electrical supply house vs. home store


Old 01-01-08, 07:54 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
electrical supply house vs. home store

I'm doing a wiring project and one thing I need is about 50' of 6/3 romex. This goes for $114 at the local home improvement store. On a whim, I called one of the local electrical contractor supply places (which I think will also sell to me as a homeowner) and asked their price: $87.

That is a *huge* difference. It makes me wonder if this is true across the board? Do people mostly avoid the home stores for electrical supplies?
Sponsored Links
Old 01-01-08, 08:16 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley
Posts: 72
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Mostly true

How else do you think the big box stores pay for all the bonuses to management? One would think with all their buying power things would be cheaper but the reality is that they must mark everything up to pay for all the stores they build.

Also at the electrical supply stores the customer service is a whole lot better.

Old 01-01-08, 08:27 PM
nap's Avatar
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,162
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Actually, there are times my boss buys 5 or 10 thousand feet of #12 thhn stranded from Lowes rather than the supply houses because it is cheaper there AT THE MOMENT.

Copper, especially, is very volitile in price. Sometimes since Lowes buys huge lots, they have wire on the shelf they bought at a lower price than the local houses and they tend to not mark it up more just becaue the current lot coming in was higher priced, although they could and never really be questioned. COnversely, I have also seen where they had the highter priced copper on the shelf from the higher priced lot while the supply houses not had the lower priced stuff.

Just have to shop around.
Old 01-02-08, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,807
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I will echo Nap's comment as well becasue myself and Nap [few other as well ] we are electrician by trade and we go thru large amout of wires.

I do check both big box store and electrical supply centre for good price and if you was watching the thread sometime back when the price of copper went up the roof things went kinda little insane not only happend in USA but it did happend other countries as well.

but right now the copper price somehow stablized or drop now but i really doubt it will stay low for while it may go back up without a warning.

right now not too long ago i did check the price of #10 THHN/THWN's between the big box and electrical supply centre both are pretty close right now.

typically i get ave of 5K feet at time but for much larger wire like 2/0 CU that diffrent story [ i think nap will back me this one anyway ] i useally get it in full spool of it i know few of you will tell me i am insane but i am not for good reason because i work on alot of service call and i go thru this wire like nuts.

p.s if some reader want to know what spool mean it mean 500' very large roll i get this with common single phase colour [ red black and white ] from one wire manufacter.

Merci, Marc
Old 01-02-08, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 160
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
These big box stores buy in bulk for all their stores, so if they are buying pallets of 250' 14/2 nmb or 12/2 nmb there is no supply store that can match their price. That also goes for single gang nail on's, sp switches,bulk receptacles, ceiling fans, and the likes.

when it comes to larger gauge wires the demand drops off from the homeowner/do it yourself'r.

this is where you see the prices are up higher at the big box store compared the electrical supply store.

spools of single wire are competitive in smaller wire sizes 14-10, but when you start moving into larger wire, the supply stores have more demand so they get it cheaper.

the other thing you see now is, in order to stay in business the supply stores are giving discount prices to the walk in customer, where in the past that was only reserved for electricians doing bulk business with them.
Old 01-02-08, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,970
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
brewaholic stole my thunder. A non-commercial customer (ie a homeowner) may pay a different price at the electrical supply store (the retail price) than an electrician (who may get the wholesale price). This is because the electrician will be buying more from the supply store (in the long run anyway) and the supply store wants their business.

This is changing, however, as more and more homeowners and electricians want to pay a better price and will shop around.

Bottom line, make it clear when calling a store for pricing that you are a homeowner, and not a contractor.
Old 01-02-08, 01:53 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 43 Votes on 41 Posts
It's hard to make a comparison based on the price of copper wire as it changes very often much like gasoline. There are always some items cheaper at the supply house and some cheaper at the big box. There is no universal markup at either store. The big difference is that the supply house can get you nearly anything by special order and the big boxes have pretty limited stock available in store or by order plus the clerks at the supply house actually know the stuff they are selling.

typically i get ave of 5K feet at time but for much larger wire like 2/0 CU that diffrent story [ i think nap will back me this one anyway ] i useally get it in full spool of it i know few of you will tell me i am insane but i am not for good reason because i work on alot of service call and i go thru this wire like nuts.
Wow Marc. Does that 5k spool of 2/0 come with an armed security guard?
Old 01-02-08, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: (near) Boise, ID
Posts: 441
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
With all the plastic plumbing now, I thought the demand for copper would stabilize.
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: