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Contractors access to distributors inventory & pricing

pitonpat's picture

Hello all.  I'm a veteran residential builder/contractor and I am wondering how many of you would welcome the opportunity to access your regular suppliers inventory for purposes of estimating and ordering?  If you're a small contractor like me, you typically find yourself putting together a proposal for a potential client after putting in a regular day on the job.  Or perhaps you find time to work on the proposal over the weekend.  Certainly not when your distributor or lumberyard, etc. aren't open.  Maybe they're open, but none of the desk personnel is available to check on prices or availability of the items you need for your job. 

If any of this is true, would you be likely to use a dedicated, secure, contractor access program which would allow you, an approved contractor already identified within your regular distributor's database, to access inventory & pricing?  This information would allow you to check prices, availability, possibly even place & confirm an order, all without your distributor even being open for business.  No wasted time standing at the sales desk or on the phone waiting for some guy (probably the new desk guy who doesn't even know you yet) to come up with the information you need right away! 


Please give me your thoughtful comments and let me know if you think this would be a valuable asset in your contracting experience. 



The problem is the big (post #206635, reply #1 of 2)

The problem is the big players would then play the different supply houses off of each other to drive down their prices.  So I suspect that, even though it makes sense and would drive purchases from you, the houses won't do it because they'd lose money elsewhere.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Here on long Island a couple (post #206635, reply #2 of 2)

Here on long Island a couple of suppliers allow basic access to their system. For instance with a house account at Nassau Suffolk lumber I can login and check orders, balance and set up new jobs to place material ordering under. In this system I also have access to my home yards in stock inventory and can put together an order. Any custom or speciality item I have to call for but for the most part I can put together a complete order to build the job and get the actual cost right away. 

It's great because it saves time and the hassle of tracking down the basic pricing, that you always seem to have too. I would think as more advanced computers become the norm in the construction industry you will find more yards allowing access.