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    Default Transparent Material Pricing

    Just a rant about material pricing.

    I got a quote in yesterday from my aluminum supplier. The guy I normally talk to was on vacation, and a different sales person had bumped prices up on some material over 20% from a previous quote. Had to call in an talk them down in price.

    Then today, I call up a plastics supplier I've never worked with and got a price for some HDPE sheet at $90 each. When I called them back up to place the order (literally less than 5 minutes), that salesman is on break. The next guy quotes $110.

    What gives!? It seems like they have a really good handle on incoming costs, cut fees, etc. It would be pretty simple to have a "standard" markup that they apply across the board. It feels like such a huge waste of time to play these sales games, but we are literally talking about thousands of dollars a month in potential savings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boosted View Post
    Just a rant about material pricing.

    I got a quote in yesterday from my aluminum supplier. The guy I normally talk to was on vacation, and a different sales person had bumped prices up on some material over 20% from a previous quote. Had to call in an talk them down in price.

    Then today, I call up a plastics supplier I've never worked with and got a price for some HDPE sheet at $90 each. When I called them back up to place the order (literally less than 5 minutes), that salesman is on break. The next guy quotes $110.

    What gives!? It seems like they have a really good handle on incoming costs, cut fees, etc. It would be pretty simple to have a "standard" markup that they apply across the board. It feels like such a huge waste of time to play these sales games, but we are literally talking about thousands of dollars a month in potential savings.
    Annndd that is why they are playing the game. There are probably lots of places like where I work that just order what they need and do not price shop. So the salesman gets on the phone and says $110 hoping you don't care, or don't bust them out on the cheaper $20 price they just gave you, or your purchasing agent was not aware and just orders it, etc.

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    Seems like material suppliers started to play games when the tariffs were on the horizon, from then and to this day. Even though it takes longer I get material quoted on all job bids. I do not assume anything anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Seems like material suppliers started to play games when the tariffs were on the horizon, from then and to this day. Even though it takes longer I get material quoted on all job bids. I do not assume anything anymore.
    My memory is a little fuzzy on years, but remember 10-15 years ago when gas prices went way up? Not directly machining, but almost all service places started adding a "fuel surcharge" to costs. I remember it being as much as $10 per visit (for like a plumber or whatnot), well when gas prices eventually went back down, the "surcharge" just got absorbed into their regular fees/costs. I imagine this will be the same, the prices will never drop back to a comparable level....

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    This is nothing new. Get used to it.
    I always get three quotes now.
    I have three pretty big suppliers near me (IMS, Bralco, Coast) who all get their 6061 from the same dang mill.
    Yet, there is a huge difference in pricing between them. And, they seem to rotate. Although the same one is usually the highest.

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    I don't imagine service for mats is the same anymore either (just a random thought here ), but I remember getting large stock cut to size from Alro and if they did a bad job they would send a salesman out to check it out and normally cut us a new batch. These were 11 1/4"dia x 2" thick pieces of 4140ph. I doubt we were a 'big' customer, but we probably ordered these damn near weekly in 20+ pc orders, varying sizes, but all 8-11" dia range I think... (fwiw).

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    I know a guy that sells steel, mainly into the oilfield industry, he told me that they price it according to what you make out of it. So if you make supper expensive parts you pay top dollar, pipe fittings not so much. Seems dishonest to me, but he is rolling in dough and sleeps well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    I know a guy that sells steel, mainly into the oilfield industry, he told me that they price it according to what you make out of it. So if you make supper expensive parts you pay top dollar, pipe fittings not so much. Seems dishonest to me, but he is rolling in dough and sleeps well.
    How would they know that info unless you volunteered it or your co name was Super Expensive NASA parts?? Or they are seriously up-charging for certifications for the peeps that need that...

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    It feels dumb even writing this, but were there ever any "ethics" applied? I understand they need to make money, but it feels like they are trying to gouge the consumer as much as possible. Many other wholesale businesses have explicit price breaks at certain volumes.

    For a decade I have been saying the internet is going to destroy these models that depend on hidden pricing, but I'm not so sure anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    How would they know that info unless you volunteered it or your co name was Super Expensive NASA parts?? Or they are seriously up-charging for certifications for the peeps that need that...
    I've never sat in the office with him to know for sure, just know what he told me.

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    I have been buying materials for 40 years, and this has always happened. In fact, in the old days it was worse- they would arbitrarily apply "discounts" from an imaginary retail price differently to just about everybody. Different salesmen quote different prices for the same thing- thats been going on forever. And volume, order history, and whether they know you or not all apply, and always have.

    Materials, and most industrial supplies, are not consumer goods. They sell to a much smaller customer base, and rarely compete on price.
    I have known guys who have the last of something that is no longer manufactured, and year by year, the price keeps going up, even though the demand is tiny, and some years, non-existent.

    If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

    I buy from the same few suppliers- and, sometimes, they are more expensive, on a given item, than some other guy- but generally speaking, having an account with someone for 20 or 30 years means, on average, over time, I have paid less, and gotten much better service, than if I was constantly price shopping and getting multiple quotes.
    I know and trust my main ferrous dealer, and my main non-ferrous dealer, and it has meant if I need a special order of 2 sticks of something they dont stock, they find it and dont charge me skyhigh freight.

    I would add- if your profit depends on 10% material price differences, you are charging way too little.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boosted View Post
    Transparent Material Pricing

    I got a quote in yesterday from my aluminum supplier.
    You're buying transparent aluminum?

    Hello computer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    I know a guy that sells steel, mainly into the oilfield industry, he told me that they price it according to what you make out of it. So if you make supper expensive parts you pay top dollar, pipe fittings not so much. Seems dishonest to me, but he is rolling in dough and sleeps well.
    That is B.S. (probably kinda)
    I am sure a lot of salesmen know who they can and can not gouge.

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    A good salesman will charge as much as they can get away with, that is their job. How often do you haggle with your suppliers? It can get king of interesting. I did it with an anodizer last year. I went in and talked with the floor manager about racking a new part as we had to keep the price down. Of course part of the conversation was how much $ per part and what could I do to lower it. The first quote was $2, oh I was expecting 95 cents, so and so said so. We settled on $1.25. There is always fat, figure out how to trim some. It's an ongoing battle, better to enjoy it than get pissed off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post

    I would add- if your profit depends on 10% material price differences, you are charging way too little.
    I was taught and learned steel is free in the gourmet world of making; now in big steel 10% on material cost is job gone sideways. I am still just wrapping my head around how little margins are in parts of the construction industry. On a handrail or crane, steel is really just a footnote in the cost.

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    The first quote I got when the tariffs were on the horizon on some steel 4140, a little shy of 300# one place was at $450, the other $800. They are only about 2 miles apart, but 50 miles from me. One delivers one does not. Since the sky high place delivers I told them about the other quote. They came all the way down to $550 so I went with them. Now their prices for 4140 are about $1.50 a pound, for 300#.

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    Like I said from day one about "tariffs" 20% tariff is nothing when you can get 50-300% price variations depending on who picks up the phone to give you a quote, its always been like that. It was a darn nice excuse for them to jack it all and milk it for all it was worth though.
    Trying to sell a $100 thing for $200 has always been a practice. Many sales people get some commission. Many shops do their quotes the same damn way too.
    I've had wild price variations on material since day 1 in this trade. though now for the few types of metal I still buy its more stable so I only shop if its something weird, rest is all customer supplied thankfully.

    Same or worse in other lines of work like electrical, plumbing.
    After some searching I finally found a local rep for a line reactor recently, they wanted $1675.00 and 4-5 weeks lead time. I got the exact same unit online in stock in Canada for $590 delivery included in 4 days. I've had the same bs when I needed my air exchangers for the shop, some places wanted $1500-1800, finally found a local place that wanted to sell for about $500. It never ends.
    Always got to shop, get a few quotes, but I shop more and more online lately. Not so much for metal though unless its odd and just a small piece as online metal dealers are out of their minds too.

    Getting quotes on machines in this line of work can be quite eye opening too. I had 2 who were interested to sell me a machine out of all of them. Lots putting $30-50k on top of the a reasonable price, a couple could suddenly knock $15k off it when called on their bs, but no thanks.

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    ...and somebody tried to do something about it lately:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-ad-disclosure

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    Quote Originally Posted by SND View Post
    Like I said from day one about "tariffs" 20% tariff is nothing when you can get 50-300% price variations depending on who picks up the phone to give you a quote, its always been like that. .
    I think it depends on who you do business with. When I was in Cali doing business from 1996-2010, I got comfortable enough with FRY Steel and Industrial Metal Supply to not even call for pricing when quoting a lot of jobs. I didn't get pricing that varied wildly with wind direction until I moved to Virginia with Ryerson and BMG were the local vendors. Since the tariffs those two can vary wildly on prices even in the same material grade on different sizes. Pretty weird when 7/8 round 4140 ANN is 1.83 a pound and 1 3/8 round 4140 ANN is 1.46 for the same weight. I can understand the super small stuff being way more a pound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    ...and somebody tried to do something about it lately:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-ad-disclosure
    I hope you didn't open a can of worms, this discussion has been peaceful up to now.


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