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  1. #1
    Old Timer Soundguy's Avatar
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    Had to pick up some items for work. realize that in the construction industry, some tools are disposable by nature.. even tools that should be durable..

    Today i went around and looked at sears, harbor freight and northern tools.

    i priced a 5" full swivel ( s axis ) vise.

    northern 129, sears 75, harbor freight 75, sale for 52 with coupon.

    vise? SAME except for the aluminum tag. same paint... heck.. same part number for northern and harbor freight. different packaging for all 3 stores. funny enough.. sears and HF had a better box than northern.

    instruction sheet for northern and HF was the same.. didn't list any brand names.. just a bunch of chinglish safety warnings... sears had it's own brand of paper work..


    also loked at a ratcheting pipe threader. the northern tool and HF units are the same as well.. REALLY the same .. pipe thread tap and die sets same at northern and hf. northern at about 2x the price. hf boxes colored shiney cardboard. norhtern boxes, plain white taped shut with black part number and basic description.


    how does northern stay in business selling the same tools as HF ??


    ps.. I did a comparison on about 3 other tools that i could find exact equivalents of... in all cases.. most had smae part number and insturctions.. but HF cheaper....

    just wonder / observation..

  2. #2
    Platinum Member CBW1999's Avatar
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    Northern Vermont on the 45th parallel
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    Kubota 7510, Toro Groundsmaster 217D

    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    IMHO..... Northern Tool has an "image"- a good image. Their catalogs are extensive, color photos, good descriptions and a huge "inventory". Makes for an impressive image as a retailer.

    HF over the years has not had an easy time developing a good image. Smaller catalogs, behind the times on internet marketing, not as large a selection. Some label their stuff as "junk" because it is imported.

    But, as you have clearly pointed out- a lot of their products are the same as HF. Even so far as the "Nortrac" line of tractors and implements being Chinese tractors that they import and slap their own sticker on.

    So- what is the difference? NONE Oh wait- you pay more at Northern Tool.

    I think NT is viewed as an "American" company and HF is considered an "overseas" company because it is known and, not hidden that they import their products. HF is an "American" owned and operated company as well so this is a misconception.

    People are willing to pay a higher price at NT because they think they are buying "American". The same as someone who buys "Sears" or other brand names...... buying based on the name and assumptions.

    Most consumers do not exercise due diligence in shopping around or determining country of origin.
    I thank God everyday for all of the blessings he has given me- especially for the one's I do not recognize or see!

  3. #3
    Elite Member bigtiller's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    central Iowa
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    JD 2720

    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    I don't think there is much compitition in my city. One is on the south side of town and the other is on the north. That is a lot of bumper to bumper driving. Now if something would open up a little closer to me on the west side things would be a little more convenient.
    HAVE FUN

    Life is easier when you plow around the stumps.


    2720

  4. #4
    Old Timer Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    i find it funny when you find the parts/tools with the same part number.. and as for the tags. same sized tag and rivits.. just different microprinting.

    same paint and finish even.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Erie Pa.
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    Montana R4944, Ford Jubilee, Ford 621, Ford 841

    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    Yea I buy most of my tools at HF anymore. Just the other day I got a 6HP gas pump on sale for $189 for some reason it was $179 at the store had a 20% off coupon, purchased a 2 year replacement warranty for like $35 and got the pump for under $180 pluss tax. Now I have had water pumps since I can remember when dad was alive and I think he paid more or around the same 40 years ago for a so called good pump and I can tell you I have never had a pump that works as good as this one does. I also buy there pittsb tool sockets, rachets, and wrenches they have a life time guarentee, I took back a broken socket once and they wahned to know where the rest of the set was I went out to the truck and brought the whole set and they gave me a whole new set because one socket broke. I have bought several other HF tools including a 6HP gas motor for my wood splitter (bolted in exact spot the BS was in w/ 3 shims because the shaft was longer) when the old one went out the new motor was just a little more than the parts to rebuild the old one. Lots of there tools or items are just not worth buying but many of them are, I think the pump I got was the same as the one @ TSC but the price was better.
    I never used to buy anything @ HF I used to go there just to look around because it was fun, and then one sunday my sump pump went out and I went to a big box store I almost s**t when I saw what they wanted. Went to HF and bought one for like 1/2 and it lasted 2 years well just under because I had the extended warranty and got a free one and oh yea I bought a new warranty for that one. That is how I started to acturally shop and not window shop at them.
    Montana R4944
    Ford Jubliee, Ford 841, Ford 621 industrial with FEL & BH

  6. #6
    Old Timer Soundguy's Avatar
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    some of their gas engine stuiff is starting to look VERY god!

  7. #7
    Elite Member 300UGUY's Avatar
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    Howell, Michigan
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    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    I think Northern is just coasting on it's success as a hydrualic supplier. Nicer catalogues help, but I think eventually they will be toast.

  8. #8
    Elite Member johnk's Avatar
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    western NY
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    Kubota GST Grand L3130 w/ 723 loader, Ags

    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    Northern tool sells the same Junk as HF. You nget what you pay for. The better catalogs etc add to the added expensise of NT that's why the prices are higher. JMOP.
    Kubota grand L 3130; 723 loader; Hinged back Box Scraper; 7' HD Back Blade; Tooth Bar; PHD w/ 9 & 12 Inch Auger; PEC; Carryall

  9. #9
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    Several months ago, I bought two transport chains from HF - Grade 70. With the coupon, each chain was $26.00 cheaper than the same exact chain at TSC. I have also bought tarps at HF that were cheaper than those sold at Walmart - same brand of tarps. In retrospect, I have bought some items at HF that didn't last long and were very cheaply made. I have used the "Return Policy" that HF offers several times in the past. BTW, there is a HF store 17 miles from our Home.
    The PUPIL who does not surpass his Master, fails his Master.

  10. #10
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
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    Default Re: how can northern tools compete against harbr freight?

    Before the internet Northern was a good place to find things like trailer parts. Just flip through the catalog and get ideas. Now they are just expensive. It's rare that they will have something that can't be found cheaper elsewhere. It's kind of nice having name brand next to Chinese but not worth paying more for. I have gotten stuff from them that I couldn't find elsewhere. If there was a store close by I probably would shop there selectively.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

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