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Fastenal, what do you think?

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  • Fastenal, what do you think?

    Over the years I've read bad reviews of this company.

    This morning I was online searching for a local source for band saw blade guide bearings, nothing special, just not the most common size bearing.

    Googling the bearing designation Fastenal came up as a source. I suspected it would be a mail order item only. But, the local store had them in stock for a bit over $2 each (that's a very good price compared to online sellers).

    At this point I would say I'm very impressed.

    What do you guys think of them?

  • #2
    They are ok but I always shop around for price and quality.
    It's only ink and paper


    • #3
      I've dealt with them now and then and they have a store front about a mile down the road... seem ok. They even sell steel ( bar... flats ) by the inch or foot if you only need a small piece of leaded steal what not... and if not in a big rush will send in free on their truck to store front for pick-up.
      Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.


      • #4
        As a former store manager, I got some insight...

        Fastenal is set up for is the larger account that needs its parts fast or wants a total supply solution (Fastenal managing inventory, carrying inventory on their books even though product is at the plant waiting to be issued, stocking inventory at the local store, etc)

        Most product is located in one of 7 hubs... most it can be had fairly quickly depending on which hub the item is at.

        Be aware, unless the item is considered a normal stocked item in the store.. everything will have shipping tacked on.

        Employees all have control over the price...
        There are 3 main people in the store.. Manager, sales person, store help....Store help are preached at to not change the price....

        Depending on who is managing the location, if a customer says I can get it cheaper at X, the manager may say go there.. but he could lower the price just some, match the price or just plain beat it..Depends on the margin/mood/how the manager is..

        My advice, it dont hurt to ask for a better price in your best humorous/ polite way you can come up with


        • #5

          I have used Fastenal quite a bit as they have stores all over the country. (I work all over the country). They are good for the odd occasional tool or fastener. They are usually substantially higher priced than the local competition. I was pricing some special taps and drill bits the other day. I priced them at 2 local distributers, Enco and Fastenal. Fastenal was over twice the price of Enco and one of the local guys. Enco and the local guy were within a few dollars of one another. None of the places I checked had the stuff in stock except Enco, so it would have to be ordered anywhere I went. I chose to deal with my local distributor. lt pays to price check. I did specify "American Made" to each of the stores. I think this complicated things for Fastenal although they were able to give me pricing two days later after much prodding.



          • #6

            Thank you for your insider insights about Fastenal. I am sure I will continue to use them when I need to but now I have a better understanding of how (and when) to deal with them.

            Again, thanks



            • #7
              Few people (including some store managers and most lower-level employees) know that they have access to the full line of products from Walter USA. That includes Walter and Valenite carbide insert tooling, Titex HSS and carbide drills, and Protoyp taps, end mills and thread mills.

              But then again, they get rewarded for maintaining margin and I find I have a much easier time negotiating a discount from MSC, who now also has the full line.


              • #8
                Good products

                I needed some stainless bolts and nuts, they had them right on the shelf. Only problem was I needed 10 bolts but had to buy 25, and had to buy 50 nuts. They were good quality (and quantity too). John


                • #9
                  Pix man is right.. Fastenal can actually buy just about any tool, tooling you want. The problem is that Fastenal is traditionally not a big supplier of these items, so they do not get the best pricing from the vendor. Store Manager do not understand that machine tools and tooling are very low margin items to begin with.

                  Being that the manager is rewarded for margin, they price items in a similar manner as all of the rest of their stuff and therefore can be way out of market.

                  There are exceptions though to the pricing from vendors.. OSG.. Fastenal gets OSG's best pricing tier...Just up to the store manager to bring his pricing inline with


                  • #10
                    If you can wait a day or two, my experience is that McMaster Carr has better prices.


                    • #11
                      I like Fastenal. They seem to always have the industrial fasteners that other places do not. But, do not plan to buy stuff like stainless tubing or any other stainless stock... usually 3x as much.

                      Who do I think you are...?


                      • #12
                        Thanks Cuemaker. You've answered a lot of questions I had.

                        There is a local Fastenal about 40 miles away, and since I was going to be in the area, I decided to stock up on the usual cap screws, set screws, etc., and like JanVan, I thought I could get 10 or 20 or each. The store mgr. showed me a directive from corporate that as of Jan 1, 2010, no screw packages could be opened for individual sale, so I got stuck in the quantity merry go round, as well. However, since it was the last week of the year, and he mentioned something about a quota he was trying to meet, suddenly I was offered unheard of prices on those quantities of 50 and 100.

                        Bottom line, I spent way more than I had planned on, but I won't be needing any screws for a while. I was wondering how a lone person in the store could suddenly offer the goods at fire sale prices. Now I know. Thanks.


                        • #13

                          Have a store down the road a bit. Great if you run out of a fastener, break a tap or something like that.



                          • #14
                            Interesting insight, Cuemaker.

                            As to the prices, the bearings I wanted were on their website priced at quantity one and over one. Based on previous negatives I'd read about Fastenal I was ready for a huge price increase. They invoiced at the web price which as I said was lower than any online seller I could find.

                            They sent me out the door with their giant catalog which seems to have about any shop supply you would need. Most items are priced, many are not. Do they ever try to jack the catalog prices?

                            As to cutting tools, I don't think I'd consider them, Marshall Tool has the consistently best prices I've found anywhere.


                            • #15
                              Fastenal managers apparent habit of pricing dependent upon if they like you, or not, got up on the wrong side of the bed and/or the phase of the moon is quite discriminatory and likely very illegal. I doubt a company that size would permit much of that.