Im looking for the most economical place to purchase flooring, cabinetry appliances etc for apartments we are wanting to update.
Lots of LLs go through the Pro Desk at Home Dept. If you are spend more than $1500 (may have gone up) on a single purchase, the Pro Desk manager will negotiate a discount. Take the time to develop a list of exactly what you need, and submit your proposal to the Pro desk for a bid.
Since you have your proposal, you might as well take it to any HD competitors in your area, and let them bid on it.
Be sure to let the manager know that you are rehabbing a number of apartments and that they could get your business on the rehabs down the line.
A little bit of a loaded question since its purely market dependent.
As stated, big box hardware stores are always a decent option. All have a pro service, contractor pricing, etc if your buying quite a bit. As far as a Lowes VS Home DePot VS Sutherlands VS Menards debate, that's a personal choice.
For my local market, I have 3-4 good quality custom cabinet shops within a 10-45 minute drive from my house. I always just rough sketch out what I'm wanting and email/drive by to get a rough bid. Whoever's bid I like most (based on turn around time and price) I have them come out and get the exact measurements and look over any issues I may of missed. On the few I've had done I've been able to get custom cabinets built at a higher quality then the premade big box store variants for just slightly (meaning less than 10%) higher cost. Worth it in my opinion.
I also have a great relationship with a local wholesaler of building supplies. He carries granite and quartz countertops, tile flooring, laminate, real hardwood etc. Some of his materials may be 2nd grade, but for a rental house nobody will ever know or care.
Flooring I always go to Lowes. In my area its just not worth the hassle of trying to look for deals on the flooring. Plus I have recently decided to use the same flooring in all of my units. Whenever I need to replace flooring I will use the Toffee Oak which is only .88/SQFT, but I make sure to get the good under layment.
Cabinetry and appliances I first look for deals on facebook groups, CL, trade & sell etc.
Try the Habitat For Humanity Resale store if one is near you. We have 3 in Dallas and they have tons of flooring and other surplus supplies for SUPER cheap.
@Julie Mcneeley we usually get quotes from lumber liquidators, HD and there are often local lumber yards, second hand stores or wholesale types stores that are locally based.
We also use floor and decor for our tile and sometime laminate. They have huge amounts of stock AND often have great clearance sales on tile and flooring.
Usually use Sherwood Williams for paint.
I save the most money by sticking to the big box stores...Home Depot & Lowes. Buy gift cards at Giant Eagle using your credit card that gives you the best perks. Also, Giant Eagle offers fuel perks which if you spend enough, will get you free gas. Presently, I have about $900 in free gas. When you buy all your materials at one store, returns are much easier too since you know exactly where you bought them. Be on the lookout for 10% off coupons. I use them all the time. Lowes will take HD coupons and vice versa. If you don't find 10% off coupons, apply for an HD store credit card. They will send them in your email and via the mail.
I do high end work for customers who mostly shop online at specialty stores but the way to get the most bang for your rental buck is to stick with the big stores that keep their prices low due to volume sales.
One last thing. If you know you will be spending 2000 or more, go to the pro desk and they will many times give you a bid room discount. Ask me if you have any questions. I've been playing this game for a long while now. Good Luck!
One time I went to a HD store and with a straight face I told the cashier "I'd like a 10% discount, please." She was a little confused and asked me if I had a coupon or something and I just told her "No, but as a contractor I spend thousands of dollars here every week and I would greatly appreciate a discount" Two important points here: Number one, Don't ask for a discount, tell them you want a discount. Number two, don't smile. It will be confused as a joke. I saved $300 that day and more importantly, I learned a lesson in life...Always tell people what your expectations are. They generally don't want to disappoint you. And always remember gratitude :)
@Julie Mcneeley HOME DEPOT
I use Sherwin Williams for paint, Cleveland Cabinets for cabinets, Home Depot for most everything else.
I keep hearing Ikea for cabinets, do you think they hold up long term?
I buy everything at Menards because that's all that is around. If you can buy when they have their 11% discount it really adds up.