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Give money directly to builders or go through a dealer?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by blindrabbit, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. I should start off by saying that I have a distinct bias towards buying from small builders and businesses. I have tremendous respect for the work and creativity that these people have, and their commitment to giving us new and exciting projects despite often having such tight margins that it barely makes their ork worth their time.

    I've got a few pedals that I'm eyeballing for purchase, and while I typically buy used, this time around I'm considering purchasing new for a variety of reasons. In each case, I could buy the pedal directly from the builder, or I could purchase it from an online (and reportedly reputable and reliable) dealer.

    I've noticed though that the builders have their pedals priced at a certain amount - lets call it $200 for sake of discussion - and then add shipping on top of that - lets call that $20 - for a total of $220.

    If I go to the dealer site, I can have the exactly same pedal at a discounted price - call it $175 - and discounted shipping - call that $5 - for a total of $180.

    Altogether, we are talking about close to a 20% difference in cost out of pocket for two of the exact same pedal. I'm going to bet that the builder had to supply his pedals to the dealer at about 50% or so retail in order to get the distribution, which is why they can cut costs to have sales.

    Now, I would much prefer the builder to have my money, but I would also like to have 20% more money in my pocket (to buy more pedals with!). It has left me thinking - why not contact the buyer directly and ask if they'd like to sell me the pedal for the same $180 that I'd pay the dealer (as opposed to the $220 it says on their website)? It should end up with more money in their pocket, right? If it was only about the money, I'd just buy from the dealer without batting an eye (or hold out for a lightly used one around here!).

    Maybe this violates some sort of dealer agreement, or causes too much hassle for builders, or something else that I'm not fully aware of. It would be great to hear from some of the smaller independent builders on this one as to whether or not this is a reasonable thing to do. I certainly don't want to offend or upset any of these guys, but I am interested in getting them more money, and getting a better deal myself.
  2. JonnyAngle

    JonnyAngle Dropping Acid Pedal Etching .com Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Maple Grove, MN
    If you buy direct from the builder, they are supposed to collect sales tax. If they sell to a re seller they do not. Something to consider...
  3. Earthquaker devices prefer that you buy from dealers, because it takes them too long to get it to you. I would by from dealers. Not only is it cheaper, but your not wasting the builders time by making them box a pedal then arrange shipping. That's what dealers are for.

    However, Dwarcraft doesn't seem to mind shipping stuff to you. And they are quick about it. It maybe a situational thing. Do what's easiest for you and most likely it was easiest for the builder as well.
  4. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    Bear in mind that designing and building pedals is a very different skill set from sales and small business management. I've read numerous stories on this forum about builders who did top quality work but their business fell apart because they didn't have the skills or time needed for management, marketing, bookkeeping etc. You may be doing both the builder and yourself a favor by working with the middle man. Or not.
  5. Interesting points here already.

    One thing to note though is that all of the pedals/builders I'm looking at are ones who do sell directly through their own website or whatnot, its not like I'm asking a builder to give special consideration to doing a once-off deal with me. The tax implications comment is an interesting one too, I can see how that might complicate things in a small but annoying manner.

    I think that the main issue could be related to agreements with the dealers, where the pedals will only be carried under the premise that the builder won't undercut them by selling for less on their own website or something.

    Does anyone think that a builder would be offended by receiving an email asking this question to them? I suppose I could go directly to the individual sources for the information and opinions.

  6. if the price is cheaper for you thru distribution it sounds like an incentive to go that route. as others have said i think it's a case by case & regional basis. some manufacturers seem well equipped to pack & ship while others are better off leaving that to someone else. these are small businesses in the process of growing. perhaps their web store is there for regions the distributor doesn't reach.
  7. Cipher2012


    Apr 25, 2012
    Also consider that the builders usually will not under sell their dealers. That is a quick way to loose dealers and distribution of your products. It is also why you usually see higher prices from the source than the end resellers.
  8. Yeah, this is what I'm thinking is the main reason for the difference, and also why I'm reluctant to even ask a builder if they'd match the "coupon" price or whatnot - wouldn't want to even risk them getting in trouble.