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Break Up Your Plumbing Material Into Groups of Like Material

We’re not sure who “they” are or why “they” wouldn’t want you to know about them but here are some purchasing tips you can use to save money and aggravation.

Figure out what you need to buy and categorize the material into these basic groups. If you know you’ll be installing copper for water piping and PVC plastic for the waste and vent you’ll have the material take offs to easily send over to the appropriate stores. Please note these are basic groups we can break down into more detailed phases but for now this is adequate.

  • Waste and Vent Piping
  • Water Piping
  • Fixtures/Plumbing Equipment and Trim

plumbing materialThe simple reason for this is some supply stores are better at things than others especially at the wholesaler level. Some supply houses specialize in commercial plumbing material, some supply mostly residential. Some sell more plumbing trim than others, some sell a ton of copper or plastic. This results in better pricing and you can split the order up if it’s big enough. If you are a contractor and you’re in a sizeable metro area it is important to figure out who does what best.

Margins are so tight these days that wholesalers make their money off of the manufacturers rebates at the end of the year. For instance a certain copper piping manufacturer may give a 3% rebate on  copper sales. If you sell 15 Million in copper your rebate check can be significant and thats just one commodity.

It’s All in the Multiplier

Professional Plumbing Supply houses usually price off a manufacturers list price or they produce their own price sheet and give you a certain discount like 56% off of cast iron or 80% off of copper tube. To get to a net price you subtract 56 from 100 and you get 44, move the decimal over two places and you have .44. Multiply .44 by the list price and you’ll get your net pricing.

If a wholesaler makes a discount a bit more complicated and gives you 40% off plus two 5s, they mean just that 40% plus 5% off plus 5% off. Here’s how you figure out that multiplier. Subtract 40 from 100 which leaves you with 60 or .60 then subtract 5 from 100 which leaves you with 95 or .95. and then repeat for the second 5%. So you multiply .6 x .95 x .95 which equals .5415 So if you multiply that by your list price you’ll find your net.

Wholesale Direct Plumbing Products

There is one other purchasing option that is plumbing professional exclusive. We call it a stocking or jobbing store. Wolverine Brass is one such company. They make quite a bit of their own product and they sell direct using no manufacturers reps or wholesalers. They sell brass products, p-traps, angle stops, tailpieces, basket strainers, a small competitive line of faucets, ball valves etc. They also sell a ton of repair parts. The reason we refer to them as jobber or stock shops is that their customer base is dominated by service plumbing companies. These companies put lists together of their most common repair parts and stock those materials. They will also custom etch a company name on certain products like basket strainers or print your name and phone number on a ball valve to add to you advertising campaign.

We hope this help you in your quest for all things plumbing. As always this article is open to comments. We will answer any questions you have and clarify anything you find isn’t clear enough.

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