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: supply prices  ( 597 )
mike802
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« : March 13, 2017, 04:06:10 PM »

Hi Folks:  If any of you remember about 7 months ago I was ready to throw in the towel.  Things have picked up a bit here and I have been busy lately. But I am still planning on doing something different eventually, but I guess I am going to keep on keeping on for the time being.  Anyway, I have been adding upholstery supplies for sale on my website a little here and their when time allows.  My YouTube channel has been sending people to the website to buy upholstery supplies, I can't say business has been brisk, but I sell a few things here and their.  If it wasn't for customers coming into the shop telling me they saw me on YouTube and checked out the website, the website wouldn't be worth the expense.  I offer free shipping on the website for the smaller items and this makes my prices a little higher than sites that don't offer this.  But I did a basic search and found this company.
http://www.diyupholsterysupply.com/
These people are selling retail for less than I can buy from my wholesaler.  I suspect I am loosing a fair amount of business from this site.  Granted, I buy in bulk from my supplier and they send a truck my way every other week and I get free shipping if I use the truck, which helps with my overall cost, but I still cannot compete.  If I want to get serious selling upholstery supplies my wholesaler is not going to cut it.  The diy upholstery people must be buying from the same people my wholesaler is buying from.  I can only imagine what kind of investment it would take to compete with these people, any advice anyone?

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
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MinUph
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« #1 : March 13, 2017, 05:45:14 PM »

Sometimes buying from a standard supplier is not going to get you the best price. A quick search on ebay will show you this. If you need to find the best pricing you have to do more research.

Paul
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Mojo
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« #2 : March 13, 2017, 06:12:24 PM »

Mike:

I can remember when I was paying a lot for fabric when I first got started. Then I switched suppliers and went with Miami. That move saved us money right away. Then we got so busy and was buying so much fabric that we qualified to buy direct from the manufacturer which is what we do now. They bring in specific rolls of fabric in a container ship from Germany for us. What we were paying as compared to what we are paying now is startling. But then we expect deep discounts when I am buying as many rolls as we are. Volume speaks many words when negotiating prices.

I went back and renegotiated our prices once that I seen our volume pick up. We were able to bring our costs down on everything except thread and shipping boxes. You cannot negotiate PTFE thread prices and U Line are a bunch of bandits who will not negotiate anything. But We had a lot of success in other areas and even renegotiated our UPS shipping rates. We basically hammered all of our suppliers and the companies we do business with on prices and while we got a little here and a little there it all added up in the end and boosted our margins.

I suggest you consider doing the same. I should also add that many salespeople from fabric suppliers have the ability to negotiate prices on behalf of their company. MiamiMike used to drop prices and give me deals on certain fabrics and colors.

You have been a great friend over the years Mike so if there is anything I can do for you let me know. I have no problem with sending Luca Brasi to go meet with your suppliers and make them a deal they cannot refuse. :)

Chris
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« #3 : March 13, 2017, 07:55:35 PM »

Mike,
Welcome back!  Regarding your discussion which was interesting.  I do not sell the fabric
today than in the past.  Mainly, because in my local, very large city, there is just too many
large fabric/supplies only type of retailers.  The biggest sellers for me (my market that is) is supplies that are rare and harder for the consumer to even find here.  So, that is the market for my business and since it takes time to "sell" as you know, I focus on my service.  This is
what works best for me.  There are certain services that are hard to find (at the professional level) even in this metro area.  I am mainly referring to consumer needs in the auto part of the business- labor services, and I find that more profitable to focus on.

Back to you, however, it does sound like you have some potential to offer supplies. 

Where are you located, probably in the right size city for what you are doing.

Again, always appreciated your post, welcome back.

Doyle
mike802
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« #4 : March 13, 2017, 08:19:28 PM »

That's the spirit I like Chris, well send the boys over to work something out!  ;)  It's obvious that I am going to have to go over my suppliers head so to speak if I want to pursue this.  Unfortunately I don't have the volume sales that you enjoyed to give me some bargaining chips, I might be able to make a good deal with my current supplier, but I don't think they would discount 50% or more, which is what it would take to be competitive.  I am going to have to do some research, I don't even now where to buy supplies in volume, I'll have to start digging.  It will be interesting to find out just how much I would have to buy to get the pricing I need.

Quote
Sometimes buying from a standard supplier is not going to get you the best price. A quick search on ebay will show you this. If you need to find the best pricing you have to do more research.
 Agree, for regular reupholstering my suppliers prices work, but for selling retail on the web not so much.

Hi Doyle:  Nice to here from you also.  I also am not selling fabrics like I used to either, same situation as yourself and more and more people are buying off the web and bringing me their own fabrics.  I have adjusted my labor prices to reflect this and the customers do not seem to mind, their paying just the same but feel they are getting a deal.  I am in a very rural area, most of my clients are second home owners who are here for skying, or the country.  The majority of my supply sales are web based and I ship all over the US I have also sent orders overseas.  As nice as these sales are they are a very small part of the total operation.  The locals here are always strapped for cash, reupholstering used to be less expensive than buying new and that reputation has not died here.  Unfortunately that has not been the reality for decades! LOL  Anyway, if I advertise an upholstery class I can fill it with about 6 students in no time, so the locals here are not afraid of tackling a project by themselves.

« : March 13, 2017, 08:20:25 PM mike802 »

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
gene
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« #5 : March 14, 2017, 07:16:54 AM »

https://www.usfoamcorpofindiana.com/

They have the lowest prices on foam that I have found. Free shipping on orders over $100.00.

gene

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
mike802
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« #6 : March 14, 2017, 10:18:42 AM »

Thanks Gene:  I'll give their prices a good look over.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #7 : March 15, 2017, 08:05:16 AM »

I'm not sure why wholesale suppliers even carry common upholstery tools anymore.

Items like staplers, lifters, hammers, etc. can be found cheaper online. And quite often with free shipping.

If I bought a staple lifter from my wholesale supplier, the shipping would cost as much as the tool.

The frustrating part is..........many of the Ebay stores that sell the stuff so cheap are actually wholesale suppliers operating under a different name. They sell to the public cheaper than to their own wholesale account customers.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
mike802
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« #8 : March 16, 2017, 02:18:33 PM »

Sofadoc:  The only advantage I can see for paying the extra price from my regular supplier is they will stand behind it if it is defective, not always sure about the cheap sellers.  But yea, regular wholesalers selling on ebay, or other sites cheaper than what they sell to their regular customers is discouraging.  It leaves a feeling of betrayal, they make you jump through all kinds of hoops, tax numbers, references, credit reports etc just to buy from them and go ahead and sell cheaper to the the general public, the only way to explain it is greed.  In the end they cut their nose off despite their face in a massive rush to the bottom.

I was born and raised in the service station business, my father owned and operated a Texaco for years.  Towards the end he expanded into a convenience station with a deli.  He ended up buying most of his supplies at Walmart and reselling them because his wholesalers could not come close to Walmart's pricing.  Yea have to do what yea have to do to survive, but sometimes it really stinks.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #9 : March 16, 2017, 02:57:17 PM »

He ended up buying most of his supplies at Walmart and reselling them because his wholesalers could not come close to Walmart's pricing.
All the local "Mom & Pop" cafes around here buy all their food supplies at Wally World. Not necessarily because they're cheaper, but mainly because wholesale delivery trucks have cut all the little whistle stop diners off their route. They don't want to back their truck up just to unload 6 loaves of bread or a couple boxes of hamburger meat.

When I was a teenager, I worked at a Dairy Queen. The man that delivered the milk there was also the same man that delivered milk to our house.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
gene
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« #10 : March 16, 2017, 05:24:13 PM »

I placed an order at US Foam yesterday and they were out of their 108" length foam - all thicknesses and types. She said it would be 3 to 4 weeks. Ouch!

Also they have raised their prices about 8% if I remember correctly.

I'm wondering if these are red flags for their upholstery foam part of their business or for their entire company???

They offer lower prices with free shipping to the continental US of A.

gene


QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
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