Fastenal VS Grainger

How do you guys rate the two suppliers against each other. In terms of price, product line, availability, and customer service?
Thank you for your input,
J James
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Both great vendors...
I personally order from McMaster Carr first. (Or J&L if its tooling.) They have an unbeatable combination of service, selection, service, fair price, and service. Oh, did I mention they have the world's best service?
If McMaster don't have it, and its a bolt screw etc. then Fastenall. If McMaster don't have it and its HVAC or electrical then Grainger.
Karl
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Yeah, McM don't play! :) Very efficient. MSC as well.
But ito of prices, McMs prices are almost identical, if not a cent or two higher, to MSC's Strangely, tho, altho their catalog is smaller (at least by weight!), they seem to have more "odd" sizes, eg, 1x5 mm dowel pins, whilst MSC *starts* at 3 mm--ditto bearings, etc. MSC/McM will also try to find odd-er sizes for you. But not always successfully.
For example, I thought I wanted 1x4 mm dowels. I know a place by me (metric multistandard, Westchester, NY 800 431 2792--very good comprehensive resource for "stuff") that had them , but the price was thru the roof--$17/100 (about 1/4 of one thimble-full), whereas McM is asking about $7 for the 1x5. So I asked McM if they could get 1x4--no go; apparently they don't know about metric multi! (Turns out I can use the 1x5s, thank gawd...)
Altho their prices are certainly better than Metric Multi's, I'm still not wild about the prices--the markups are *substantial*, by a factor of 3 in some cases, as I was able to personally verify. However, their (MSCs) prices on boxed items, like sheetmetal screws, nuts, etc. seems far better than HD or yer local hard-on, I mean, hardware store.
Yer local tool supplier likely has accounts w/ MSC/McM, so if you need an odd small item where the shipping will be greater than the item itself, your tool supplier can order from them and likely absorb the shipping, as they probably do this for a bunch of people. Really handy if you do this regularly, as I do.
Grainger drops the hammer, tho--merciless. Best to find an alternative source for motors, if you can. ebay is good, yer local rewinding place has hundreds lying around, scrap yards, etc.
Never heard of Fastenall. Good to know! ---------------------------- Mr. P.V.'d formerly Droll Troll

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We have accounts with both Grainger and Fastenall. For what we buy there is no crossover, so can't compare prices. We buy wire and floor cleaning material from Grainger. Some screws, bolts and spray-can chemicals from Fastenall. The Grainger items are all shipped UPS, but usually come next day. Fastenall has stores in Bend and Redmond. The Redmond store is just a few short steps from our plant.
Pricewise, neither them or McMaster-Carr can compete with the local screw and bolt salesman when you order in big lots.
Each source has it's pluses and minuses.
Paul, Jodeco, Inc. Redmond, OR
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Thanks to all for your responses. It was for a little research on my end more than anything. To be honest, I have worked for one, for about 10 years, not any more, I left recently. Guess which one., LOL
Having been an Industy insider for so many years I can give feedback from a little different point of view. McMaster I think has the best availability. 99.9% of what they have in that book is avail for same day shipping. But I believe, much like MSC, they have a minimum order. Johnstone is ok from what I have heard from customer, more of an HVAC shop more than anything, all are independently owned and operated.
Watch your prices at Grainger, they just rolled out a new pricing structure, ask your rep about it. Basicly, if you aren't spending more than $10K a year, your discount will be about 0, or pretty close, the idea is to consolidate all your pruchases with one supplier and save, as long as they can deliver, good luck on that one. Also, not the most technically proficient staff, if you don't know that 5 digit part number when you come to the counter or call, you are somewhat of a burden on them, I've seen some pretty bad service scenerios , unless you have a customer service person who knows what they are doing, thats about 2% of their customer facing staff, your on your own.. Their tech support is pretty good as an alternative. They do have a great discount program for customers, as long as you can prove you are a legit contractor.
Fastenal, nuts and bolts, thats their thing, anything you want, and if they dont have it, they can make it. Don't have alot of experience with them.
Questions? Feedback. Tell me some experiences, good and bad. I'd really like to hear.
FJJ
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If that is so, the minimum is very small. My regular orders at mcmaster are about $20 or so.
i
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Understandable and that works for some, but not all. I don't personally understand why minimums get some people all worked up. Where I worked, there were no min's, but who cares, you are proably going to be paying, if it is for shipment, $10 in freight anyways, the cheapest I have seen is $7.50, sorry to say I don't remember who it was. I also, to make my point post more pointless, believe that shipping is not part of your order total.
More food for thought from someone who has alot of thoughts to spill. Anyone hae any questions about Grainger??? I have a good knack for answering those..LOL
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I'm happy for this thread. I had never heard of Fastenal except maybe in passing. I started looking and lo and behold they just opened a store right here in my town. Their prices are pretty high on a lot of stuff but they say they can get almost anything in their catalog to their store in 24 hours. We'll see.
Always nice to have another place to shop ..
GWE
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Thank you for the kind words. Keep the supplier questions comming.
Grant Erwin wrote:

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Fastenal is almost exactly as the name implies, fasters. They carry every nut and bolt you can think of and usually have it on the shelf and they are a manufacturer as well and can make things to your specs, with a certain amount of lead time I'm sure. I didn't work for them, I spent ten years at Grainger, not the place IMO to gor for fasteners, unless it is anchors (RedHeads, ect..) It is almost like it is made to seem like it wasnt worth the time to persue it, IMO. Not to mention they only sold in "bulk" qty, which could be anywhere from 10-25 for a very large bolt, to 500 for smaller ones. Fastenal, though, keeps it think and carries very little inventory in stock, but can usually, as most of the suppliers ship it to you or will call it for you for the next day.
As I said. I spent 10 years in supply and have a vast amount of experience I can help with. Please throw your questions, comments and experices my way. I have decided not to continue my career in MRO (Maint, Repair, and Operating, Supplies). But in moving on, I have an insiders point of view I would be happy to share with customers that maybe you guys have questions on. I can't share any sensitive info, but maybe I can help. So please keep the post going.
I loved to help my customers and maybe I just can't let go, LOL.
Having a hard time locating something? Post it here and let me see if I can help you!
Thank you for the kind words!
J Jamez
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fram snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Sure. How about a can of paint in Ridgid red-orange, or a reasonable facsimile? Grainger carries paint almost that color, but it's marking paint, gotta hold the can upside down and who knows if it sticks to metal? Best I can do colorwise is Krylon Chevy Orange engine enamel, and it isn't that close, and I already own way too many tools to go investing in spray guns ..
GWE
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On Sat, 12 Nov 2005 04:13:38 -0800, Grant Erwin

Stupid question: Have you asked Ridgid if they sell it in spray cans? I found nothing on their website, you'll have to ask.
Several companies that I've dealt with have their "special" paint color custom-bottled in spray cans for them by their paint suppliers for touch-up use, and you can either buy it off the shelf or order it through any product supplier. As example, the special tan-orange (old) and off-white (new) colors of Wiremold surface raceway.
For a dozen piss-cans to an end user, no paint company will bother with a custom color. For a few hundred cases a year to the manufacturer and the promise of regular reorders, yeah, they'll set up one or two production runs a year. As long as you supply them with label artwork or paper labels for the cans. Printed cans are extra.
Worst case: You get the paint color recipe from Ridgid or have a paint shop use a chromatograph on a new tool and duplicate it, and go buy a cheap touch-up gun at Harbor Fright.
--<< Bruce >>--
--
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
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Yes, I've called Ridgid and googled extensively .. they were the ones who suggested Krylon Chevy Orange. For some time now I've been scrounging Ridgid drophead threaders and refurbishing them to resell, here's an example which I painted with the Chevy orange:
http://www.tinyisland.com/images/temp/12R.jpg
I know a lot about Ridgid drophead dies now, sort of useless knowledge but I do know that at least right now there are sure a lot of guys who look for these on ebay.
GWE
Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

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On Sat, 12 Nov 2005 04:13:38 -0800, Grant Erwin

There used to be in town here a auto paint store that could custom mix and put into a spray can just about any lacquer or enamel color you could want. Just bring in a sample of the color and the guy would mix and match. Sadly he had the bad grace to get old and retire.
Maybe check with local auto paint stores and see if they can do the same for you.
Errol Groff
Instructor, Machine Tool Department
H.H. Ellis Technical High School 643 Upper Maple Street Danielson, CT 06239
New England Model Engineering Society www.neme-s.org
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My local fastener supply [not Fastenall] went from being very helpful with some odd size screws four years ago, to putting up a big sign that says "Wholesale Only". It looks to me like they are about to go belly up. Most of their trade was walk-ins like me. Seems kind of dumb to cut off a large portion of your sales even though they require a little investment in time and tact. Just my 2 cents worth. Bugs
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Hi Bugs,
Being a Sales Rep for a wholesale only supplier has always bothered me a little bit. Sometimes it was a policy for the better, sometimes not. I would get a local person, a homeowner who would come to the counter or call and need some miniscule part like a sprocket or something, and because they were not a business, I could not make the sale. It made for the most part a difficult interaction with the customer. Then again, I would get the same type of customer who would come in and would be looking for a pair of Linesman gloves because they wanted to work on the electrical box in their home and needed to grab the electrical lines. In that case they were sent packing, LOL. But in most cases, if you have a sales rep in front of you who is not too tightly wound, they, in WWG case can do a one time "accomadation sale", OR, we are all employed to en extent in some way, the company you work for may have an account, and you as an employee should be able to use that account and pay cash or credit card. Again, both of these scenerios depend on the type of item you are trying to buy. Some items are sold wholesale B2B for a reason.. As in the case I illustrated above with the Linesmans Gloves. Or say a gas valve or something sensitive like that.
JMS
Bugs wrote:

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Grant Erwin wrote:

I, too, was in a Fastenal store the other day and was quite surprised. I've seen a few other fastener suppliers, but none who put it all out on the shelves like Fastenal do.
What really surprised me, though, was that there are 4 stores within 20 miles of Portland (Maine). They said they have 1,800 stores now, and are opening new ones every day. Hard to see why that makes sense - I'd rather see one store in the area, with a greater inventory.
They had what I wanted - button head cap screws - in a size and length that MSC and some of the others consider a special size and price accordingly. Imported, and cheap.
John Martin
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Mcmaster's minimum order is $.01......Randy


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On 8 Nov 2005 23:46:42 -0800, fram snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

There is a Fastenal store just north of the town I work in, one in the town I live in and another just south of here. Occassionally I wish I could buy the two or three of what I need instead of a box of 50 or 100 but I have to admit everything I have bought from them gets used eventurally.
MSC I sort wish they would slow down their rapid delivery. Just kidding of course but they really spoil us and when we have to deal with other companies we expect (but don't usually get) the same lightening service.
McMaster-Carr Excellent service and selection. I have gotten a number of items there I was not able to find anywhere else.
I am building the Ben Fleming designed EDM unit and have had to order from a variety of on line sources and believe me some of those sites ain't pretty. We are sooo spoiled by MSC and McM!
I try to deal with local folks whenever possible and a favorite place is Piela Electric in Preston, CT Any bearing problem can be resolved there and they are a Grainger outlet also.
Speaking of Grainger. I wanted to order a submersible pump for the EDM. Went on line and the web site says they are strictly wholesale. I remembered that there is a Grainger store in Waterford, CT and bopped on down there after school one day last week. The counter guy said no problem and the pump was there next morning. Good enough for me and now I have a new place to go and poke around and buy things I probalby could get along without.
Errol Groff
Instructor, Machine Tool Department
H.H. Ellis Technical High School 643 Upper Maple Street Danielson, CT 06239
New England Model Engineering Society www.neme-s.org
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