New Policy @ AdvantageLumber

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I can see that my point was totally missed. My intention was not to bash anyone or attack any company. Although I clearly see how it was taken that way given the high strung enthusiasm here including my own.
I have always enjoyed dealing with the smaller customers for a $5 sale, $100 sale or whatever. But the truth is that we cannot make a profit on wrapping up a small order and shipping it out with the current system that we have. We still welcome small walk in sales.
I was upset at Reneta accusing my company of not caring about the little guys. That was my loosely used definition of "bashing". For 10 years I have always been polite and helpful to a ton of small customers that have ordered mail orders or walk-ins. We have been forced to put in place the $500 minimum for orders shipped out because of the time it takes to pull a order, being that we currently have too much wood in too little space.....NOT because we do not care about the "little guys". Because in all honesty they are much more fun to deal with, chat about woodworking, and buy small woodworking projects from. For us to package & ship out a order under $500 cost us money at the small margins we operate at, given our current setup. It was explained that the $500 minimum was most probably temporary until we get a better system in place for handling the smaller orders, which includes adding more space. We have not "forgotten about the little guys" as we still and always will welcome walk-ins. I got emotional over the issue because of my high regard for the "little guys" and for that I am sorry Reneta.
Best Regards, Rob Pelc http://wwww.AdvantageLumber.com / http://www.IpeDepot.com / toll free 1-877-232-3915
snipped-for-privacy@myrealbox.com (Renata) wrote in message

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Too bad this wasn't your *initial* response. I think the damage is already done.
snipped-for-privacy@iplogics.com (Rob Pelc) wrote:

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I'll bet you are sorry - now. We'll take our small orders elsewhere where they are appreciated. You didn't want them anyway and I'm sure the competition will send you "Thank You" notes.
Bob S.
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Rob,
This is a tough crowd here, as I'm sure you've noticed. Forgiveness isn't one of it's virtues, I'm afraid.
Why not add a S&H charge to cover expenses for smaller orders? Wouldn't that be a win/win solution? If you product prices are comparatively low, then additional charges for S&H might be palatable to the small quantity customers.
There are a number of methods for charging:
1. Charge 'actual' shipping charges 2. Charge a set fee for handling (Ignoring your actual shipping charge) 3. Charge a set fee for handling, plus actual shipping charges 3. Charge a set fee for handling, based on several purchase total ranges , with the higher fees charged to larger orders. 4. Charge a set fee for handling, based on several purchase total ranges , with the higher fees charged to SMALLER orders.
I've never figured out why some companies charge MORE S&H for the more expensive order, while others reduce or eliminate the S&H charge entirely for larger orders.
Many places provide charts based on the customer's address so that they can see what "zone" they will be charged for...
Look at Amazon: orders over $25 - no charge
To keep the "little guy" happy, perhaps you could ship ANY size order, as long as everyone is aware of a fair, SET pricing structure for S&H. I've ordered items totaling as little as $18 and gladly paid the shipping charges, because I need the items. IF the company said, that no we can't send you those things, because it's too small of an order, I'd be pretty frosted! Percentage wise, I know I'm taking a big hit on S&H for a small order, but that's MY DECISION. Don't take that option away from your customers, is my humble suggestion.
dave
dave
Rob Pelc wrote:

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On 19 Dec 2003 06:11:26 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@iplogics.com (Rob Pelc) wrote:

TomL
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In fairnes I am sure you know but I will mention it. Rob was not the first ot bring LV into this. (Renata) He was not even the second. (Mike) And his response was limited to the scope of this thread. And RL himself pointed out they do not try to be a wood supplier. It was unfair and wrong to bring them into this. If you want to compare apples to apples, compare his customer relations to other wood suppliers. (Oh yeah, newsgroup mentality.) They are few and far between. It is a tough business, look at all the cheapos they get. Tough because wood is not exclusive such as your own branded tools and selection. All RP has to compete on is price. And it is the customers who pushed it on him. Or would you all agree to pay 40 dollar handling fee on any order under 150 dollars. Thought not. And sure people can suggest RP institute some shipping and handling policy. But look at what gets said about others who did, they have been bashed about. No matter what somebody does, if it comes up in a newsgroup, and it is an extra charge, your fried. Any other big mail order store come to mind not yet mentioned? Duh! They were losing too much, on too many little orders and had to do something. Cheapos. And I don't mean the store.
This is like a high speed race through a city and a pedestrian getting clipped.
But there are reasons why things cost less and why things cost more. Deal with it. And it is nice, LV at least has this stuff in stock. And it is all nice "select" stuff worthy of the price.
Heck this is a newsgroup. I am sure that only one out of ten people vowing not to go to AL for wood, will so in the end. The other nin will work around the limit. Newsgroup mentality. Scheese.
If I won the lottery I don't know if I would be a bigger nut opening a tool store, or a lumber store?
What would you do?
Customers, gotta love'm.
TomL wrote:

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Jules wrote:

Actually, I was the first to bring LV into this as an example of good customer service (outstanding more like it).
I don't care if a company is selling lumber, tools, widgets, or watchamacallits, good customer relations are good customer relations. In that sense, I feel the comparison is valid.
...Mike
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TomL wrote:

Actually I was wondering if a good ass kissing to Lee Valley was in order.
UA100
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As I always enjoy a good argument, I finally finished reading this string and have the following comments.
I think y'all have been a bit rough on Rob here. He's trying to run a business, plain and simple - and to stay in business he has to make choices which may cut several ways. Anyone can understand that small orders that require shipment are labor intensive, and either he now has the pricing, processes and employees in place to make small orders profitable or he doesn't. It appears he doesn't. One of two things will happen as a result of his decision on minimum order size, (1) his sales volume/profits will decrease materially and he will change the policy or put in place processes so he can profitably handle small orders, or (2) he won't miss the small order business, and can concentrate on being, and remaining, profitable and competitive in price on the business he is prepared to accept.
This is America, a great country, and neither Rob, or anyone else out there who is a consumer of hardwoods, has to do business with each other. Frankly, I don't think a minimum mail/shipment order of $500 is unreasonable at all. That's about 100 bd ft of 4/4 cherry, maybe 15 twelve foot boards. There are other internet operations that do have the shipping/employee/process capability to fill 1 or 2 board orders so I don't know what everyone has their knickers in a knot over. Come to central New Jersey and see what the local suppliers get for 4/4 cherry - how about $6.75.... that, to me, is unreasonable, but its my choice to buy or not to buy. So I didn't, I saved up my money for a few months, rented a box van and drove to central PA and bought a mixed load of 1200 bd ft of 4/4 kd lumber - hard maple @3.50/ft, cherry @4.40/ft and poplar @1.55/ft from a sawmill that has a kiln and now I have an inventory to work off. Its called a free market, so all you whiners make your choices and stop busting this guy's chops and acting like victims on Jerry Springer or Oprah - everybody is a victim nowadays. I think Rob's prices are competitive, I hope he continues to be successful in his business so he can stay competitive and I wish him well. If my pickup ever gets up to his neck of the woods, I'll be sure to stop buy and get some of his quarter sawn white oak.
snipped-for-privacy@iplogics.com (Rob Pelc) wrote in message

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Mutt,
You make some good points except you kinda missed the target. It was not about the new policy - it's about his attitude and publicly bashing customers and the way he handled the situation. He got zero points for customer relations....
We are not whining - we're telling him that he can make his business decisions and live and die by them (and he will) but with an attitude like he's expressed here, well.... let's be kind and say he didn't fare well. He's now publicly set the tone for the way he wants to do business and many of us don't care to deal with that kind of attitude. It's Jekyll and Hide time if you read his posts.
He'll be lucky if this little diatribe of his isn't picked up by the local newspapers. I doubt he's gained any customers from this, surely he's lost some and that was by his own hand.
Bob S.

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Right, Bob! This is the FIRST time in the annals of history that somebody has made an unpopular statement in a newsgroup! I'm sure that he'll be the focus of this week's Sixty Minutes, entitled, "I had the audacity to tick off the denizens of the Wreck". The follow-up show will show him living incognito in a small villa in Spain. GET REAL!
dave
Bob S. wrote:
Snip self-serving drivel...

snip
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I'm sorry Dave, sometimes I need things spelled out for me. Was that facetious?
Dan
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Yup!
dave
Dan wrote:

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Dave,
Get a life...
snipe of Bay Area Dave's dribble.....
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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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That's the nicest thing you ever said to me, Ed. I'm touched.
dave
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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bob,
get a life.
dave
Bob S. wrote:

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(snip)
If you've read the whole thread, then surely you've found very few criticizing Advatange Lumber's business decisions to have a minimum order amount. Some might quibble about the cut-off point, but that's normal.
OTOH, this thread has been almost entirely about a diatribe against an established customer. In a public forum, no less, which certainly does nothing positive for expanding his customer base. Not to mention denigrating a businessman who has shown an outstanding devotion to customer service, including stocking very low-profit, small quantity hardwoods.
Kevin
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Rob (Pelc)
Maybe it's a simple matter of finding a way to reduce the repetitive work required to fill the small orders, rebuild your price accordingly and continue to service the little guy as you've done all along. For as long as I've been playing in this sand box, you're the one aimed at as the place to get wood when there's not a local supplier....you're reputation ('till now) was hard earned and highly respected.
I know for me, the majority of my purchases are 10 bd ft here, and ten there. I'm a hobbyist after all, I don't "turn out work". I expect to pay a bit more for this and I don't expect to be serviced the same as a guy who's buying thousands of bd ft/month. But I do expect to be able to buy wood and I don't expect there to be a minimum order. The place I buy my wood now isn't geared for the little guy and has to move entire lifts for me. I try and go in with a friend who's also buying in order to justify their overhead...You can guess where I go when it's time to buy 100 bd ft (or more).....
Like I said, maybe it's a simple matter of re-packaging the portion of the work that actually costs money and seeing if you can't continue to provide the service you've become known for.
Rob
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One last beating of the dead horse...
(interspersed)
Renata (who still hasn't made it to Exotic Lumber for her cherry because the neighbor who offered use of her truck got tied up yesterday, and my annual holiday get to gether with the plumber (dang drain clogged right on schedule) is today. See, this is why I like mail order - order it and it arrives on your doorstep, no fuss, no muss).
On 19 Dec 2003 06:11:26 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@iplogics.com (Rob Pelc) wrote:

I that case, you blew it.

Perhaps in the heat of the moment you did read more into my responsce than was actually there, but there's no doubt your reply was an attack (or "bashing"). And, as a business owner you have more to lose when you let loose, than someone casually posting some diatribe about politics, etc.

My posting simply stated your new policy on a forum where I know a number of folks woulda been interested in the info. In that posting I also let your casual dismissal of small orders be known because I had a bit of an issue with that. (Remember when on the phone I said "There are gonna be a number of folks on rec.ww'g that are gonna be unhappy". and you (or your assistant) replied, "I don't think so" in a sort of condescending tone?) <-crux of my issue
Your subsequent posting on this group attacking me (and Lee Valley) made clear your disregard for us (wRECk'rs) as your customers. Your trying to back pedal out of it is kinda disingenuous and doesn't really fit your words from before. Perhpas you should heed the advice someone posted about filing away your response for a couple days, before posting.
** To be clear, one last time - my issue was with your attitude, not your business decision. You compounded that bad attitude in your posting. **
It's very nice that you've gotten so successful that you can only afford to deal with large customers. I presume you're more careful with your words around them since they're quite important to you.

Because you apparently no longer can afford to care about them.

Business decision understandable. Attitude not.

smart, not dumb for email
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