Do you buy your supplies for the contractor? flooring, etc

23 Replies

Do you buy your supplies for the contractor?





It seems if you are buying the supplies

-  you could get 6 month no interest financing 

-  you could get the cash back if using your credit card

-  you know the price of what you are paying - no hidden mark up

Have you met resistance from a contractor about this?

Hey Matt,

Classic answer, it depends. A lot of times the contractor can get better pricing on things since they buy in bulk and have relationships with their vendors in place. Sometimes, I'll know someone who can get me a good deal on materials and I'll provide the materials for the contractor. It never hurts to ask the contractor how much the job is with you providing material vs them providing it themselves. 

Thanks @Ron Todd

The contractor kept mentioning Lowe’s and their prices so I was thinking I can order with no interest financing and or cash back

I would definitely shop around if you have other options besides Lowe's in your town. I use Lowe's all the time, but if you have time to shop around there are usually better deals to be had. Case in point, I was able to get the laminate vinyl planking for a floor job for $.60 less a sqft from a local flooring company vs Lowe's. If you have any friends or acquaintances in your town that flip, they usually have a good idea where the deals are and can point you in the right direction. Ironically, I'm about to head to Lowe's for some paint.

@Matt Bailey . If I’m there I typically buy all the materials that are needed from Lowe’s or Home Depot. If I’m buying a big building that’s a gut rehab which is what I’m gonna do the next time around I’ll buy the building have my contractor tell me everything he needs do my due diligence and then pay for the materials myself and haggle and then I always got a 10-20% coupon I can make and then that’s how I save money

I buy appliances, lights, paint, cabinets, counters, final flooring,  cosmetic things.

They buy wood, drywall, electrical stuff, plumbing stuff (except facets), nails, cement, blocks, roofing, etc.

Seems like I agree with most. For the “pretty” stuff (flooring, vanities, cabinets, tile, etc.) I buy it and they install. They would usually provide their own not pretty stuff (plumbing pipe/fittings, mortar and grout, adhesives and screws, etc.).

The problems I've had with customer supplied material is that they either tend to buy the cheapest of the cheap stuff or they have an issue with defective material and expect me to warranty something that they bought. 

ex: I had a customer who had bought a water heater themselves and the electric heating element went bad 6 months later. The problem is that they expect me to warranty something that they bought. It's not my fault they bought the cheapest heater they could get their paws on. If I bought a water heater and a element went bad I have pull where I buy them from and can gets parts and deal with warranties etc.  

If I have a roofing customer that wants to buy the materials it will cost them significantly more. I can get the materials cheaper, I can provide a manufacturer's warranty, and I can set up the delivery. 

I will factor in a lot of extra costs for labor because things will be out of my control. What if we have to reschedule delivery due to weather? What if there is a shorage on materials and we have to wait around for them to show up? What if the materials are defective? My reputation is on the line and I won't install shingles that someone bought at a discount because they were sitting out behind a warehouse for 5 years.

I would talk to your contractor.  If you are picking out finishes, definitely go with them or find out what they need/what to avoid.  Most of the time the contractor can get a better deal on the material as they have deals with the local businesses and they can bundle supplies for multiple jobs.

That is another good point Theresa. If I'm replacing a roof for someone and buying materials for the job, they are paying only for the materials that are used on their job.

Ex: A roll of synthetic paper covers 1000 sq ft. A box of roofing nails covers about 2000 sq ft. If your roof is 2100 sq ft and you want to supply the materials, I will make sure you provide 3 rolls of paper and 2 boxes of nails. You can keep the extra for when the roof needs replaced again in 30 years.

@Matt Bailey

I recently completed a rehab project and my advice would be to make sure it is clear in your contract who is paying for what. Example, If you are buying the toilets/vanities and the contractor is buying everything else make sure that is in writing. Also make sure the contractors

quote specifies if it’s including materials vs not. This was a headache and big lesson learned in my last project.

With that being said, I purchased flooring, appliances, vanities, toilets, light fixtures. Plumbing supplies, electrical, doors etc I leave to the professionals because more times then not, I end up buying the wrong thing. It is a positive buying some materials your self because of credit card points/coupons etc. But to me, it’s not always with the extra time and effort.

Originally posted by @Ron Todd :

Hey Matt,

Classic answer, it depends. A lot of times the contractor can get better pricing on things since they buy in bulk and have relationships with their vendors in place. Sometimes, I'll know someone who can get me a good deal on materials and I'll provide the materials for the contractor. It never hurts to ask the contractor how much the job is with you providing material vs them providing it themselves. 

Ron, if you meet a new contractor do you get a list of how much he is going to charge you for materials and then compare that to what you can buy in the market? Or how do you go about verifying if they can get you material at a lower cost without having to rely on their word since you don't trust them at that time. 


Hey Daniel, I can't get the tag to work on my phone. I ask them how much it would cost to do the project with and without materials provided. If I haven't already looked for materials already, I'll look at this point and compare my price to theirs. I'm not sure I understand the trust part of your question, but I try and use contractors that are recommended by my fellow investors in the area. I also let the contractor know that I have other contractors stopping by to give estimates and this magically reduces the price fairly frequently. 

@Matt Bailey if you're buying the stuff make sure contractor knows, and whatever you buy meets code. Buy new, not flea market finds. Know electrical and plumbing specs, measurements, etc

I purchase all finishing materials (flooring/vanities/cabinets/fixtures) and supply my contractor with those items. More often than not, if I'm using my preferred contractor, once our scope of work is agreed upon with the contractor we will order and have delivered to the job site all building materials (lumber/piping/electrical) once demo is complete. It is an extra step (sometimes a headache) in our business that we are reward for by way of Amex points :)  

@Matt Bailey Some contractors may use local supply houses like home depot or lowes In their conversations so that you can see what retail pricing is like. Generally the contractors not Purchasing retail. They never really want to reveal their pricing to you of course because they like to markup on every item.

Thanks everyone.  After all the good advice, I am going to try to purchase certain things and leave certain things to the contractor.  

@Matt Bailey

My main contractor has a way of getting really good quality material and charges me a low price. The last two rehabs I let him pick out all the materials and colors and it all came together looking amazing! Some material was left over from a previous rehab and he had just enough to do mine. Another contractor charges me for labor and I pay for all the materials. He goes to Home Depot to collect the material and Home Depot calls me over the phone to pay when he checks out. Easy peasy!

@Matt Bailey

Home Depot will usually give 24 months at 0% financing if you buy $2000 or more in a single checkout. You have to have a Home Depot consumer credit card.

@Matt Bailey

Local contractors in my area get supplies from the same place I do so it’s easier for me to get the supplies vs them. I think I have better control over materials being used when I buy them myself and I’m not being upcharged 20% as some contractors charge in my area.

Owning a business in the contracting world, I don't use owner provided materials. But to be fair rentals are the smallest portion of anything we do.

Where things like sealing and staining are concerned, a homeowner and products from box stores have no place and likely their knowledge is less than stellar when it comes to chemical compounds and one kind of acrylic vs another etc. If for instance the surface already had some kind of coating, the customer is not going to know much about compatibility. And I just get better pricing and quality of product from independent distributors.

The long and short from my perspective is, it probably depends. What service are we discussing, how specific is the situation, and is this a house youre living in or renting out. Among other things those answers would affect strategy.

@Matt Bailey

More often than not, when a customer of mine buys materials, they don’t buy enough, buy the wrong stuff, etc. I end up having to go get materials anyway. I prefer when they don’t.

Here’s a good example- few years ago I was doing a bathroom. Customer picked up the glass shower doors. As I was taking it out of the box, the glass shattered. She of course had the receipt. That was the last step of the job. Ended up screwing up my schedule for two days. Can I charge the customer for two days of work? Um no, shattered door wasn’t her fault, had I bought it I could have run back and got a new one and been done.

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