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Straight Skinny on Stuller Metals Pricing


#1

OK, I was WRONG WRONG WRONG about Stuller’s pricing mechanism. In
my own defense, I was told over the phone that I was getting the 50
oz price on my wire and sheet when I bought it (in fact they went to
considerable trouble to stop and add up total weight until I hit 50
oz), but in fact I did not get that pricing.

So I’ve been leaving a trail of misabout Stuller and now
I have to go back picking up the crumbs all over the Internet.
Here’s the scoop:

Due to a major foul-up in the way they have implemented their
automated ordering system, they price metals according to EACH
INDIVIDUAL ITEM that you buy. E.g., you get 10 oz of 24g wire, you
get the 10 oz pricing on that, but if you get 3 oz of 18g wire, you
get the 3 oz pricing on that.

In order to try to get around this horrendous pricing system (one
which I was flabbergasted to discover in place anywhere in this
country) which is apparently built into their automated system, they
implemented something called the “metals club”, where, whatever you
order in a six month period all gets glommed together for a bulk
discount rebate. In other words, they figure the rate out by hand for
your average purchases over a 6 month period and send you money back.
This is where the "we discount all types of metals at one bulk rate"
comes from. It’s done by hand, up to 6 months after the fact.

However, that doesn’t work for those of us who buy in bulk once in a
blue moon in order to get the bulk rate - divide my 50 oz purchase
up over 6 months and I don’t even get the 10 oz rate. It also
doesn’t work for buying clubs, because even if you do a buy every
month, no buy club member wants to wait 6 months to get a rebate, and
no buy club organizer wants to have to figure out what each
individual buy club member needs to be getting back somewhere six
months down the road. Or how to get the credit to them. It would be a
nightmare.

The fellow I talked to at Stuller (who is on this list and was VERY
nice to me) was very sympathetic to my dislike of this method of
billing, but apparently its been a losing battle to get this changed
at Stuller because its a flaw in their system design that would
require huge changes to their network/infrastructure.

Unfortunately, its not going to change any time soon. Fortunately,
Rio Grande is going to start selling Argentium Silver in August. I
don’t know what other metals wholesalers will be carrying Argentium,
or when they’ll start carrying it, but eventually everybody should
be carrying it.

I didn’t notice this on my invoice because they list pennyweight
prices instead of ounce prices on the invoice. I had to order in
inches but they invoiced in pennyweights (and I’m used to buying per
ounce). Had I done the math, I’d have realized I was WAY OVERPAYING
for my Argentium. But I was going by what I was told over the phone,
which was that I was getting the 50 oz discount. The difference
between what I actually paid and what I THOUGHT I was going to pay
amounted to somewhere around $120. That’s an awful lot of silver I
could have bought somewhere else.

So I no longer recommend Stuller. Sorry, Stuller. Fix your pricing
and I’ll love you again.

In the meantime, I’m switching my allegiance back to Rio Grande.
They’ll have Argentium in August, so I guess I’ll put my next metals
buy off until then.

Sojourner


#2

Zen,

Thank you for posting that Two days ago I ordered a
small amount of gold and silver from Stuller. 4 different guages and
karats, I generally order from Hauser and Miller who does add it all
up for the discount and I just assumed everyone did the same thing
but I needed a new pair of pliers and I thought I would save on
shipping.

I did think it was a little odd that when I asked for an oz. of
argentium wire, I was asked how many inches I wanted, their system
was unable to accept ounces.

And to all of the suppliers out there who monitor Orchid, will
someone please explain to me why if I order 1 oz. of wire it is one
price. But if I am teaching a workshop, and I order 8 spools of 1 oz.
each, there is an additional charge per spool. It just doesn’t make
sense to me.

If it weren’t for the shipping I would do better to make 8 phone
calls and order 1 ounce each time and pay less. Should you consider
some kind of educational exception to the rule?

Betty Belmonte


#3
    In the meantime, I'm switching my allegiance back to Rio
Grande. They'll have Argentium in August, so I guess I'll put my
next metals buy off until then. 

Hi, don’t forget that Hoover and Strong has Argentium Sterling, too.
You can buy from Stern-Leach if you put together an order of 100
ounces (or less, if you are already a regular customer of theirs).
I’ve been told by Kevin Whitmore at Rio that they will have
Argentium available by the end of June. Who told you that it would
not be until August? (Meantime, I have written to Kevin at Rio to
check on how things are going…) BTW, I am told that Rio built a
new stockroom for Argentium Sterling, to make sure that the two
silvers don’t get mixed up---- which I find interesting…

Cindy
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#4
    I did think it was a little odd that when I asked for an oz.
of argentium wire, I was asked how many inches I wanted, their
system was unable to accept ounces. 

Also strange is that, after reading James Gilbert’s post about the
availability of Argentium Silver solder being only in 1/4 ounce
sheets, I called in an order yesterday and was told by the
salesperson that it is available by pennyweight. I ordered three dwt
of each, and will measure it this afternoon to see how many inches
that is. I’m guessing for now that one inch = one dwt.

     And to all of the suppliers out there who monitor Orchid,
will someone please explain to me why if I order 1 oz. of wire it
is one price. But if I am teaching a workshop, and I order 8 spools
of 1 oz. each, there is an additional charge per spool. It just
doesn't make sense to me. 

Most suppliers add a labor charge for spooling wire, just as there
is a labor charge for cutting and/or forming the metal.

James in SoFl


#5
    I called in an order yesterday and was told by the salesperson
that it is available by pennyweight. I ordered three dwt of each,
and will measure it this afternoon to see how many inches that is.
I'm guessing for now that one inch = one dwt. 

And I guessed wrong. After being assured on the telephone that I
could order 3 pennyweights of Argentium Sterling solder, what
actually arrived was 5 pennyweights, or 1/4 ounce as advertised here
on Orchid. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t mind so much, but each bag
containing the 5 pennyweights contained two sheets totaling 5 dwt.
Now, I’m somewhat confused. Mr. Gilbert tells us, and I quote
(rather, I cut-and-paste):

AS promised, Argentium solders are here! You can get easy, medium,
and hard in 1/4 oz sheets...The measure 3" x 1.6" x 30 ga... 

Then, the salesperson on the phone tells me I can order as little as
1 dwt. I order three, receive five, and they are cut into TWO sheets
the size that Mr. Gilbert describes, not one sheet as he stated in
his original description. If 5 dwt consists of two sheets, perhaps
one may order 2 1/2 dwt?

Hopefully, the confusion is caused by the fact that Argentium Silver
solder is a very new product in Stuller’s line. Mr. Gilbert, or any
Stuller rep, please help clear up the confusion.

James in SoFl


#6

Hello! I’m really happy to find a place like this! I still can
believe Argentium Silver exists, I love silver and my dream was to
find something that can be as Argentium Silver. Thanks Eva
Martin…I saw it on your page two days ago. Congratulations your
work is divine!

Can somebody tell my the approximate cost per ounce (or however they
sell it)?

Thanks

Rosy Arrasco
Goblina Arte Infinito


#7

Hello Orchidians,

There are several issues being posted concerning Stuller’s pricing
and ordering methods. I will comment on some of these below…

  • Argentium Solders: These new solders are sold by the EACH, instead
    of by the inch. If you order 1 each, you are ordering 1 sheet that
    weighs approximately 5 dwts (1/4 oz). I will research what happened
    on James in SoFl’s order… (James, my apologies for any problems
    with your order).

  • Ordering by the inch: In the future, Stuller will be able to enter
    orders by weight as well as by length. Currently, we must convert a
    request for a specific weight of wire to the appropriate length,
    before entering the request in our system.

  • DWT vs. Troy Oz: Stuller’s unit of measure for all metal qualities
    is currently DWT. I fully realize that OZ is the standard for silver
    products, as I worked in the silver business for 20 years at Swest,
    prior to joining Stuller. We will make the conversion to OZ in the
    future (for silver and gold-filled; Dwt is the standard UOM for karat
    gold and platinum).

Note that 20.00 dwt = 1.00 Troy Oz

  • Price Combining: It is true that Stuller does not combine multiple
    line items for the total quantity price break on each individual
    order. This is why the Metals Price Club was created. (I know it is
    not beneficial for one-time orders: see below). However, Stuller’s
    individual pricing per product is competitive with the industry.

  • The Metals Price Club: This program was designed to offset not
    offering price combining per order. Stuller asks that you tell us
    what your average usage is per month, and will set your level to the
    corresponding price break. There are no rebates involved with this
    program as was previously suggested within this thread. You get your
    pricing up front, based on what you tell us you use. This program is
    extremely beneficial to those that order once a month or more, as
    Stuller allows you to combine a whole months worth of silver orders
    for a total price break, instead of just “per order”. Stuller will
    review your usage after six months, and let you know if your estimate
    was close. Note that there is not a contract or penalty if you do not
    meet your original estimated purchase volume, but there is an
    opening order requirement. Also note that if you are set up at the 20
    oz level and you order 50 oz’s of a line item, you will get the 50 oz
    rate, not the 20 oz rate. Also note that if you exceed your estimated
    average volume per month, Stuller will automatically move your
    pricing to the new level achieved, and let you know that you now
    qualify for even better pricing.

This is turning into a book, so I will leave it here for now:)
Please, give me a call or send me an email if I can help explain any
of the above in greater detail.

Best,
James Gilbert
Stuller Metals
800-877-7777 ext: 6113
james_gilbert@stuller.com


#8

Hello Everybody,

Personally, I recommend Hoover and Strong. Rio’s prices, while
straightforward, are nearly twice as much as Hoover and Strong’s.
Their pricing method is confusing too, (there’s lots of math and
multiplying ounces by inches by the number of days in the week,
etc.) but they are perfectly happy to add everything up for you, and
tell you how much you’ve spent. I’ve had only one incident with
them, and they bent over backwards to fix it for me. I’d been sent
too much of almost everything I’d ordered: I have a slight speech
impediment, and when I’d said “three,” the order taker thought I’d
said “thirty.” They really worked with me to fix the overage. They
even reimbursed the shipping cost for sending back the extras. They
even gave me a bulk discount, even though my order was for different
metals and wire/sheet sizes. I ended up with a pretty hefty
discount/credit.

I’ve never really ordered from Stuller because they wouldn’t give me
an account. I took that as a sign and never looked back. Hoover and
Strong, however, have done everything in their power to give my
little business (you can literally measure it in millimeters) the
time and attention I certainly think I deserve. ;^)

Again, thank you to everybody at Hoover and Strong - they have my
business for good. They are really great folks there!

Susannah Page-Garcia
Moonshine Metal Creations
@Susannah_Garcia


#9
    Thank you for posting that Two days ago I ordered
a small amount of gold and silver from Stuller. 4 different guages
and karats, I generally order from Hauser and Miller who does add
it all up for the discount and I just assumed everyone did the same
thing 

Yeah, I thought the same thing. It never occurred to me that anyone
would sell it differently because I had never run across anything
else - all silver is added up for the quantity discount. Plus, I
went to GREAT LENGTHS to make sure I hit the 50 oz weight, had the
order taker stopping to add up the total weight so I could get the 50
oz discount. I have no idea what she thought I was trying to do, but
it obviously wasn’t what I was trying to do.

Since then I have tried to look over their metals catalog as
thoroughly as I’ve had time for. If there is any explanation of their
actual pricing mechanisms in there (and there should be since this is
certainly not an industry standard) I haven’t been able to find it
yet.

One could argue that it was the only source for Argentium at the
time, but unfortunately more than half of what I ordered was
actually traditional Sterling pattern wire, which I could have got
from RG for considerably less. Also I frankly would have put off the
Argentium purchase until someone with a more reasonable pricing
scheme started offering it. $120 to $150 is what I estimate I lost on
this deal - that would have gone a long way towards tools or
materials purchase. Either amount is more than I make in a week.

People there have been very nice, but it doesn’t make up for the
fact that there is something seriously wrong with their pricing
scheme.

If they ever fix it, I’d have no qualms about buying from them, but
until they do, well, I can’t afford it.

Sojourner


#10
    don't forget that Hoover and Strong has Argentium Sterling,
too. 

Didn’t know that. I thought nobody else was going to start carrying
it until fall.

    I've been told by Kevin Whitmore at Rio that they will have
Argentium available by the end of June. Who told you that it would
not be until August? 

I called the 800 number and asked, and the little order taking guy
went away to talk to someone about it. When he came back, he said it
would be available in August. He could give me no about
pricing (such as, are you going to be able to add Argentium, fine
silver, and traditional sterling up for quantity discount? Once
bitten, twice shy, I want to know for sure now before I order again)

(Meantime, I have written to Kevin at Rio to check on how things
are going...) 

Let us know what he says. I really want to switch totally over to
the Argentium, I’d like to know if they’re going to carry it in any
of the finer wire guages, square wire, and half-round.

 BTW, I am told that Rio built a new stockroom for Argentium
Sterling, to make sure that the two silvers don't get mixed up----
which I find interesting..... 

Well I had an e-mail from someone apparently associated with the
university in UK that developed the alloy suggesting that one of
their suppliers had gotten traditional sterling mixed up with the
Argentium, and that I might have gotten some of the wrong stuff
(apparently something I said about my earwires not hardening up very
easily, she thought I must have fine silver instead of the
Argentium).

I passed that correspondence on to Stuller, and e-mailed her back
asking her why she thought that, but (unless the e-mail is buried
further down in the 4-day backlog of new e-mails) I haven’t heard
back from her.

It’s not surprising that Argentium wouldn’t work harden quickly, is
it? Because all these months I’ve had the impression that was one
of the major differences between Argentium and standard sterling…

Sojourner


#11
    Can somebody tell my the approximate cost per ounce (or
however they sell it)? 

It’s running around $12.50 an ounce from Stuller. Since its next to
impossible to get a quantity discount there unless you buy all your
Argentium in one form, you might as well just assume the highest
price, which is $5.37 fabrication charge plus spot on silver.

The weird thing is that even taking this into account (no quantity
discount) I was paying around $13.50 an ounce back when silver was
running under $7 spot. So my fabrication charge was STILL more than
is published in their latest metals catalog. It was .66 and some odd
decimals per pennyweight, multiply that by 20 (20 dwt per oz) and its
about $13.50 per ounce (taking into account the some odd decimals).

I give up, I’m sticking with RG. Ordering in inches, no quantity
discount, and getting invoiced in pennyweights, it’s way too much
work. LOL!

Sojourner


#12
    Price Combining: It is true that Stuller does not combine
multiple line items for the total quantity price break on each
individual order. This is why the Metals Price Club was created.
(I know it is not beneficial for one-time orders: see below).
However, Stuller's individual pricing per product is competitive
with the industry. 

C’mon, now James. When there’s no combining of materials for the
price break, the prices are NOT “competitive with industry”. It’s a
non-standard pricing scheme, nobody else in the country does it,
which is why it’s caught more than one of us off guard.

This really isn’t funny to me. I spent somewhere between $120 and
$150 TOO MUCH by buying through Stuller. I don’t make that in a
week. In fact, last month my paycheck for the entire month was $225.

I really do like you guys, but I can’t afford to buy from you.

Sojourner


#13

I agree with susannah

Hoover is the way to go they have been an excellent Company for
me,Bending backward and forward just for customer satisfaction and
ease of ordering.and correcting any mistakes to your satisfaction
with returns being credited, shipping costs included.

They do have Argantium Silver but they have had to market it under
their own name for infringement reasons I am not exactly sure what,
but they do have it.and their regular metals are of excellent
quality, you could also tell a lot of a company ,the way they package
their products and ship them. their orders are in your shop the next
day for no extra cost to you. I am in PA .they are in VA.I do love
their Packaging.

Hoover also is a SNAG sponsor which in my eye puts them on another
level also. they are interested in the obscure Metal smiths other
then the big Guys.

Stuller has been one great big disappointment after another (for
me),they actually have a store in Phildelphia,so I could
theoretically pick up anything I need right on the spot…except 95%
of the time they do not carry What I need from their catalog and
anything you need to order,takes a few days to get to their
store,there is shipping charges plus the taxes ,even though it is
being sent to the store,The materials I usually need are not anything
special ;raw metal ,Solder ,some findings, Chain…all this just
puts them in a negative light from my point view.

Having said that I do have friends in the industry who are very
Happy with them. I guess it depends on what your needs are.

when I was a student in college in early 80’s we used to use Hoover
and strong ;some how they actually never forgot who I was, Customer
service I guess Ranks pretty high is what I was trying to say. thanks
for listening Hratch

Atelier Babikian
P.O.box 54147
Philadelphia , PA.19105
215.465.9351
www.Hratchbabikian.com


#14

o.k everyone calm down. We have some fixing on the metals at this
time. If you want a tools and metals account just e-mail me or call
and anyone of the deal will say I will do what I say.

As far as the metals we are so excited about what these metals will
do for the industry. we might have jumped to early. Please bear with
us. You did when we change the phone system and we got orders out
everyday, didn’t skip a beat. So please hold on the best is to come.
I always like hearing if we make a mistake and allow us to fix it.

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791


#15
Hoover is the way to go they have been an excellent Company for me,
Bending backward and forward just for customer satisfaction and
ease of ordering.and correcting any mistakes to your satisfaction
with returns being credited, shipping costs included. 

I have to disagree. I have delt with both until recently. About 2
months ago I got a call from a sales rep at hoover asking me a lot
of questions about my gross sales in gold and silver and materials
that I buy. I should have refused to answer, but answered the
questions to the best of my ability. What it came down to is that
they were squeezing me for more business and taking away a discount
that I had had negotiated about a year ago because I could not give
them more business. I have to tell you that there silver sheet goods
are not that good and we have had several conversations about the
quality of thier products. I will probably never buy another item
that they have for sale. I am now using an old supplier that says
there are getting thier sheet goods from Stuller and there is a big
difference…NO MORE HOOVER…service was great but I think the
products are inferior…Yes they offered to replace the bad
metal…but you know how aggravating it is to get down to the
finish and have a crack or a line that is obviously a defect in the
metal…!!!

Rick Sindeband
email @Rick_Sindeband
web http://www.skystoneandsilver.com
1-800-544-5960


#16
    o.k everyone calm down. We have some  fixing on the metals at
this time. If you want a tools and metals account just e-mail me or
call and anyone of the deal will say I will do what I say. 

Errr, Andy, I’m not sure what you’re saying here.

And I don’t think anyone is un-calm. Like I said, I love you guys,
customer-service wise.

I just can’t afford to buy metals from you with your current pricing
structure. The amount I overpaid for my last order was significant,
especially given my level of income (I bet there are folks on this
list whose monthly American Express card balance is more than my
annual income, LOL!)

Sojourner


#17

Dear Mr Kroungold

simply put, NO Thanks.

I think the Philadelphia store needs to revamp and help itself to a
better managerial program. this didn’t just happen, it has been
going on for a few years before the Argentium ordeal.

when they first opened in the city we were all very excited and in
need of a descent supply house, but in a very short time it seemed
the hassles were more to buying from stuller then not, they seem to
always be out of stock on too many items I would like to walk into
the store and be able to pick the needed findings or chain or what
have you of regular supplies needed for a shop, if I am to place an
order that takes a few days with extra charges, and with failed
deleivery dates, more often then not, WHY should I put up with that
when my own clients would not put up with my tardiness or broken
promises,or the fact that I can’t get the supplies in time to finnish
orders. on the other hand there are actual companies who are really
trying beyond their best to satisfy the customer, which would you go
with???

Hratch


#18

Andy,

Thanks for letting us know better is coming. Ounces to inches can be
a bit confusing at first. I have come to like ordering many feet of
something. Sounds grander I guess.

I have dealt with y’all for about 13 years now. There have been only
2 problems in all that time and they were fixed the next day.

I think a lot of people need to remember that Stuller is there for
the professional jeweler. I am glad that you are expanding your
market to make it easier for the little guy. I am still a little guy
too. As a professional, I want SERVICE first, price later. Yes, I can
save money elsewhere but can they get it to me by11am tomorrow
morning if I call at 5 minutes to 5 tonight. Y’all have done it for
me several times when I failed to plan well or a crash sale came in.
I really don’t care what you charge, I get what I pay for…SERVICE.

If someone feels overcharged, my question is did they do their
homework? When I need a large amount of stuff, I will ALWAYS get 2 or
3 quotes before ordering. No one company has the best pricing on
everything. Do your homework folks. It is called business planning.

Bill Churlik
@Bill_Churlik
www.earthspeakarts.com


#19
No one company has the best pricing on everything. Do your homework
folks. It is called business planning. 

Bill, Stuller’s metal catalog lists quantity discounts at specific
weight breaks. Just like every other metals supplier.

Nowhere in this catalog - and I have looked hard - have I been able
to find anything stating that those quantity discounts are PER LINE
ITEM, not for all the silver you buy, as every other supplier in the
country bills.

Furthermore, I told the order taker WHEN I ORDERED that I was trying
to get my order total up to 50 oz so I could get the price break.
And she laboriously converted all the inches to ounces and back again
so we could add up my TOTAL SILVER WEIGHT until I hit (and surpassed)
50 oz.

There was no reason for me to suspect a non-standard pricing
mechanism.

And frankly, I don’t think somebody who buys 4+ pounds of silver at
a go is such a “little guy”. It’s not like I’m a wire-wrapper buying
10’ of 22g wire at a time.

I am confident I will be able to get service AND reasonable pricing
from another supplier. I would have been just as happy to buy my
sterling pattern wire from Rio Grande, and wait for availability of
the Argentium from some other supplier with a more reasonable
pricing structure. Happier, actually. It would have saved me loads
of money.

Again, I don’t fault Stuller service wise. But the expense
predicated by their pricing algorithm is unwarranted and
unreasonable. I would be more than willing to reconsider giving them
my business if and when they correct their pricing mechanism. But
not until then.

Sojourner


#20

Good advise Bill.

No one company can afford to be first in everything. However, be sure
to check out aaproducts.com. They only carry silver in sheet and
wire, but the prices are very good and the service is excellent.
They are planning on carrying Argentium in the future too.

Murray