.

    Supplyhouse.com is so easy to buy from. No more waiting to talk to someone who had a clue at the supply house. One vendor I deal with....I swear they think they're doing me a favor by accepting my business.

    Or, go ahead, fight the change, it's ok
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    @ME warranty claims with the large companies are a pain in the **** and most supply houses wont deal with it,they leave you out to dry with the rep.I have had this happen in the last year 3 times and wont name companies.One boiler blew the top of the HX.Rep came,not supply house who sold item.Rep talked outside on the phone for 5mins and returned and told us a new boiler would be provided.1 month later no boiler.They changed their minds through the chain of command and want all forms submitted etc which is fine but dont say your getting a boiler straight away.Where was the supply house-no where.To involved to deal with warranty claims.Now we have an irate customer and you know the rest of the story,not a knock on the supply house but in my experience they will not back you up unless you are a large customer etc.
  • Condoman
    Condoman Member Posts: 91
    Jonny88: I used to live in a Condo and got tagged with the nick name Condoman because all the thing I would do in and for the community.

    The internet suppliers must be filling a void or they would be out of business. I think there is room for both models in the business.

    When I did my addition in 2012 everything was by permit. I did the heating, electric and water supply side. I hired a licensed plumber for the waste side because I was not sure of what parts I would need and it needed to be to code that I did not know or want to explore.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    The void the Internet suppliers are filling is mostly DIY, and the wallet. with much less overhead. If you have a local supply house manned with no customers that's money out to overhead with no profit.

    An Internet supplier hits a much broader regional customer base. I'm sure a day does not go by with out product being moved.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,347
    This reminds me of another scenario: I'm required to have an EPA certification to purchase refrigerant or refrigerant bearing equipment that has connections to the refrigerant circuit, but there are Internet supply houses that will sell and ship the same equipment to unlicensed homeowners and DYIers if they simply state that they will have a licensed tech install it. What's wrong with this picture? Where's the EPA in dealing with this kind of flagrant violation of their regulations?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Gordy
  • RJMCTAFO
    RJMCTAFO Member Posts: 113
    The void they fill for me is primarily an availability of products that i can not get local. Gorton vents mainly but I have found myself using them for some reducing fittings that nobody wants to carry. The places around here like to carry straight fittings and then bush down. Drives me crazy.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    I haven't used Internet supply ever, prefer to support local wholesalers, to get what I need. For the most part they are there for me as well.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited January 2016
    I've used supplyhouse and I'm a big fan of my local suppliers, but I have to admit, my suppliers need to step up their game when it comes to competing with internet suppliers. Like @Stephen Minnich said, if I'm picking something up at my local suppliers, I expect to be in and out in minutes. Which is why I always try to call in my order and pick it up at will call. Helps me avoid the lines when DIYers are in there. My suppliers used to avoid selling to DIYers but I think market forces have driven them to start selling to them. I don't have an issue with that except when it delays me getting in and out. I'll use supplyhouse when I just need to replenish some of my usual inventory of stuff I use all the time, but when it comes to getting material for a specific job, I'll hit my suppliers.