abn

Tandy's Wholesale Club: Doing The Math

34 posts in this topic

For several years now, I've been a member of Tandy's Wholesale Club at the $35 Gold Level. I've always been curious about the break-even point of this membership -- ie, how much I have to spend at Tandy in order to start saving money.

Yesterday, I renewed my membership and purchased $111.98 worth of merchandise. I did the math, and this stuff would have cost $136.27 at retail. This ended up being an 18% savings (or $24.29). Looking at the individual line items, it seems Tandy offers Gold Members a 20% discount on most hardware, dyes, glues, etc. The savings on leather is somewhat less: the discount appears to hover in the area of 10-15%.

Obviously, the break-even point varies based on the mix of products you purchase. But for anyone considering the Wholesale Club, my math indicates an average 18% savings for Gold Members. So, it appears you have to spend roughly $200 at Tandy before you recoup the $35 membership fee.

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Technically you're correct. The math does work out to that. But in reality you're wrong because membership includes more than just a discount.

Not trying to bust your chops but you've forgetten to include the multiple offers you recieve throughout the year. I get about four free stamps a year. You usually get multiple "50% off one item" coupons as well. You also now recieve free "gift cards" for the leathercraft library.

At worst with the 50% coupons a smart shopper can recoup their membership by purchasing goods worth 70 bucks. At best with the free tools and gift cards you don't have to spend a penny to recoup it.

Edited by HellfireJack

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It's also going to be item specific. If you buy 18 craftstamps, you've saved $36 on what otherwise is $180 at retail.

Anything that saves money these days is definately worth a look.

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I'm a gold club member and plus the discount, I get one free stamp a month, plus I goat a free ceramic swivel blade when I signed up. Paid for the cost of the $35 membership the first month.

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I forgot about the freebies there. Too bad I don't buy anything from Tandy. I wonder if Kevin at Springfield will start offering some of the same perks???

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Not trying to bust your chops but you've forgetten to include the multiple offers you recieve throughout the year. I get about four free stamps a year. You usually get multiple "50% off one item" coupons as well. You also now recieve free "gift cards" for the leathercraft library.

Excellent point. I overlooked the value of the coupons and the free offers. So as HellfireJack mentions, a wise shopper could push the break-even point much lower than $200.

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If you get a business licence and provide it Kevin and/or Tandy, then the Gold from Springfield Leather and the Elite from Tandy are at no cost. If you're making and selling leather products then it doesn't cost much in most counties to get a license, in fact my business license is also free because I've a disabled Veteran (Georgia, I don't know about other states). However, to make my point the cost of a business license in most states is cheaper than the elite warehouse club cost and you get both memberships for the cost of a license. By the way, Ohio Travel Bag is easier to do business with if you have a business license.

Chief

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I joined the Elite Club at Tandy when I placed my first order for leatherworking supplies. I did the math. Without the Elite Club status I would have paid $450+ dollars. With the Elite Club status ... I got everything I wanted PLUS the cost of the membership at $150 for around $380. For me it was self explanatory.

Edited by RoosterShooter

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Sounds great, but most of Tandy products are made off shore, and the quality is really bad.

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Sounds great, but most of Tandy products are made off shore, and the quality is really bad.

I think the quality of the veg-tan leather and the Craftool stamps could be better, but if you visit a store in-person (and can hand-select your items), you're likely to find what you need at a decent price. Tandy's hardware (from screws to belt buckles) is top-notch, and the Eco-Flo line of dyes, glues, and finishes are preferred by many of us over the older, more toxic formulations.

Edited by abn

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I have the elite. Just watch the receipts closely. Many times I see where they don't always give you the discount on all items. So as you shop, look closely at what is discounted and what is not. Further, make sure you get the discounted price. You'll rarely be "undercharged". Been my experience...

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hi, I'm a Gold Member for 3 years, but I've never got any free stamp or similar!!! How did you get them?

thanks a lot

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Ash, those fliers you see in the mail? there's often a coupon for 1 free stamp. Sometimes it's one for $5 off leathercraft library ($10 for elite and businesses) . Never toss those flyers without looking really closely at them. :)

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I'm not a fan of Tandy tools (don't be naive, some of the tools you buy elsewhere came from Tandy), but I get wholesale pricing just for having a registered business in Iowa (no membership fee). I buy quite a bit of leather there, but only if I can get there to pick it out myself. There Royal Meadow 3/4 oz is nearly flawless in a 22-25 foot side, carves well, and dyes just as nicely. It's a bit more 'blonde' than the 'russet' color you get lots of places, but I LIKE the pale color (lets me get more color combinations).

Dyes, finishes, adhesives, and most linings I get from S-T Leather out of St Louis.

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Ash, those fliers you see in the mail? there's often a coupon for 1 free stamp. Sometimes it's one for $5 off leathercraft library ($10 for elite and businesses) . Never toss those flyers without looking really closely at them. :)

Hi, I've got only the 5$ for the leathercraft library, never heard about free stamps... I will look at flyers better! Thank you

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used to be you woule get a tool every issue now that they have the leathercraft library you get a discount on the site and they alternate that with a free something now. Like lace or a tool or whathave you

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I have the elite. Just watch the receipts closely. Many times I see where they don't always give you the discount on all items. So as you shop, look closely at what is discounted and what is not. Further, make sure you get the discounted price. You'll rarely be "undercharged". Been my experience...

i agree with this. i always feel like i've been the victim of a bait and switch type of ploy. also, their leather sale prices sometimes are the same for everyone - not just the club members. i feel that if i've paid $150 for a membership, i should ALWAYS get better pricing than anyone walking in off of the street.

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I'll put it this way, I've never been "undercharged", but have been overcharged 2 out of 3 visits. Last time, I bought two hides and received the approrpriate discount, but then they overcharged me on everything else. I was in a hurry as my wife was waiting on me and I was watching the pricier items. Well, my bad. They gouged me on the less expensive pieces. I just hate to feel like I always have to check on them. Why can't they just charge you the right price instead of some creative formula that has nothing marked. It's like going on a car lot and there are no prices. They adjust them as they see fit. Very frustrating. From the moment you walk in, be on guard.

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@Ash: all you have to do is go into the store and you can ask about your free tool. It is one tool per month and you must be a member of their wholesale club. You may substitute the tool for a craftaid template as well. The free tool also applies to their 2-D and 3-D stamps.

@DFWLeather: I have done business with Tandy for decades and have never had an issue with being overcharged on items as the pricing is automatically linked to the account status of the purchaser. These things are also monitored within their accounting system. Not to say that there may not be some staff members who don't know any better, as we see them everywhere we go.

I am a business customer of Tandy as well as Zack White and Springfield. Any member of the Tandy wholesale club (all levels, including business) get the same pricing from Springfield. This applies only to those items that are sold in their shops that are the same source (snaps, stamps, etc.), this does not apply to everything though.

For the average hobby crafter who is active in making things, Tandy is the best bet as it is most likely easily accessible and it is best to at least get the Gold. If you decide to branch out and grow (turn it into a business venture) then you need to look at the business licensing, business membership (which is not only the lowest pricing available, but tax exempt also), and establishing multiple sources. I source my materials from 5 different suppliers, with each one of them being the niche in a certain category.

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I would post the receipts, to show that the system is not automated. However, I'm glad you don't have problems. Where I live, I've seen four teams of people come and go over the years, manager and all. Turnover is a problem for Tandy, always has been. They always seem to hire very nice folks though.

Business licensing may save you up to $2-3 a foot off of leather, and a percent of other products--not all, like you say. Please list your five other sources, I'm sure we'd all like to know about them.

Tandy is a "good" source for just about everything you would need to work with leather. Grow out of them if you can.

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@DFWLeather, It's only gouging if they do it on purpose. If there's an issue with the system it's called an error so just walk back into Tandy with your receipt and show them the error and get your refund and then take your own advice and "grow out of them" and stop shopping there. Problem solved.

Any yes their pricing system is automated but there can be issues with it. I renewed my gold account and noticed it completely dropped my gold level pricing and was charging retail prices. I double checked that it wasn't working on their website and emailed them and it was fixed within an hour. I'm willing to bet if you post your receipts here we'll find a similar issue which can be just as easily resolved.

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Tandy must offer different policies at different locations, I was told by the manager at the local store they do not offer free tools anymore. I have a business account with Tandy I do not receive the same sale flyers as membership participants such as the "Skiver", if they publish that anymore. When I contacted Tandy I was told to continue recieveing it I had to buy a membership, which did not seem quite kosher but they are a profit business. It just seems when you drop over $2k a year with them they might do a little better than what they offer everyone else. Just my opinion and I do have other suppliers.

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Tandy must offer different policies at different locations, I was told by the manager at the local store they do not offer free tools anymore. I have a business account with Tandy I do not receive the same sale flyers as membership participants such as the "Skiver", if they publish that anymore. When I contacted Tandy I was told to continue recieveing it I had to buy a membership, which did not seem quite kosher but they are a profit business. It just seems when you drop over $2k a year with them they might do a little better than what they offer everyone else. Just my opinion and I do have other suppliers.

I checked with our local manager and he said that they had discontinued the "free tool per month" some time ago. The deals and bargains you get are what comes in the flyers. What is little know is that each Tandy Manager has the ability to discount an item as a "Manager's Special", my guy works with me and usually gives me at least one each trip. You can't get them with Web Orders but you can in the store, depending on the store manager.

Chief

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Mr. Tandy Member, it does not have to be intentional to be gouging, it can also be negligent. And as I stated earlier, the good leather is usually pretty good and meets my needs well. And I am working on growing out of them (hence the comment I made about sourcing leather elsewhere) so thanks for your MBA advice.

I have noticed inconsistent pricing when going store to store. So there is apparently human input on their so-called automated system, otherwise it would be the same pricing wherever you go. Know the pricing, if you can ahead of your visit.

Just an observation but I have also experienced different pricing on hides "often" when shopping at a store as opposed to their warehouse stores, for the exact product. For example, I bought 5 buffalo hides from the warehouse and needed two more, so headed to a local store (about ten minutes closer but with limited stock), the price was $3 more per sqft. When I asked why, he had no clue why they were selling it so cheap. So much for the system, eh? He had to call them to confirm, then changed the price for "me" on the two hides. So, caveat emptor.

So, my thoughts and advice is simple; be sure prices are marked, be certain you get the appropriate pricing for everything you buy, and also be certain you are not charged tax (if appropriate--half the time they try to charge me tax), and be sure discounts are availble for what you are buying.

Finding a place where you can see and feel the leather is important to me, at least until I'm satisfied with the quality. Then I don't mind ordering online. The problem I'm finding is that online pricing is every bit as high, or higher, than Tandy's best product, though more limited now I as I mentioned before. So finding quality whisky or distressed brown in 8-9oz for less than $7 a sqft is a challenge.

That's why I think visiting market center would be so useful. I wonder what they have available now in terms of quality etc. I'll try to get up there in the next couple of weeks and share.

Edited by DFWLeather

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I checked with our local manager and he said that they had discontinued the "free tool per month" some time ago. The deals and bargains you get are what comes in the flyers. What is little know is that each Tandy Manager has the ability to discount an item as a "Manager's Special", my guy works with me and usually gives me at least one each trip. You can't get them with Web Orders but you can in the store, depending on the store manager.

Chief

If I can give you my tool per month promotion, you can have it. I don't use many of their tools anymore.

Edited by DFWLeather

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