Trade counters

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  • Trade counters
  • Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    I have used some trade counter for plumbing bits wood, car stuff over the years. I’ve had mixed experiences and today paid 4x the price for a bulb compared to last time (I think).

    Seems the price depends on how much the counter guy hates you, is that right?

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    price depends on your dress code

    footflaps
    Member

    I have a trade account at our local builder’s merchant, for stuff like wood etc it’s very cheap with the basic 45% discount, but for things like cement, B&Q is cheaper so I just buy that there. They normally seem quite keen to give you the maximum discount when you buy in any quantity; that price then gets saved to your account so if you buy that item again, you get the same discount even if only buying one item.

    nickjb
    Member

    I hate the random prices at trade places. Even with the 90% off or whatever it’s still more than online (although less so for bulky stuff) and you have no idea what you will pay until everything has been picked. Have to use them occasionally I but I try to avoid it.

    Premier Icon bedmaker
    Subscriber

    It’s not just DIYers getting screwed, even using some of them day in day out their default is to attempt a ripoff on every visit.
    Unless something has terms on the account, the price will be double or more. Tossers.

    I find myself using Screwfix and B&Q more and more for work.

    Premier Icon sparksmcguff
    Subscriber

    You could take the approach of making an offer. This (mostly) works at one of our local builders merchants. I try to do a bit of a survey of prices so I have a fair idea of price first.

    nickjb
    Member

    Reminds me a bit of my time in Egypt. The way to mark yourself out as a tourist and pay tourist prices was to ask the price. The local way was to know the price and pay it without asking or being asked.

    Stoner
    Member

    al, very much depends on the Co.

    I had to choose a local builders merchant when I built the house
    I rarely got the same price twice from Travis Perkins.
    county Building supplies made counter buying a chore on account,.
    Bradfords were fantastic. An account manager who priced up keenly, always got good service. Still keep my account there now, 10yrs after finishing the build.

    Some product lines have HUGE markups from list. I remember Hunter soil and water pipe I got at 85% discount. A big order of special bricks from Germany and I saw the price the merchant had to pay, and my a/c manger only put 1p a brick on top. Legend.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    I agree, some are mucky, disinterested and out to obscure price.
    Others, like Grahams for plumbing, are a pleasure with happy and helpful staff, clear (cheap) pricing and good advice.
    Wolsey are ok.
    Paint Shed great.
    Dulux awful.
    Jewson I avoid.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Subscriber

    Never go near them these days. Find Wickes to be consistently decent value (especially for timber and aggregates) as a DIYr and B&Q good for a bigger range of stuff.

    Motor Factors and main dealer parts counters by contrast I’ve always found are much more consistently helpful if you go armed with a small amount of knowledge and not in your suit!

    Premier Icon luket
    Subscriber

    Wide variation here. We have trade accounts with a few and even with a decent relationship over multiple projects you often have to haggle for a sensible price. Frustrating and time consuming, both to have to do this and to need to find out what the price should be first.

    We have used jewsons a lot, and the relationship there is good, as are the prices, but the above point is still true – you often have work to do to get them.

    Some local specialists this doesn’t apply to though.

    Stoner
    Member

    Frustrating and time consuming, both to have to do this and to need to find out what the price should be first.

    absolutely, that’s why I loved my chap at Bradfords. Didnt need to go and ask for a price after the first few weeks as it was clear he was pricing well off my account every time. Just go to counter, ring run through what I’d taken and let Marc do the bill. ORSUM. Saved me £50k, made life very easy, and I got preferential delivery slots which kept everything running to schedule.

    wrightyson
    Member

    My line is, ” hit the discount button” check price then go from there.

    Premier Icon oldfart
    Subscriber

    Some years back we bought a new kitchen from our local Bradfords. Blokey said did we want them to sort out the labour. I asked how much? £3K says he, knowing the fitter they were going to use isaid I’ll do it thanks. He charged us £1K, told us all Bradfords would have done was phoned him and give him our details. £2K for one phone call!! 😱😱😱😱 There’s a nice little earner. 🙄

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    Seems the price depends on how much the counter guy hates you, is that right?

    Definitely! I have to go in builders merchants quite a lot and can’t stand it. Have no idea what I’m about to pay.

    I try to be all buildery blokey alright geeze….but I suck at it 😄

    They can smell fear.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    the more you go in the better the treatment. as in if you go all the time you clearly are trade & spend a bit with the company so get better rates. turning up once in a blue moon won’t

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    They can smell fear.

    So true.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    We have a local wood merchant I used to use for work from time to time – probably spent £5-6K a year there. It was like going back in time to the 70s. Go into the yard and have your van searched by the bloke on the gate, find the wood you want. Some old boy would write a ticket out by hand. Take that ticket to an office (clad 100% in pegboard for no appreciable reason) where someone would look up the prices and then by hand write out a new ticket. Take that ticket to the trade counter where some kid would type it into some early form of computer that generated a four layer dot matrix printout. Walk back across the yard with one copy to get it signed off by the old boy to confirm it’s what he put in his ticket. Take that back to the lad on the trade counter to sign off the other copies confirming it had been checked. Drive out via the guard who you handed the third copy to who would get in your van then count everything and carry out some random measuring.

    Woe betide you starting the check out process after 1140 because if it got to 1200 a whistle sounds and they all put their pens down mid job and you were physically stuck in there until 1300 when they returned to their stations.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    Since screwfix opened 5mins from my house I haven’t bothered with any of the others. I would imagine they are suffering a bit.

    Premier Icon mick_r
    Subscriber

    The place near to work is really good – most prices are online and at genuine trade – I just did a random check and copper 22mm fittings are about 2/3 of the Screwfix bulk buy price (and you can buy a single fitting at that unit price rather than having to get a bulk pack).
    https://www.cwberry.com/

    One hydraulic supplier is online and the account price is often 50-70% discount to list.

    Aluminium supplier has a Web order catalogue but the account price is a fraction of that, and ring up and take cash is cheaper still.

    Laser / plasma cut steel always seems competitively priced and not much more than when we used to buy raw sheet materials.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Screwfix / toolstation +1

    I occasionally use TP for work when it’s something unusual but the list prices are ridiculous and I CBA haggling when I’ve got the works credit card (why haggle on a £15 bit of trunking that’s more realistically £1.50, when it’s connected to a £7k camera?).

    johndoh
    Member

    price depends on your dress code

    This – I never go into one unless I have my work scruffs on.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    Cheers all. I do go in infrequently and sometimes with a shirt on, never buying much. I do work opposite them tho and had a lot of chat about some eBay bike stuff that was mis delivered there (seller, transition?, were ass hats but eventually resolved it).

    I was silly for not checking all the prices, I did on several parts which might obvs have pissed the guy off.

    Only 4 bulbs @ £1.50 vs 40p….bit it’s the PRINCIPLE! 😀

    Maybe some sh dirty overalls and accent tuition would be a good investment for future purchases…

    Premier Icon duckman
    Subscriber

    Maybe they can smell your sense of superiority because you sometimes go in with a shirt on? 🙄

    In actual fact, Wickes are cheaper than trade. My hiking mate works in Travis Perkins and can’t get near Wickes prices, even though they are owned by the same folk.

    wrightyson
    Member

    Wickes definitely aren’t cheaper, it’s just the fact that Travis is generally shit and I never use them, their pricing is ridiculous and it doesn’t matter how you are dressed! The best option is to have a quick ring round if you’ve time before going in. Yesterday I fired off an email to 4 different merchants for a load of timber, howarth (specialist timber but now multi product) got back to me along with frank key (a local merchant but in a big buying group) they were 20 quid apart on a 1500 quid order with the local being cheaper, still awaiting buildbase and another branch of howarths that I use.

    Marin
    Member

    TP are awful. My firm uses them despite everyone on the tools saying they are rubbish and expensive. As a company must spend 00,000’s in them. We’d be better off at B and Q. Dulux are also stupidly expensive. I feel sorry for the random DIYer you see in there on occasion. Seem mainly to operate for large scale firms whose office staff rarely leave the office and are scared of people in dirty clothes.

    K
    Member

    Wife does computer stuff for places like builders and plumbing merchants, most discount is just done by what they think they can get away with charging the customer based on what they look like. Some places have a sneaky way that the amend the list price to make the “discount” look good.

    From the other side of the coin I used to work for howdens as a kitchen designer, basically Howdens want to make a profit mark up of x% on the deal, individual prices aren’t really important so in some ivoices you might get variations to achieve the margin, as long as th guys you deal with on a regular basis know this then there was never a problem.

    Premier Icon chickenman
    Subscriber

    Well my experience is quite different. My local independent timber merchant in Leith goes like a fair yet one can pick up what one needs pretty quickly and they have a stock of fairly specialist stuff like birch ply. have used them for 30+ years and always get good prices (yes it took a while to build up a relationship). I avoid B & Q and Screwfix like the plague; locally we have Wurth, Stax (avoid their own brand stuff though) plus an independent for ironmongery.
    I get that folk want to pay the same prices that the trade pay for stuff; maybe next time ask your dentist to charge cost price next time you get a filling done and do please report back on how you got on!

    project
    Member

    B and Q, own Screwfix, Travis Perkins own Toolstation and Wickes and Benchmarx, and currently TP are looking for a buyer for Wickes, Jewson are owned by St Gobian, so all major players, all able to bulk buy stuff.

    For a few years TP has offered poor pricing, as has Jewson, and screwfix is well overpriced compared to Toolstation, Screwfix also have a large catalogue of stuff sadly a lot of it isnt in stock when you need it or more than one of the same item.

    Also trade gets 10% off all products at Wickes, and nothing at Band Q unless you spend thousands each year.

    Vader
    Member

    If you are looking to be treated with sheer contempt, bad manners and utter disinterestedness I can offer you Beatson’s builders merchants in Penicuik.

    You will be 100% satisfied every time.

    Having said that, we fair pretty well in all the merchant’s we use. Having an account obviously helps a lot as does regular visits. You still get the occasional oddball discount though. Last week I got 50% off a wheelbarrow just…because.

    Nothing, but nothing, touches HIS in Inverness for sheer randomness and joy as you walk out clutching the booty and working out what discount you got. Do you go for the left hand counter, or the right hand counter? You plump for right then the guy on the left is free and it’s your turn…

    For best results, sending the bird in while you wait in the van always works best though. Sad but true…

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Nothing, but nothing, touches HIS in Inverness for sheer randomness

    <tannoy>

    ”counter, counter, counter. Can we have assistance at the counter please.

    we have a mr Mackissock here. And he’s with a young lady….. but it’s not the same young lady he came in with yesterday.”

    </tannoy>

    Marin
    Member

    You can get a trade account at B and Q with discount in about 5 minutes if you have a business card.

    project
    Member

    and you need to spend a certain amount every month to get either 5 or 10 % off, or pay store price for everything, dont spend enough each month and dont save anything

    Marin
    Member

    Er no I use it once in a blue moon and always get the discount. They mustn’t like you is all.

    nickjb
    Member

    Er no I use it once in a blue moon and always get the discount. They mustn’t like you is all.

    Maybe you haven’t used it recently. They only changed the system a few months ago. The old discount was OK, the new one is useless.

    dmck16
    Member

    So what would folk consider to be a reasonable unit price for (as an example, incl. VAT) a bulk bag of sand?

    wrightyson
    Member

    Bulk bag yellow or washed or ballast circa 850 kg £36 plus vat so 43.20 all in, those small trade bags are £1.97 so roughly £2.40 all in.

    ton
    Member

    I have worked on a trade counter for 20 years.
    do you people realise what it does to your mind and soul?……………. ;o)

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