Any tricks for getting "contractor" discount on supplies

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I saw this thread from over a year ago. It brought up some issues.
Why are so many of the contractors upset that DIY customers *MIGHT* get their precious contractor discount? From what I have looked up, that could be as much as 50% or more.
I have heard that some stores will give the contractor a receipt with full price, say $80 for gardening supplies, while only charging $20. My nephew witnesses this.
Why do the contractors need to use scumbag methods to make money? In my area, they just pick up cheap labor off the street for $5 an hour and charge the customer $70+ an hour for labor. I got an estimate from a contractor to replace my bathtub a few years ago. I wanted an itemized list. One of the items was the permit...at $500! I got the permit for less then $50. I was quoted $5k and 4k to replace the bathtub with a 3-piece unit. I could have bought the parts at Home Depot for less then $500. The quote also said that it would take a week for demo...I did it in a few hours of my spare time, and thats without using the proper tools. I ended up doing the job myself. I put in a jacuzzi tub, tile bath surround, tile floor, new light fixtures and plumbing fixtures for the tub/shower and sink. I also added a 100amp sub-panel in the garage, ran 3-20amp lines, 2 to the tub, one to the office. (the second 20 amp for the tub is for a possible expansion in the future if I ever decide to buy a heating unit) The 20 amp circuits are overkill, but they are slightly more efficient then using 15 amp circuits. I even added a ceiling fan in my office. The building permits for everything cost me less to $100. The total cost of the entire project was around $2k. The building inspector even asked who did the work...he said it was BETTER then most contractors work.
So I can waste a month of weekends, get a huge upgrade and pay half the cost of a contractor, and I know that the work is done better then most contractors! I have seen several areas of my house that don't even meet building codes, and that is how it came from the building contractor that built the place. So why do I keep seeing messages that the contractors do such a good job, when in my experience it is utterly false.
I always see the message that time is money. I even had one contractor tell me that on the phone. Why is it that maybe 3 in 10 contractors even show up to make estimates even when they say they will be there. I have to take time off work to sit around and wait for a guy that likely won't even show up...HAH and they have the nerve to tell me that time is money! I will hire the guy that tells me that he is busy and can't make an appointment for a few months. I WON'T hire the guy that makes an appointment and never shows up. MY time IS MONEY too buddy.
Why is it so hard for the contractors to use fair and honest quotes? If someone lies to me in a quote, I won't hire him because I believe he will lie in other areas.
I know that many contractors buy a little extra and charge the customer, then they can use the extra supplies in the next job to make a bit more profit.
So whats with the attitude of some of the contractors on this board. I saw a message that most contractors have 3 prices, one normal price, one if the guy wants to watch, one for someone that seems to be shopping around. I can understand charging a little more if the guy wants to watch...maybe an extra hundred bucks or so for a bit of wasted time in answering some questions. Does it really matter if someone watches or checks in on you, at least the CUSTOMER can see if you are doing a good job. Or is it that the contractors don't want their customers to see their hack job and get scared away? See, I am an engineer, I am used to having people cooperate and double check eachothers work. I will probably never hire a contractor to do work that I know anything about. I know that they will hate me for being too anal. I EXPECT the work to be done AT LEAST as well as I can do it.
The home builders use the cheapest garbage components they can find and build for the cheapest cost and most profit...they don't plan much for future expansion, it doesn't cost much more to make things easily upgradable or easy to replace in the future. 3 bedrooms in my house are on one 15 amp circuit! Thats utter crap. It should be an individual circuit in each room...BAH enough of this rant.
How many contractors out there are actually honest? It is a business, they should be making money, but it seems like they lie and cheat far too much. To be fair, in my experience, most businesses lie and cheat, from auto mechanics to PC repair shops. It shouldn't be so and if I could find reasonably priced honest businesses, I would use them. I think lots of people will stick with a fair and honest business.
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Nathan inspired greatness with:

Let me get back to you in two weeks with an answer. You will be charged for this online consultation of course, it's $75. Thank You for your patronage.
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All that being said, you need to quit your job at Goldman-Sachs and become a contractor

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HAHAHA I actually like my job. I have considered gardener work. You know those guys charge $80 a month or more. Thats like $20 each time they show up, and they only stay about 20-30 minutes. That puts their wage at around $40 an hour. Plus most don't pay any taxes, that raises their pay to maybe $60 an hour. I wonder how many are on food stamps and other taxpayer subsidies while paying nothing in taxes...shoot some even file false tax returns and get tax refunds. If I was a total scumbag I would do it, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself. I will take the honest path in life.

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You has some bad experiences, and yes, there are many sleazy contractors. There are also many very good ones. They are honest, charge fair prices, make a fair profit, use good materials, do quality work.
As for estimating, I have no idea how some come up with the prices. I just had a big siding job done. The bids were $81,000, $48,000, and $41,000. Any one of the three could have done the job, but that is a huge difference in price, mostly for labor as they were all using similar priced material. After the job was done, the contractor happily took the final check, but did say he had about $1500 in unanticipated costs. (he had to rent a lift for two days because his pump jack did not go high enough for one section)
I just had my sewer line repaired. It took six hours, involved the town, the power company, backhoe, etc. I never even saw the contractor but talked with him on the phone. I was at work when the job was done. I just got the bill last night and was anticipating about $3000. It was $1300. This is a very reputable company with a golden opportunity to make a few bucks as it was not bid and is being paid for by the power company. He charged a very fair price.
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Were you breast fed?
cm

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Totally agree with Nathan. Why on earth should contractors actually be allowed to make a profit? Some of them even can afford vacations. A few even send their kids to college, if you can believe that. And why should they be allowed to save for retirement? And then there's grocery stores. Did you know that when you buy a jug of milk for say 3 bucks, that the store didn't pay that much for it and is actually making a profit? That really burns me.
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HAHAHA DAMN Right!!!
gees people, did you actually read the whole message. I said they deserve to make a profit, but not any insane profit on a single job. One of my friend's dad had a job in the construction business. He only worked 6 months of the year and took the rest of the year off. I wish I could only work 6 months of the year and get a full year's pay!
Get a decent profit and have steady work throughout the year...that seems fair enough.

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What do you do for a living?
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If you were a school teacher you'd be close. How about life guard? Ice cram truck sales? How much did the six month contractor make compared to other workers? You may think $90,000 is a year's pay and work 12 months to earn it, but another may earn $20,000 in six months and live the year on it.
Why not just quit your job and become a contractor?
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Maybe I'm in the wrong area, but I am not aware of these 80% discounts anywhere in the construction process. As a matter of fact, homeowners and DIY can get a cheaper price at Home Depot than builders tend to get at real lumber yards. Beware of quality issues.
A typical builder's discount is 1 1/2% if he pays his bill before the tenth. I guess I'll have to ask my suppliers why I'm not getting this discount you perceive.
--
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DanG
A live Singing Valentine quartet,
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Nathan wrote:

You neglected to mention that the six months he didn't work were snow months.
Be rational - if contractors made an "insane" profit, EVERYBODY would be a contractor.
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<snipped rambling nonsense>
What do YOU do for a living?
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Nathan wrote:

So why should you care? If you are getting estimates as you should and getting the lowest possible price for the job, why should you care how the contractor makes his money or how much he makes? If you do your part of the job, finding a good contractor and having him compete for the job how is that more or less fair that what the grocery market charges or a doctor or any other service or product you buy.
I guess using your logic GM should lower the price of their cars if the price of steel drops.
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Joseph Meehan

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I love people like you, You have the balls to tell it like it is, You nail up one stud so you can build the whole house. Why you should be a contractor there's nothing to it, Just pick up a phone book look how many rich contractors there are. But before you buy those magnetic stick on's. Factor this in Overhead. Insurance, Workman's Comp., Bidding work that you never get, not getting paid, People beating you to death, People Bitching about every extra ( Bet you no that one) Sitting home because work just doesn't jump threw the phone. Bidding work that you never get, trying to find good employees, employees that even no what a 40 hour week is, Bidding work that you never get, Trying to keep your good employees when you have no work. I could go on & on & on In my seven years of contracting I never cheated anyone had very few problems with customers, Most the time I ended up doing more jobs for them. But the bottom line it's about the most competive cut throat buesiness out there.
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I forgot the most important thing You have to deal with people like you
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I have my own service business, its demanding and I am NOT rich:(
Yet people look at my hourly rate and freak, at just under a 100 bucks a hour I am the cheapest one around.
vehicle expenses, stocking parts, the list of costs is endless.
Used to be suppliers gave discounts to dealers but that has largely stopped.
home contractors appear to be squeezed the same way:(
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You said "bidding work You never get" 3 times,,Yer not gonna charge triple for that are Ya?!?! LOL,,,just kidding,,I do some subbing Myself and get what Ya mean.. I believe that some Folks are on this group to both help and be helped,,including Contractors that freely give advice in good faith and realizing the possibility They may be losing some work for Themselves and Others in the Proffession..I guess They fall in the "Goodguy" catagory.. My philosophy is to trust people,,,I trust them to do exactly what people do,,,it ai'nt always nice these things They do but fore-warned and fore-armed pretty-much works everywhere and all day too.. I can see this thread gettin reeeeaaaal interesting.. Dean Dean
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wrote:

Speaking of funny writing:
" ...including Contractors that freely give advice in good faith and realizing the possibility They may be losing some work for Themselves and Others in the Proffession..I guess They fall in the "Goodguy" catagory.."
No need to capitalize contractors, themselves, others, profession or goodguy, unless you had the grammar confused with German.
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I guess Yer just not in the mood to be agreed(or joked) with so I'm gonna go slap some mud on the wall and have a GOOD day instead..LOL. Do genetics affect spelling?I am about 1/2 German..*grin* Dean
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