Gary Crowley

Crowley Construction

Burlington, Vt.

Big50 2002

I spread out my window and door purchases between two suppliers. All building materials go through one. They have the best delivery service. You can have the materials at the job eight to 12 hours after ordering. I use another supplier for millwork. For ceramic tile, I deal with a store that sells only tile. For kitchens and baths, I deal with a single supplier. My plumber and electrician furnish their own materials.

I don't use big box stores at all. Their service is atrocious. And the prices all average out. If you're building a deck and you spend $2,000 in materials, you may save $50 at The Home Depot over the local lumberyard, but that's peanuts. So we stay loyal.

David Tyson

David Tyson Inc.

Charlotte, N.C.

Big50 1998

In terms of materials and supplies, I give about 70% or 75% to a single lumber supplier, because he can serve our account very well. But I also spread my purchases among many because I don't believe in putting all my eggs in one basket. And it helps keep them honest. On cabinets, I'm not married to anybody. I'll work with the client, and with many other vendors too.

Steve Lusk

Lusk Building & Remodeling Co.

San Diego

Big50 1996

We spread them out. We use about 17 suppliers right now. Often the technical expertise and guidance for what we buy rests with our supplier. Volume discounts are something we'd consider, but service and technical support are more important to me than price. If I order something incorrectly, my suppliers will help get it returned. I can buy trusses and lumber cheaper at The Home Depot, but I just don't get the level of quality in those areas that I require, and there's indifference in the way orders are processed.

Shannon Kanyuck

P.K. Kanyuck Construction Co.

Kirkwood, Mo.

Big50 2001

We go by what the architect will specify on a plan. We have certain companies we buy certain types of products from. Our lumber comes from 84 Lumber. We use another supplier for redwood for fascia boards. We use an Illinois company for laminate countertops and another for granite. If the client wants custom cabinets, we have several suppliers we'll bid from. I feel we get a better selection and better prices by checking around.

Mike Owings

Owings Brothers Contracting

Eldersburg, Md.

Big50 2001

I would say that 80% to 90% of our lumber and our windows go through one lumberyard. That's been the case for 10 years. They're niched into remodeling. They just want to move lumber and they know they're not going to be stuck for the bill at the end of the month. If the job calls for a window brand they don't carry, we go and seek that out.

When we go to plumbing fixtures, we work with one plumbing fixture consultant. We maintain loyalty and I think there's huge value in that. Vendors give us good service, delivery, and follow-up. It's the intangibles that make a difference.

Alan Derrick

Derrick Design and Remodeling

Huntsville, Ala.

Big50 2001

We have a favorite and then a couple of back-ups. We use several lumberyards for boards. But generally, we spread our purchases out, depending on what our client needs. Not everything's available from the same people, and different vendors have different products and services. So if a client just wants a set of bath accessories, we might go to a home center, but if they want high fashion accessories, we might go to a plumbing supply house.