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Old 09-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
karlkatzke
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Pros: I'm not a pro, how do I get DalTile to sell to me?

Sorry to invade the pro hangout, but I need some advice. I'm sure at least some of you have gotten your start the same way. I'm a consumer and only work on my own homes or the homes of friends. I've probably laid a thousand sq ft of (well-backed, well-set, level) tile this year. I have a consulting business here in Texas, but it's not tile-related.

I am currently tiling an entire 1600 sq ft. house -- which I own. I plan to order thinset by the pallet and by the product number, and I don't want the crappity crap that the big box stores sell. I can buy it from a local tile store, but their markup is ... slightly ridiculous (I'm paying north of $50/bag for Laticrete 317.)

How can I convince DalTile (or some other distributor of Laticrete products) in Houston that I'm worthy of being sold to? When I've gone in or called in the past, even just saying "Yeah, I need a pallet of laticrete 317, grey, a couple commercial units of spectralock pro in x color, and half a case of latasil in the matching color, cash account" they've said that they won't do cash accounts and won't sell to anyone without a Texas contractor's license. I know that's not true because I was watching fly-by-nights walk in and out of there as I was getting rejected, paying in literal cash.

Is there some special trick or handshake I need to know? Alternate suppliers I can try? I'm laying over DITRA and I'd be happy to use Mapei (or any decent unmodified, really -- but my Lowe's has switched over to the "no name" Mapei bags, not even Keraset) -- I just need to not be paying double the price for it, I need it in stock, fresh, and in quantity, and I need to be able to get a price ahead of time without getting the cold shoulder because I'm not doing entire commercial quantities.

Any ideas or suggestions that don't involve a four-year apprenticeship?
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:02 PM   #2
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Homedepot has versabond it is a good thinset white is around 16.00$
Gray 14.00$

they also have flexbond for 25.00$ or so.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:11 PM   #3
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All you need is a business account which requires a dba to set up a account at dal.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:12 PM   #4
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I'm with Amos, go to Home Depot and get Versabond.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
ceramictec
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here are other Laticrete distributors besides Daltile in Houston

American Marazzi Tile - Houston (8787 Clay Road) - 713.939.9500

American Marazzi Tile - Houston (3440 S. Sam Houston Parkway) - 713.734.4677

Floor & Decor - Houston, TX (West Oak - 14409 Park Hollow Drive) - 281.497.7175

Floor & Decor - Houston, TX (Almeda - 11542 Gulf Freeway) -713.944.1989

Floor & Decor #05 Houston, TX (N. Frwy - 17211 North Freeway) - 281.893.3035
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Homedepot has versabond it is a good thinset white is around 16.00$
Gray 14.00$


I bought a pallet and they discounted it after 20 bags. Ask when ordering what number of bags for contractor pricing to kick in.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:20 PM   #7
karlkatzke
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Versabond over DITRA? I thought that was verboten...
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:25 PM   #8
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Don't take this the wrong way but it is good to hear that Dal will not sell to you. Our initial investment to commit to Dal was 2000 in displaying merchandise not to mention the updates. my competition one hour away committed to 30,000 to dal program. Yes this is mainly tile merchandising but they are protecting the guys who day in and out spec and push their products. Again don't want you to take my post the wrong way. Good luck with your project.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:39 PM   #9
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If you're deadset on Laticrete I'd do what Brian said and take my business elsewhere. Doing business with your local DalTile as a DBA is only as easy as it's store manager. Some are great to work with and others .........

On another note y'all coming to Miss State in StarkVegas for the game? And welcome to the SEC.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:24 PM   #10
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Walk in and act like you own the place, I dunno mine sells to anyone, economy is bad they want their money.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:27 PM   #11
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Lump: Definitely don't take it the wrong way. I understand the commitments that retailers make to sell and support a brand. I'm not buying *tile*, though, I'm buying ancillary products that Dal is a distributor for. I'd totally understand if Laticrete had a warehouse and wouldn't sell to me direct.

I should point out that my "business," if I have one, beside making my own homes comfortable, is "helping" people in my generation who didn't grow up with a handyman for a father, but who have purchased homes in need of some TLC during the government incentive periods. These are people who could not afford your services... in fact, they can't afford anything but DIY. I help my friends and people who are recommended to me make good choices (e.g. travertine shower = bad idea if you're on a budget) and then provide the tools and experience to get them started on their own DIY projects. I'm not taking money out of anyone's project. The median price of the homes my friends own is about 90k. We're poor 20somethings. I just happen to have accumulated/inherited a ton of tools and knowledge, and I've learned more by hanging around places like this website.

I'm semi-deadset on laticrete because they've got the only products i haven't had flat-out failures with. I'm fully aware I'm not a pro, but every laticrete product and every schluter product works for me every single time I've used it without hassle. I'm willing to pay a premium, just not as big a premium as the local shops want to drive the stuff up 2 hours from Houston. I can pick it up in Houston myself if I can find someone willing to sell to me. Custom/CBP materials have ruined more of my tasks than they have helped. Mapei... the tradename Mapei stuff is fine, the stuff they sell at big box stores is like government cheese.

What's weird is that despite all the hacks in the tile business, I have no problem whatsoever walking in to an electrical wholesaler and buying products I have no right to buy and that are flat out dangerous if installed incorrectly. "I need 6 4" IC can lights, a pair of 15 amp AFCI square-D breakers, 2 moisture resistant trim sets for the can lights and four white trim number X, a 500 foot spool of 12-2 romex, and a box of ground screws." Boom, I'm out the door at wholesale prices. Same experience in my actual trade, where I end up occasionally doing a bunch of low voltage work. "10 thousand-foot boxes of cat6 pvc, a case of panduit keystones, wall plates, patch panels, low voltage boxes, please. Email the estimate to my boss and he'll respond with a credit card number." "Here ya go."

I have great relationships with my electrical distributors, my plumbing distributors, my paint distributors, my Lowe's pro desk, and my lumberyard pro desks. (84, Clarke's, and McCoy's). I have commercial cash accounts and some credit accounts at all those places. It's only the tile world I can't seem to find a solid supplier for. I'm not even asking for discounts, although I sometimes receive them. I'm happy to buy at retail, just not retail + 50-100% markup.

I suppose I'll try a few other Dal & Merazzi warehouses or retail outlets and see what prices and service I get ... I'm lucky in that I'm flexible on timing with this. Given my experience with the other trades, I expected to be able to walk in with a sole prop tax ID and part numbers and have them sell to me as long as I wasn't wasting their time.
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"Itís not enough to be aware of the domain youíre working in, you need to understand it. Noticing things and being curious about how they work is the single most common trait I see in creative people. Once you can break the components down, you can put them back together into something brand new." - Seth Godin

Last edited by karlkatzke; 09-27-2012 at 10:55 PM. Reason: Added paragraph about what I do with these materials.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:35 PM   #12
Brad Denny
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Sometimes exchanges happen out in the parking lot of my Dal, at the counter even. Might just ask a guy going in to buy it for you. You need not know his price, and he might make a few bucks off the transaction.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:26 AM   #13
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You say you are happy to buy retail, yet you are here asking to buy wholesale because retail mark up is too high.
You are in fact trying to cheat the system, It is set up that way for a reason. please respect that.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:36 AM   #14
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Sorry, man, but I have to agree with Lump and Precision tile. It's that way for a reason, now excuse me, I have to go pick up 2 bags of Laticrete 4XLT thinset @ Dal on my way to work.

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:45 AM   #15
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What Gueuze said.

Now excuse me,I need to confirm a delivery w Daltile for over 3000 sq ft and a pallet of XLT!!
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