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Need Help Choosing Merchant

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#1 neil496


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Posted 03 December 2015 - 03:35 PM

Hi everyone,
This is my first time posting as I'm taking on my first big job by myself. I am building a garage beside my house and would like some recommendations of good building merchants to go to for materials? Not sure whether to pick a local independent or one of the big national guys (ie Travis Perkins etc). I live in the North East and have heard mixed reviews about MKM. Does anyone have experience of these guys?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

#2 tonyshouse


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Posted 03 December 2015 - 03:47 PM

Ask three or four for prices, I would go and talk to local independent one. Watch out for high prices from the big boys especially for metal stuff. Easy to get stuff on line too I used to buy poly, bottled stuff from up your way

#3 jsharris


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Posted 03 December 2015 - 07:04 PM

I'd second Tony's advice. When we started our build I went around all the local BMs and told them we were building a house and that I would potentially be looking to spend a few tens of thousands over a period of a year or so. The big boys (Travis Perkins, Jewsons etc) weren't interested. They let me have a trade account, but their prices were variable and poor. By contrast our local independent , Sydenhams, was like a breath of fresh air. First off the chap asked if I really needed a trade account as a self builder, or whether I'd be prepared to have a cash with order account. I asked what the difference was and the answer surprised me. Basically it was around 15% off trade account prices. I asked why and the chap was dead straight, he just said that trade accounts cost them money, because they are always 30 days in arrears, whereas a cash with order account helped their cashflow and they were prepared to share that saving with me.

I tried the local independent out a few times and they were usually cheaper, sometimes by a lot (as in half the price) of people like Travis Perkins. I then discovered that if I asked for the same chap every time I rang I not only got consistently better prices but he offered to try and price match any online price offer I got. This was really rammed home when we bought all the plasterboard, plaster, screws beads etc for the house. Their price undercut the best price our plasterer had ever been able to get by around 20%.

As above, shop around and see if you can cut a cash account deal with your local independent. Not only will you probably get good prices, but if our experience is anything to go by you'll get good service, with local drivers who will go out of their way to make things easy for you (Sydenhams drivers get top marks from me - the ONLY supplier that consistently turned up on time and with a sensibly sized truck for our location, and a cheery driver who went the extra mile to put stuff exactly where you want it).