I'm always on the lookout for good suppliers. One of my favourite hardware stores is Booth & Taylor in Annandale. I like them because the guys who work there really know their stuff. The other day, I went in to get some paint and the sample I had couldn't be put on the computer for matching. So the paint guy expertly matched the paint by hand. They also have nearly everything I need, are close to home and offer really good solutions and suggestions for how to do things better. A good hardware store is a dying breed, largely displaced by the big box chain store where service is hit or miss and products are often out of stock. While that store's prices are usually lower, when I factor in all the elements that mean 'value', the guys at Booth & Taylor get my vote.
Sometimes I've found trades suppliers to be condescending. At one place I went to recently, I asked for a trade discount and the guy asked for my trade card. Being a handyman, the state doesn't have a licensing scheme for us, so I don't have a trade card. Being a foreigner to this country, I didn't even know what one was. And the smarmy guy behind the counter wasn't cutting me any slack. I felt like he was telling me I wasn't allowed into his club.
Sometimes homeowners plan to do things themselves to save some money and despite their best intentions, it doesn't work out. Case in point: Today a client asked me to install a retractable clothesline, strung between a building and a post. The new one looked just like the old one. I removed the old one, drilled new fixing points, installed it and pulled the new line out to connect to the post. Only it didn't reach. Because it was a meter short. The homeowner didn't check the length specified on the box (6.7 meters maximum) and bought one that was too short. And they bought it so long ago, they can't exchange it for the right one. So now we have to get a new post, dig a hole and plant the post in concrete. An expensive addition to a simple project. Carpenters like to say "measure twice, cut once." In this case, just measuring once would have saved a lot of time, effort and money. This is the kind of thing I work hard to avoid by following procedures that ensure things fit before I make the effort of installing them. Measure twice, buy once is always cheaper than measure once, buy twice.
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Contrast that with the help I get at Inner West Security. I've bought stuff from them several times and have always had a good experience. The other day I was having trouble on an installation and I rang them up and the guy talked me right through the problem. They recently installed the intercom system in my townhouse complex. The guy who installed it gave us each a tutorial, at 7am, so no one missed work. He too was really courteous and polite. I think they're tops.
Helping Hands Helpful Hints
Here are some product hints, helpful links, resources and information that I find helpful. Feel free to suggest others, including tradesmen or other professionals that you like.