Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Where contractors shop: Building supply stores still getting lion’s share of your commodity business

Canadian Contractor

Big boxes are still a strong second place for contractor's purchases, getting a particularly large chunk of tool business (about a third of contractors' purchases in this category)

Canadian Contractor‘s Salary Survey, published in full in our March/April issue, asked our contractor readers where they shopped.  (If you want to look at that issue again digitally, click on DIGITAL EDITIONS, down below…)

The results showed how segmented the contractor and renovator supply business is.

Lumber was sourced from lumber and building supply stores by 70% of our respondents. While 17% went to big box stores for lumber.

Building materials were purchased from building supply stores by 62% of our respondents. 20% went to the big boxes for that stuff.


Big boxes led the way in tools and accessories, tied with specialty distributors. 35% of our respondents went to big boxes for this equipment, as did 35% of our respondents who went to the specialty wholesalers.

Specialty retailers (mostly paint stores) were getting 44% of the paint purchases, with building supply stores getting 27% of the paint action, and big boxes getting 18%.

You’ll note that neighbourhood hardware retailers haven’t been mentioned. They were generally fourth out of the four categories (lumber/building supply, big box retailers, specialty suppliers and hardware stores) in each of the 10 types of home improvement product categories we tracked.

Here is the full chart…

Where Are You Shopping?



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