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Supply-house delivery people

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DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
What's been your experience with supply-house delivery people? Are they helpful with the heavy stuff? On time? Got stories?
Retired and loving it.

Comments

  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    Most just do the delivery at the curb ,usually they will not take any refuse no crate wood no nothing. This of course are the bigger players which I am not one and most of the smaller ones also . I deal w one supply house who’s drivers will help if your a long time customers w a decent history of paying your bills on time ,they ll help get the boiler down and the old one out and take the pallets ,cardboard and scrap but of course they are always tipped well for there help . As for the larger companies that leave it all and are always in a hurry they get what they give zippo .
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    STEVEusaPA
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Thanks, Clammy. I can see why you choose who you do. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
    edited June 2022
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    My neighbor had a fridge delivered yesterday. Two guys arrived with it, brought it into the house, installed it, and took the old one. That business model got me thinking. What if the supply house sent two people -one to stay with the truck and the other to give you a hand getting the stuff in. 

    Would you favor that supply house?
    Retired and loving it.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,940
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    In the case of the fridge you usually pay extra for that service which seems reasonable for a supply house, if you are a crew too small to move it, you order that service with the equipment in the same way you order it with the appliance.
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    Cast iron bathtubs and boilers and china toilets; always a problem to get these moved around because many plumbers are small as we have to fit into tiny crawlspaces. I used to hire moving companies to place and remove large, heavy objects like 8' x 8' fiberglass bathtubs. That's one part of plumbing I don't miss.
    My local supply house will remove and replace water heaters for us. I would choose them over another supplier that doesn't.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Yes, and the person isn’t going to help with the installation, just the carrying. I think it would be a great feature for the supply house to offer. The contractor can keep working. The person on the truck is his momentary helper. 

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Great point about size, Alan. Thanks!
    Retired and loving it.
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 506
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      We have an exceptional delivery man where I buy. Johnny takes as much time as needed to move boilers, tubs, toilets, & stone lined indirects into place; including basements.
        He removes & disposes of the old equipment, too. I do tip well depending on the degree of difficulty, and don't mind paying that suppliers higher prices; typically 2 - 3%.......
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Thanks, @MikeL_2. Johnny sounds like a gem. What state are you in?
    Retired and loving it.
  • heatdoc1
    heatdoc1 Member Posts: 14
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    I think it's a great idea but would the supply house have to take on extra compensation and liability insurance? hate to have to think that way but that's the world we live in.
    John Ringel
    Senior Technical Support Specialist
    Energy Kinetics
    GGrossGroundUp
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    From the beginning of time (for me at least) The family business used to purchase all the boilers form Columbia. As I recall from my last Columbia boiler, they still send 2 on the delivery truck and will put it in the basement for you. And the driver and helper will scrap the old boiler (within reason) take the crate and all this is for a small fee. Well worth the fee for a small outfit or a company that does not want to place too much manpower on the job site just to wait for the delivery truck to arrive!

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    realliveplumber
  • meerkat
    meerkat Member Posts: 35
    edited June 2022
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    Speaking as a homeowner who has done multiple reno jobs + a new build, my experience has been with a large local supply house chain whose delivery MO was to back the truck up to an open garage door and ask "where's the plumber to help me unload." Materials would go into the garage but no further.
    We had a full bathroom reno delivery, including Choreograph shower panels and sliding doors, 3 years ago and both myself and my plumber made it clear in advance that it was a materials delivery only, well in advance of installation and that there would be no crew on site. Naturally they sent only the driver, who refused to unload anything at all without help and was prepared to just leave. Luckily, the heating tech we were using at that time arrived to do a burner tune-up and offered to help the supply house driver unload. Otherwise all the materials, some of which had been on back-order for 4 months, would have stayed on the truck.
    That local supply house chain was bought out by Ferguson a couple of years ago and so I have no idea whether their delivery practices have changed.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    @meerkat, it’s no wonder those owners are now gone. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Good point, @heatdoc1. Thanks. And @EdTheHeaterMan, that’s a great company that thinks like that. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 506
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    Thanks, @MikeL_2. Johnny sounds like a gem. What state are you in?
    I'm in Connecticut, Dan.
       
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    From a wholesale point of view I like it when our driver is able to move equipment into the jobsite and unpack it with the customer. It's nice to have someone there for the unboxing so to speak, we had lots of damaged goods this year and that really helped us to rule out jobsite damages.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Another benefit! Thanks. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • realliveplumber
    realliveplumber Member Posts: 354
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    The last Columbia Steel steam boiler that I ordered, they sent 3 guys in the truck, and they got it into the boiler room of the commercial plant we were installing it in. They had a homemade nipple, with a loop welded on it, in the truck to get it on the dock (with the customers forklift. )

    They didnt let that out of their sight.
    STEVEusaPACLambmattmia2
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    That is terrific! Thanks for sharing. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,829
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    46 years and I never saw a supply house do much more than drop it at the curb. Even with a commercial boiler with many sections the driver might help get it off the truck (reluctantly).

    I did here stories in my early days about how they (supply house) put residential boilers in the basement.

    I would think liability would be an issue. A "he said, she said" after the boiler got dropped or someone got hurt
    PC7060
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,955
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    When I was working commercial, we always dealt with the same 3 big name suppliers. Depending on the job location, there were maybe 20 different drivers I had the pleasure of taking deliveries from. 2 of which would help by taking the smaller boxes off the truck and setting them near the back, the rest would only leave the cab if they needed to pull straps from pipe bundles. A few years back when I started doing residential, I found a more local supplier who I found out later would deliver to my shop 60 miles away for free (maybe not today, but soon). I'm very seldom at the shop, but these gentlemen know my door code and will go so far as to even place the items on my shelf. A few weeks ago, I came home to seven Lochinvar and four Electro boilers neatly stacked on my pallet racking in order from smallest to largest with each PO taped squarely in the top left corner of the box. I haven't even checked pricing elsewhere in probably 2 years simply due to the hospitaility that I receive from them.
    ratioPC7060STEVEusaPACLamb
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Beautiful.
    Retired and loving it.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,467
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    A wholesaler I know in Chicago uses Uber to deliver most anything. Keeps their trucks and drivers from being tied up in city traffic all day.
    The ap let’s you know where they are, take the elevator down and meet them on the street or at the door as they are pulling up.
    30- 60 bucks, can’t put a truck on the road for that! They will take a mod con boiler across Chicago :smile:
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    PC7060realliveplumber
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Nice!
    Retired and loving it.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,940
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    I would think liability would be an issue. A "he said, she said" after the boiler got dropped or someone got hurt

    Or went through the stairs.
    PC7060
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 891
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    I have run into different companies equals different drivers, which translates to different service. But mostly all of them will help when you tip them. Its amazing how far a 20 dollar tip goes. Seems a little silly to pay a mark up at the wholesaler and have to tip but for me being a one man band, its nice to get the equipment in the basement with help some days. I had one driver show me on the invoice that he isn't allowed to deliver into the house, insurance wouldn't cover it. I agreed and moved on. The supply houses are struggling to keep good staff, usually the driver isn't the strongest link in the chain, but when he is, its good for us.
    Tom
    Montpelier Vt
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Well said, Tom. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,949
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    I always take care of my delivery drivers. 5 - $10 goes a long way. They can leave parts on the front porch, but they wall them to the barn in the back. Working in several brewery's I get a lot of beer that gets split with the supply houses. That also helps.
    When my wife or daughter pick up parts someone always carries them out and loads them into the car.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Kindness and consideration for others goes a long way. Thanks!
    Retired and loving it.
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 506
    edited July 2022
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        I would hope supply house owners recognize that their delivery people need to be a strong link, not a weak one. 
          They drive equipment that can easily cost 6 figures to purchase,  maintain & operate, and, they handle millions of dollars worth of goods yearly. They are also their companies job site representatives.
       Driving & delivering should be a career with excellent pay & benefits, and good drivers should have an on board helper just like skilled trade apprenticeships...........
    GroundUp
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Great points, Mike! Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    This sounds like Market Research!

    I thought @DanHolohan was retired.

    Like many, you just can't keep a good man down.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Thanks!  They’re reading this. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,829
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    Unfortunately, drivers are looked down on.

    I worked full time at an oil company doing installation & service (my first job out of school) and only drove the oil truck if they got behind in the winter or if one of the drivers was out sick which was pretty rare

    The owners didn't think much of drivers and when a few of the older ones retired they hired anyone with a license because "anyone can deliver oil"

    Once the new drivers had a few accidents (hitting a school bus!!, no one got hurt) and a few oil spills they changed their tune.

    Unfortunately for me I delivered a lot of oil for 6 weeks or so while these donkeys got fired and new drivers were hired and trained.........by me.

    An oil driver can make a big mess in a hurry if he or she doesn't have their wits about them
    mattmia2GGrossEdTheHeaterMan
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    You ain’t kidding. 
    Retired and loving it.
    EdTheHeaterMan