What do all of you look for/want in your supplier?
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How do you find roofing suppliers in a city? Are the best places to get roofing supplies the big box home improvement stores?
Because I have always been (and will always be) an on-the-roof roofer, suppliers that can get me in and out quickly are who I go to. Location is the number 1 consideration who is of my main supplier.
I don't particularly like them, when I was distributing, the owner constantly was trying to shut me down and NEVER allowed salespeople to send any referrals my way. But they are conveniently located and are open a 1/2 day on Saturday and that makes them my main source.
30 years ago I could talk with the owner and the material was pretty limited. About 20 years ago the distributors started to consolidate, the material became more diverse and complicated, and the only people available are order takers who know nothing of the material they sale.
What I want from a supplier is 1. Don't double stack the material in stock or leave it in the weather, 2. Hire fork lift drivers who will not damage the material, and 3. Don't schedule a residential delivery before 8 am. There is nothing quite like a semi trying to maneuver a residential neighborhood at 5 am while everyone's asleep.
What I've experienced in a good supplier, directly pointed back to me. Often we are considered to be in the position of power as the customer and can be as demanding or unconcerned with the supplier as we wish. So what makes a good supplier even better is a great customer. Yup, think about the level of importance you have in relationship you've built with your customers . Suppliers can be and are a very important priority.
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Not really sure about the order it all falls in because I start with baseline disqualifications. Lack of honesty will end it for sure. Poor service will. Being disrespectful will. Having a lack of quality product will. Of those left standing, it's a matter of who is willing to work on a healthy relationship with me. The price has to be there, more or less, and if sometimes less, then other times more to compensate. I want my suppliers to make money. If I like a supplier I will try to find things to buy just to keep things rolling with them. I also require that they be willing to make my deals happen and that means sometimes gathering reliable information that won't necessarily lead to a direct sale. A good supplier is a friend and partner. Everybody has to win or it's just another unpleasant occupation and none of us need that.
I terminated a relationship with a sheet metal shop years ago when they built a new addition on their building. I seen a competitor that was in a financial bind doing the roof and I asked the owner why he didn't ask me for a quote as I purchased all my metal products through them. The owner told me that the roofer was behind on his account and they gave him the job to help pay off the account. I told him I didn't realize I had to get behind on my account in order to get the chance to bid a job. Probably purchased less than $300 there in the next 20 years. I had a roofing supplier that I purchased all my materials through that used to give my name out to builders and home owners. I realized the leads had dried up and a competitor was getting all the referrals. I met with the general manager and asked him what was up. He said the other roofer was overdue on 80K worth of materials and they had a lean on his house and needed to help him pay off his account and thus he was getting all the referrals. I asked him if I could start getting referrals again if I charged up 80K in materials and never paid them. Never bought anymore product from them from that day forward. I've been loyal to the past supplier for the past 20 years. They have been good to me as far as service, pricing and availability of products.
They certainly can't hurt, but they don't get the roofs on. Kind of hard to install without the necessary materials.
Old School Said: Service, Honesty, price and product in that order.
...and pretty woman. :)
Service, Honesty, price and product in that order.
Delivery trucks and pretty women