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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a client that I took to my supplier showroom for fixtures, tubs, toilets etc.... When she got the price tag for all her items ( which was about 30k) she went online in search for those items abit cheaper..found a lot of her stuff on e faucets and now wants me to do all the ordering through this website..the items are pretty much the same price except they give a 5% discount and so no tax and free shipping..my question is 1. What are the dangers is any for using one of these sites and 2 how would you handle a customer price shopping online?
 

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The biggest issue with online ordering is if something comes in incorrect or damaged. You have to deal with a reputable online company. It's really no different than special orders. But what I do is have my customer use their resources to order and pay for them, it frees up my time and resources. If I order items I usually try and stick to Amazon and items sold by them. I'm a Prime member and if something comes in wrong they will ship me a replacement the next day one day shipping free of charge and I have 30 days to ship the other item back free of charge.

I have jobs where every single item is special order or ordered online. The special orders are usually what I have issues with not the online orders.

When the economy went to crap nobody stocked anything.
 

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I'd be careful with the tax implications, even though you're purchasing online in many states you're supposed to report it and pay it.
 

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I'd be careful with the tax implications, even though you're purchasing online in many states you're supposed to report it and pay it.
To my knowledge the only time you're charged sales tax is if that online retailer has a brick and mortar store in your state. It's the retailers responsibility to add and pay that tax.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Capra Aegagrus
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Then I take it you don't add any markup to material costs? Not saying you should or shouldn't; you can make money either way.

But as touched upon above, if your client does all of the procuring, can you count on having all the proper materials and quantities on hand when you start the job? Even if you have penalty clauses in your contract for such things, enforcing them can leave a bitter taste.
 

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I have a client that I took to my supplier showroom for fixtures, tubs, toilets etc.... When she got the price tag for all her items ( which was about 30k) she went online in search for those items abit cheaper..found a lot of her stuff on e faucets and now wants me to do all the ordering through this website..the items are pretty much the same price except they give a 5% discount and so no tax and free shipping..my question is 1. What are the dangers is any for using one of these sites and 2 how would you handle a customer price shopping online?
:censored: that. They used your suppliers showroom and expertise to pick the damn fixtures and then want to nickel and dime about the overhead to run that showroom and the expertise.

I am busy now days, so I refuse to install or warranty the fixture, neither one. If the client had ordered the fixtures before I was hired thats different, but I still wont warranty the fixture. If they do what your client did, install when I am done.

This is a small town, Im need the suppliers more than one cheap client.

Usually it just takes educating them on what that extra percentage buys, like a rapid and accurate response to a defect or warranty issue. Good luck getting bullchitlightfixtures.com to warranty a thing.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I hear ya jaws..I talked to them about warranty and timely response to an issue with a faulty product..the rep at e faucets said they warranty and issue for 30 days and then the manufacture warranty kicks in for a year..they were quoted 35k for all faucets, tub, glass shower doors vanity and top..going with through internet an taxes an stuff they are saving a couple thousand..hard to convince them otherwise
 

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I hear ya jaws..I talked to them about warranty and timely response to an issue with a faulty product..the rep at e faucets said they warranty and issue for 30 days and then the manufacture warranty kicks in for a year..they were quoted 35k for all faucets, tub, glass shower doors vanity and top..going with through internet an taxes an stuff they are saving a couple thousand..hard to convince them otherwise
Just dont warranty anything and you should be fine. The client will still blame you for the faulty fixture though, if even only in their minds.
 
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I don't know maybe states are different all I know is it's the retailers responsibility to charge and pay. In my state I'm only charged if they have a brick & mortar store in the state.

So then I should probably have them order all the stuff then..probably better that way
Ya unless you're getting paid to order and return/warranty hassle if something's wrong I would make it the customer's responsibility. I charge for my time, locally or not.

I've had customers do online ordering for years. More people are wanting to buy the material themselves, thinking they save money. I explain to them if there's an issue it's all in their hands. Some buy locally some don't.

Like I said I've had many issues with special order items, that's neither the customer's fault nor mine, but it held up the job. Almost every remodel job I do involves online ordering of some kind. Either that or special order because nobody stocks crap.
 

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how would you handle a customer price shopping online?
We have actually developed a strategy to avoid online price competition in the field. The strategy has been used by over 10,000 businesses, many of them contractors. This is something we don't advertise and since this is an open forum will not post. However if you're interested in learning more I'd be happy to explain in a private message.
 

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We have actually developed a strategy to avoid online price competition in the field. The strategy has been used by over 10,000 businesses, many of them contractors. This is something we don't advertise and since this is an open forum will not post. However if you're interested in learning more I'd be happy to explain in a private message.
I consider this to be spam - soliciting business, with no contribution to the discussion.
 

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This comes up sometimes. I usually just let the customer get the items. Of course I make them order it and deal with it. The cost is usually minor so it hasn't been an issue for me.
If you order something online and the business has a brick and mortar store in your state they will charge you tax. If they don't have a brick and mortar in your state, it is your responsibility to report it to your state and pay sales tax to your state.
As far as I know it is like that in all states.
This has been in the news alot lately. There is a push from states to make all websites charge the appropriate sales tax for the products. Amazon is fighting it.
 

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I consider this to be spam - soliciting business, with no contribution to the discussion.
I definitely understand your concern about keeping this forum spam free. I haven't been a member long, but have read through the sites rules and policy. This site seems to help a lot of contractors and I wouldn't want to jeopardize it's integrity.

However we have developed a strategy to avoid profit loss to the internet. One owner is from your industry, the other from the granite fabrication industry. They experience first hand the neglect from the major brands when the internet started drastically reducing value, so they decided to do something about it. We started ten years ago with 3 employees and now have closer to 100. A HUGE part of this growth has been because of our ability to let our customers make a significant profit by avoiding online price cutting.

P.S ---Trust me I can't stand reading the ESPN comments and seeing "I make 10,000 a week from home etc etc etc". So I really do understand the concern.
 

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Every now and then I have a client that does the same thing. I don't have a problem with it because they usually are waiting for a month or two for their turn in line so there is plenty of time to get products ordered and waiting for me. In these instances, I usually drop by and inspect the stuff when it arrives just to make sure they have everything I need.

As for the mark up on materials, that doesn't change regardless of who is buying the products. My mark up and tax for the product is built into my quote so my allowance sheet doesn't show any of that, and when a client buys the products them self I simply deduct the entire allowance for that item which means I end up making mark up on the original price. If they upgrade and spend more than I had allowed... oh well, so be it, but since I'm not having to funnel money through my account, I don't care. It's free money.

I do however, void my self of having to gaurantee the items. So, in reality I come out better when they buy on line.

As a side note.... Have any of you ever had a client that just didn't grasp the whole "allowance" procedure? I had given this woman an allowance of $300 for a sink on a kitchen rebuild. Well she goes out and buys a $1,200 bronze farm sink, so when I submit my invoice that week I showed a deduction of $300 for a customer purchased item. Oh no... she said I owed her a $1,200 deduction because that's what she spent. I asked her if she was sure about that, so she thought for a minute and laughed and said she had made a mistake and I only owed her a $900 deduction. Yes, eventually she figured it out.
 

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BTW, the client that I'm working for now bought her own sink and had it waiting on me and when I saw it, it told me a lot about her personality and I actually changed the design of the bathroom based on that sink.

Here it is....
Glanz2lo.jpg
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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Whenever I have this situation, I ask the client if their peace of mind is worth the money that they save. I always refer back to a swing gate opener that I installed in 2010. The HO paid a premium price but when the main circuit board failed 6 months after the warranty ran out, the local distributor had enough influence with the manufacturer to swap out the part out the next day...no questions asked.

The other thing that I consider is that when you buy stuff online, you don't know if you are getting something that is warrantied by the manufacturer or if it was just surplus material from another job which could very well be out of warranty due to the length of time between when it was acquired by the web-based company to the time that you actually got it from Amazon.

Any time you have a warranty issue with something that is normally purchased through an authorized distributor, the manufacturer always wants to know where/when you bought it before they do anything. And if it happens so that you didn't get it through one of their distributors, they won't be able to help you.
 
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