# How the Experts Compare Prices

How do you know that you are getting the best bead prices at Fire Mountain Gems or other jewelry component sellers?

It is often quite difficult because:
• Similar items often come in widely differing qualities
• Suppliers 'bundle' their products in different package sizes--one may offer a pack of 12, the next has a package of 20. So, how do you compare prices?
• Other valuable considerations include quality of packaging, speed/cost of shipping and reputation of the supplier.

Comparing Identical Items

The experts know that they can't compare prices online for every item from every supplier to see who has the best prices, so they select the items they use in quantity as a basis for comparison. The items that they choose are items that should be identical from every supplier. If they were shopping in a new supermarket, they might decide that double-A large eggs and the large cans of Alpo dog food are identical, in every store. They might compare these well-known items to get an initial idea of the pricing structure of each seller. Later on, they will compare in more detail.

In our field, one of the most commonly compared jewelry-making items is Swarovski beads, because of their great uniformity. Beaders know that a Swarovski 6mm bicone bead in crystal color, purchased from any reliable supplier, is identical--all you have to compare is the price.

Comparing Prices

Now, let's compare the price between suppliers. Because each supplier may load different quantities of beads into their packages, comparing the cost of each package gets us nowhere. What we need to do is to compare the cost per bead. If supplier 'A' sells a package of 12 beads for \$2.25/dozen, supplier 'B' sells the same bead in a pack of 20 for \$3.60 and supplier 'C' sells these beads in a pack of 24 for \$2.78, how do you compare?

To compare their prices per bead, we just need to divide the cost of each package by the number of beads in each package.

Let's do the same for each of our suppliers:

Supplier "A": \$2.25/12= \$0.19 a bead,

Supplier "B": \$3.60/20= \$0.18 a bead, and

Supplier "C": \$2.78/24= \$0.12 a bead.

Wow, that's a huge difference--let's buy from Supplier "C.''

Note: When comparing Fire Mountain's prices, you'll see four different prices. The one you choose depends on the total number of items in your complete order. This is mix and match, assortable pricing. For example, if you choose any 16 items, you would refer to the '15-49' price column to see your prices.

Just pick the price column that's right for the quantities that you buy and compare, using that price. That will give you the best overall prices, no matter how large a buyer that you are.

You know that Fire Mountain Gems and Beads wouldn't show beaders and jewelry makers how to compare prices, unless we were proud of how our prices work for you. But go ahead, prove it to yourself and compare our prices on the items that you use the most.