Wholesale vs Retail for materials

11 Replies

Should I pay wholesale or retail prices for my building materials on my rehab projects?

William Avery

It seems to take a while to come up with vendors and suppliers for rehabs.  I have a great place for plumbing supplies, windows, flooring, a/c parts, etc...  It has taken me a while of comparison shopping to figure this out.  I find that I get much better quality and decent pricing through the supply houses than through home depot. 

Something I can finally comment on and be somewhat knowledgeable! 

Though I am new to REI, I have 10 years of experience in the wholesale exterior residential building products industry. Here's a free piece of advise for you... NEVER buy your exterior products from a big box store(HD/Lowes). Along with their overall lack of product knowledge and application, their profit margins on products such as vinyl siding, fiber cement siding, windows and roofing materials are ungodly high! Seek out local wholesale suppliers for products. A handful of my customers are RE Investors and I have been told numerous times we save them significant money on their material costs.

If you are in Austin, my company has a location there... I'm not shilling for them so if you want some further advise, send me a PM.

besides roofing, exterior work,  hvac and just toilets,  I buy everything at home depot.  supply houses are more expensive 

and besides...  who else is open at 9.55pm?

Originally posted by @George P. :

besides roofing, exterior work,  hvac and just toilets,  I buy everything at home depot.  supply houses are more expensive 

 I find this to be just the opposite.  I get better quality for less money at the supply houses.  This is especially true with flooring and plumbing.  It holds true with cabinets also.

There are also apartment supply houses in the big cities that sell plenty of parts that will work for houses.  They deliver next day!  I use HDSupply and partsmaster for many of my supplies such as door hardware, door locks, vent hoods, bath vents, blinds, and many other items. 

cabinets cheaper than kitchen kompact at home depot?  I am all ears

I have a place here in Phoenix that has a large warehouse plus a few showrooms.  My rep at the store will help me to lay out the space and even do a quick rendering for me.  I have not done a lot of kitchen cabinets but I started using Home Depot.  I have a contractor friend that suggested I use Diamond kitchen and bath.  I priced out the kitchen using both and came up with a lower price using Diamond.  The nice part is that he did the layout.

I do change out a lot of bathroom vanities.  I always struggle with the home depot setups to get the appropriate drawer setup and dual sinks.  I was able to get what I needed at Diamond without a problem.  Overall it was simpler, less money, and it worked without a hassle.

@William Avery Depends on what you're working on, but in my opinion you can spot a cheesy flip a mile away when you see the same stock materials from Home Depot/Lowe's. For non-cosmetic items (wiring, pipes, etc), we use Home Depot. If you spend over a certain amount they will discount your order at the Pro Desk. 

For things such as tile, roofing, cabinets, you have to use other dealers. Your project will look more customized. As others have said, some of these places blow Home Depot out of the water. Think about it, Home Depot has X amount of employees and Y amount of SF to pay for. If you find a small time dealer of items, you can save 25%+. Shingles at HD are ~$100/sq. Local distributor, $75/sq. On a 20 sq roof, that's $500! 

i will never use HD pro desk AGAIN.

i had an order all together around $3500. i spent literally 2 hrs tracking items (and i know this store by heart), writing down numbers. the person had left for the day, so had to send email. had to wait until 1pm the next day to hear.............. $35 discount.

i said, "eff this", used a 10% coupon and bought everything myself.

never again!

Good responses, all. Thanks. 

Can I walk in off the street at a supplier and buy materials at wholesale prices?


Originally posted by @William Avery :

Can I walk in off the street at a supplier and buy materials at wholesale prices?

 Sometimes.  It depends on the policies of the supplier.  You can call them in advance to find out.  Some won't sell to the public at all.  Others will require an account for the discount.  Some want paperwork completed and others don't.  You may need to convince them that you have a business.

I find that if I drive up in my truck, am dressed like someone in the trade, and walk up to the counter with my request, that I will get contractor prices.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here