Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

How do you prefer to contact your suppliers nowadays?

DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,545
edited March 2023 in THE MAIN WALL
By phone, email, in-person, website? What works best for you nowadays?
Retired and loving it.


  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 611
    edited March 2023
    Exclusively e-mail and website. Preferably website/app.

    No person contact, access to pricing and inventory levels. 
    There are not that many distributors/suppliers capable of that. Supplyhouse.com and Ferguson are probably the top two in regards to this. On a distributor level, Matco-Norca recently revamped and I am now able to check pricing and stock live. 
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,888
    Electronically mostly but still find time to stop in with a case every now and then. 
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,336
    Hi, I mostly just call to check stock, unless it’s something I’m certain they will have. There has been a lot of turnover so I no longer have the long term relationships or push to go in like used to be there. Things changed 😕

    Yours, Larry
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,518
    I use either text or email That way I have a record of the quoted price and availability
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,006
    My suppliers are still mostly in the dark ages and the use of the phone call gets the fastest response.
    If I need something same day. It's always a phone call.
    If it can wait. Its by email.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,260
    It varies a lot, some, mostly younger people like a txt, an e-mail for middle aged, phone call or FAX for the old timers :)

    I like the chat bubbles on some websites. I use them at the airline sites, I've changed a flight before the plane rolls to a stop at the gate via chat or txt. Watching others on hour long phone hold, or in long lines trying to get flight change help.

    I agree with the counter personal turnover. You may need to drive to several different brands to find "your guy" or gal.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 663
    I'm old school. Telephone call for sure, followed up with emailed Purchase Order.

    For me, chat and exchanging email messages is about efficient as sending wig wag signal flag messages by Morse code.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,099
    I like the App. R E Michel has something where you can have a locker with your stuff in it to pick up each morning or evening, even after closing. As you use a part of your truck inventory in a customer invoice, you can order the replacement part at the same time on the REM app. Since they were over 45 minutes outside my service area, I opted for delivery in most cases.

    My son now uses SupplyHouse.com as his "Go To” store. No locations anywhere close to me, but very often the part shows up a day before expected... and the return policy is great. The brick and mortar locations are becoming obsolete. If your supplier does not have an online presence, you might see them closing in the next ten years.

    Mr. Ed

    Edward Young Retired

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

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,110
    Text or email.  I like the record, time stamp, plausible UN-Deniability.  With close, long term vendors, clients, et cetera text for convenience only..Phone call if they have time to chit chat.  Text ONLY with 😠 unreliable & untrustworthy people
    No twisting of words or "their side of the story" nonsense!  Its a dog-eat-dog battle with some people, unfortunately.   That being said,, everyone gets the benefit of the doubt with me initially - thus,, phone calls are great  Mad Dog 
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
    On the phone I'm never sure if things were communicated correctly etc.

    With an email, I get a response in text of what's going on and I know exactly what was ordered etc.
    There are times I'll have someone call me, or I'll call them to discuss something but I like it followed by an email.
    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
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,070
    I greatly prefer to communicate with my vendors via email. Too many times have I been given a price over the phone just to be billed a different amount when it comes to invoicing, or they were quoting the incorrect item etc. Very little ambiguity when things are written down. The only time I have pricing discrepancies with vendors or customers is when things are done verbally over the phone.
  • Roohollah
    Roohollah Member Posts: 135
    As for me , making several calls to different distributors and matching their prices then in person going to the markets for fairer prices , finally ordering my needs by phoning for some goods and emailing for some particular materials and for the rest of needs purchasing in person . I do consider quality and fair prices ,so I do endeavor to do it and get what i really desire for it. As there are many low quality chinese products in our markets we have to dig deep into the markets for worthiness of needed products. I am kind of ocd person when it comes to purchasing and installing .

    Stay safe and healthy ,

    All the best


    Larry Weingarten
  • Hilly
    Hilly Member Posts: 427
    App, E-mail, Txt, Phone usually in that order. I like the digital because I have record of it. There's no confusion about what I said and what they heard. I try to be specific as possible. If I want a Viega part I'll 'call in' with the 5digit number to ensure accuracy. Or if I want a Grundfos pump I give the P/N and not just the model to make sure I get the electrical I want or the material I want or whatever variation. I try to make it as easy as possible on the "new guy" to get it right.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
    Email allows me to put the most information into my order but when I need a quick answer on price or availability I tend to reach out to the guys I can text and give them the sale.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 845
    As an independent operator I'm using Supplyhouse Trademaster account more and more--for restocking, volume pex pipe, tank orders and other special orders now. My volume does not improve the margin my local supplier offers. The real 'killer' for me: trips to the "bricks-n-mortar" are a time and fuel-suck. The big operators (fuel companies, and big plumbing shops) will keep the local "bricks-n-mortar" going for a while longer. Us independents are a dying breed anyway.
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 952
    For communications, phone or email. For orders, if the vendor does online, we like to go that way.
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,926
    When I was doing large commercial work, I dealt primarily with Ferguson. If it was something I needed tomorrow and it was already after noon, or needed it right now, I'd call. Otherwise, I'd type a list or take a photo of my handwritten list and send it via email or text to my main salesman.

    Now doing primarily residential install, I buy almost everything online and just fill my cart on the website(s). No hassle, and it shows up in 3-5 days. Boilers and occasional "need it now" items, I will call or text my salesman at a local supply house and they will send it up to me the next day. Unless I really need it bad, I'll drive down there (60 miles each way) and get it.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,110
    The big advantage of online shopping is obviously being able to order and pay for an item at 3am if you need to.  Cant beat that with Theodore Rex's BIG STICK! Being super loyal and trusting , my first text or call is to the Supplyhouse I've gone to since day 1 in the Business, Christ Plumbing Supply  (est 1810).  Whose going to open up shop for you on a Sundee?  Who trusts you to pick your own list and go in the cash 💸 register?  100% HONESTY...I FORGOT TO ORDER IT. .IM SORRY when most supply houses and people who lie and just say it didn't come in yet!  I've never had to check their prices  and when I work in his house,  wants ONLY the best and he says.."What do I owe you?"   We are both very fortunate to have such an old school 🏫 Business relationship.   Mad Dog  🐕