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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone gone through finding a good local supply house for their HT construction needs? I've been looking at 2" flex conduit (Resi-Guard, etc), and I refuse to pay $80 to have it shipped. It's heavy - so it's not cheap to order online. Normally I order anything hard to find online.


I've noticed that many electrical supply companies really seem to emphasize on wholesale distribution and Business sales (That makes sense, that's their bread and butter). I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for how to approach companies - that seem to rarely ever sell to individuals (let alone smaller quantities).


I'm hoping to get an account w/Graybar (because I'm familiar with them), but not sure that's going to happen. I've been spoiled with looking at online catalogs w/prices for more web-friendly businesses (lots of electrical seems to be walk up sales). Hope my post makes sense. Not sure if best option is just walk into one, ask for a part, and just try to pay cash -- without any kind of business credit app.


Sorry if my post is OT......it is construction related though
 

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Check with the maintenance department where you work. They often have accounts at industrial wholesale only suppliers. Then just go in and identify yourself as with the company and use a personal credit card for payment. An added bonus is you will probably get any discount the company gets.


IMO, there is nothing illegal or wrong with this. As long as you pay with your own credit card or reimburse the company, it's on the level. They may send the company an invoice copy but if it's pre-paid, most corporate accounting departments won't care.


I also know of some places where they post that "contractors only" sign but will gladly sell to anyone. I think they do that because they don't want to hassle with DIYers that have too many questions. There may also be contracts with the manufacturers to protect the retail sellers, hence the sign to make the manufactures sales reps happy. But if you go in and ask for an Leviton QXYZ4 for example with no other questions, they sometimes don't care. But then some places are anal about the contractor licenses as well.
 

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Yeah, any of the local supply houses are a potential source.


I got my Resigard from broadbandutopia.com, the shipping rate for a spool of 2" is ~$28...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie  /t/1467941/finding-a-local-electrical-supply-company-for-ht-needs/0_100#post_23195597


Check with the maintenance department where you work. They often have accounts at industrial wholesale only suppliers. Then just go in and identify yourself as with the company and use a personal credit card for payment. An added bonus is you will probably get any discount the company gets.


IMO, there is nothing illegal or wrong with this. As long as you pay with your own credit card or reimburse the company, it's on the level. They may send the company an invoice copy but if it's pre-paid, most corporate accounting departments won't care.


I also know of some places where they post that "contractors only" sign but will gladly sell to anyone. I think they do that because they don't want to hassle with DIYers that have too many questions. There may also be contracts with the manufacturers to protect the retail sellers, hence the sign to make the manufactures sales reps happy. But if you go in and ask for an Leviton QXYZ4 for example with no other questions, they sometimes don't care. But then some places are anal about the contractor licenses as well.

Hey, thanks for your thoughts. I've thought about doing that, dropping the company name, but I work for large university, I'm not sure how well that would work - especially given some tax exemptions that I'm sure are in place.


I had a feeling that most places shouldn't care too much if you have a part number or a very specific item in mind. Was just curious what others had experienced.


I think I've heard that HVAC places are anal about licenses -- so they can keep DIY'ers out.. (I'm sure there are other legal reasons, union reasons, etc, etc)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Originally Posted by jautor  /t/1467941/finding-a-local-electrical-supply-company-for-ht-needs/0_100#post_23195654


Yeah, any of the local supply houses are a potential source.

I got my Resigard from broadbandutopia.com, the shipping rate for a spool of 2" is ~$28...
Thanks for the link. If you shop around though, it looks like the conduit is only $65-80. I've noticed that places that charge $100+ have cheap shipping.


Some places are charging $110+shipping for it!


I can't imagine that contractors are paying $2 a foot for it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by homeav  /t/1467941/finding-a-local-electrical-supply-company-for-ht-needs#post_23195695


Hey, thanks for your thoughts. I've thought about doing that, dropping the company name, but I work for large university, I'm not sure how well that would work - especially given some tax exemptions that I'm sure are in place.


I had a feeling that most places shouldn't care too much if you have a part number or a very specific item in mind. Was just curious what others had experienced.


I think I've heard that HVAC places are anal about licenses -- so they can keep DIY'ers out.. (I'm sure there are other legal reasons, union reasons, etc, etc)

The tax exempt status would be a problem and probably illegal to use personally. But try this: just say "A don't want to bother with a formal PO for this small purchase and likewise don't care about paying the tax. I'll just expense it"


As for HVAC there is an issue with CFC refrigerants. Canned CFC refrigerant cannot be legally sold to anyone without an EPA608* license. But you can still legally buy parts, tools, even condensing units fully charged with refrigerant. Go figure, but that's out federal government at work. Still many will not sell retail in any case - Johnstone Supply is real picky about this.


*Note that ANYONE can take the EPA test and get a license to have CFC refrigerant. You do not have to be a licensed contractor to have an EPA608 license. There are many online study/test programs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've thought about doing that too - about no formal PO and seeing what happens.


I knew that refrigerants required a license... but I've read a number of places that the HVAC world still tries pretty hard to "protect" their interests. That's interesting that anyone can take the test and license for an EPA608* license.


I'm wondering if most AVSers don't end up actually buying directly from a supply company. Even as an independent contractor, you're probably still a tiny fish in a big sea.


Hopefully some others can chime in with their experiences with local suppliers.


I saw someone else mention Lowes special ordering 50' rolls of Carlon flex tubing. I wonder if it might be easiest just to special order certain products via Lowes/HD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by homeav  /t/1467941/finding-a-local-electrical-supply-company-for-ht-needs#post_23196307


... but I've read a number of places that the HVAC world still tries pretty hard to "protect" their interests.

I have always wondered about that as well, just what is the "interest" of a store - to sell things! Now they can't break the law nor can they violate agreements they have with the manufactures. But like you said some of these places think they are "helping the poor service trade" buy not selling to DIY. That really pisses me off. If you are a reputable contractor, you should have no worries from a few DIYers taking away business. I mean just how many DIYers would attempt an HVAC repair in the first place? This is just the "good old boys" behind the counter who are either failed contractors themselves or wannabees trying to get in with the big dogs!


Perhaps auto parts stores should be illegal?
 

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My favorite local electric supply store is a Border States outlet. They sell to anyone, at my local shop. I've bought a ton of stuff there, including 2" flex PVC conduit, RadioRA 2, breaker box, slotted wiring duct - prices are reasonable. As a general rule, know what you want when you approach the counter.


I've bought from a local HVAC distributor; they didn't care I don't have a tax ID.


The only places I've found that are very strict are LV distributors. I couldn't buy a 12V alarm battery. These include AVAD, ADI, and SES. I've found good online alternatives for the LV stuff.
 

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I think it's mostly about protecting dealers. If the shop carries a lot of dealer only items, it's easier to track if you're registered. It is what it is. Some of the online, national distributors are strict too, but some look the other way. To get the best online pricing you need to sign up as a pro. I figure I'm the installer, and I don't need any added value provided by a reseller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
WOW, so I decided to call a local supplier trying to get some 2" Resi- guard.


First call (local location): Well, 1 location has 10 feet, and 13 at another and 32 downtown. You might want to call downtown to order it, by 25'/50' rolls. The price he gave me was more expensive than what I've seen online!


Call downtown: 1st transfer was from receptionist to parts, first guy basically says "I don't know" and transfers me to data/telecom (I thought i was being placed on hold). I tell the second guy what I'm looking for, and he's confused so transfers me back. The first guy say "what, they couldn't help you? and transfers me again". Finally, the last guy says "Uh, we only sell it by 250' rolls, I'd have to get a quote /roll and then get freight pricing, I'll call you back".


Perhaps my pursuit of buying locally is pointless! I was only asked "who are you with 5 times.". They do take walk ins/cash though........
Good times!


Found a couple places that sell 500ft rolls too.


I've become seriously spoiled by looking at a web page that has the complete product information, product name, cost in real time, etc. Perhaps I should shoot AV Sales a PM, see if they even carry it.
 

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They don't want to sell to you, a homeowner. Call a different one.


I just called City Electric in Columbus, and they quoted me a price of $215 for 100 feet, of a comparative brand to Carlon, 2" flexible non-metallic conduit.


Some of the Carlon Riser-Gard 2" conduit is only available in large reels; if the clerk picked the wrong one, on the computer, it may tell him the minimum of that model number, and not the generic standard-stock coil model.


I recently bought some 1.5" Carlon flex conduit from ASIHome/Worthington. Easier than going to store. The first time I bought conduit, I researched the heck out of it. The second time, took me 5 mins online.


You can learn a lot from the Carlon Flexible Raceway Brochure .
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad  /t/1467941/finding-a-local-electrical-supply-company-for-ht-needs/0_100#post_23210817


$74, plus shipping, for 50' of 2" orange Carlon, from Smarthome.

http://www.smarthome.com/2555/2-Inch-Flexible-Raceway-Tubing-50-feet/p.aspx

I found a cheap place online with affordable shipping. SmartHome claims cheap shipping.....but the item is heavy, so it's exempt. At $86.76 for shipping with SmartHome, that's exactly why I started looking locally!


ASIHome looks promising. Loeb Electric was the place I called this afternoon. They made it sound like they'd call right back, but I haven't heard back. I bet they accidentally "lost" my number.



I'm familiar with the brochure because it was helpful when I started looking @ Graybar. Perhaps local prices aren't really any cheaper like I thought they'd be. I'm really surprised that the price @ City Electric isn't better. I was thinking about calling them. I decided against it, when I realized that they don't list their locations in their locations, just phone numbers. I thought that was WEIRD!


I might check out Graybar before just ordering online.


Thanks for others who've helped!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Talked to Graybar, they were friendly and apparently take cash/credit customers (sweet!).


Surprisingly though, they said they don't really carry 2" flex conduit of any type normally. He said 1" flex was the largest they normally carried.


Hopefully Graybar is a good option for any other electrical needs (deep electrical boxes for Grafik Eye or something) , but 2" conduit apparently is a rather unusual item.


I'm sure they could special order it, but that that rate... I'll just buy it online.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred  /t/1467941/finding-a-local-electrical-supply-company-for-ht-needs/0_40#post_23212490


Is this a typo(maybe it's 1/2', not 2"?) or is this not the variety of conduit you want? I know you don't need metal for LV, but it seems like a good value, unless it's a bad product to use.


Southwire 2" metal conduit. 100ft, $60 - free to ship to store. Item #: 35549 | Model #: 55082303
http://www.lowes.com/pd_35549-295-55082303_0__?Ntt=35549&UserSearch=35549&productId=3193349&rpp=32
typo. it's 3/4". http://www.amazon.com/Southwire-55082303-100-Feet-Alflex-Type-Aluminum/dp/B000BPHNTA
 
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