What do builders need to look for when buying materials?

I’ve seen so many people going from amateurs to pros in different fields – blogging, cooking, and even those DIY enthusiasts that have made the leap from hobby renovators to becoming builders in the building trade. If you’re looking to make the change yourself and be a builder or renovator then this guest post is just perfect for you!

We do business at Balustrade Components in a way that prioritises quality. We want builders to know that they are getting the best materials for their job.  The satisfaction of your customers relies on your sharp eye and your common sense – so we aim to provide the same service to you.

Here we provide an essential guide for what to look for when buying your materials.  Some you will know, and we will act as a reminder, some you may never have thought about before.

builders: house being constructed.

Know your quantities

Before you hit the builders’ merchants, or other suppliers such as Dyson Corp, you need to be certain of exactly what you need – the size and the amount. You should do your measuring and work out how much you need before you arrive. Better still, you might be able to drop your plans off at the merchant and have them collate your order for them. However, if you are new to buying – then you should be sure to double-check the amounts and the sizes – just to be sure the shop has got it right.

The more forward planning you do, the more likely you are to get a great deal.  You should want to make a single bulk order trip to maximise the savings you could achieve.

Choose the best merchants for the material you want

Not all your shopping is going to be done at the builders’ merchant.  And not all builders’ merchants are the best supplier of all the good that you need.  Most merchants specialise in a particular brand – or a smattering of the bigger names.  Some merchants offer a better choice of lesser known but equally as good materials- that are likely to cost you less.  In short, shop around to get the best deals on all the items you buy.

You might not want to discount DIY stores either – sometimes a quick trip to the local shop can bag you some deals that you might not have got otherwise.  Savvy buying is often about being open-minded – and if you are in the South-East of England – this could even make a quick trip to Calais – where products are a lot cheaper.

Get your trading account

This is an obvious one – but worth stating just in case.  Meet up with the sales rep and open your own account – and do this for at least three suppliers.  This way you can work between merchants to negotiate the best prices. Also, if you have an emergency, and you need materials asap, having more than one trading account should make sure of availability.

Order ahead – just in case

Availability is going to be one of the biggest issues that you face. You should plan ahead to seek quotes and to make sure that the materials are available when needed.  You also need to make sure that the trader can deliver when you need the materials – and they are not acting merely as a distributor – and therefore not fully in control of supplies and delivery times.

By ordering ahead you should also be able to take the time to negotiate a little more too.  If there is no urgency – because you are ahead of the game – if you hear something from the trader that suggests material is over-priced, then you have the flexibility to walk away from the deal.  If you can walk away, you have a bargaining chip to ask for additional discounts – if the merchant seems willing. You can also keep an eye on the status of your materials once the order has been placed.

Go Direct

If you are getting something particularly large, then you might want to miss out the middle man and go straight to the supplier.  If the management of the logistics of selection and delivery are no big deal, then why pay extra for someone to do this for you. By going to the manufacturer rather than the merchant you can make some significant savings – and cut out some of the potential delays in the supply chain.

If you are confident you have found a great supplier – someone who is happy to provide high quality materials – you could even send them your plans and save some money as they do the quantity surveying and look to for what materials you should need.

In Short

When selecting the materials for your project, you need time and planning.  If you want to get the best deal and the best materials – then you must give yourself the option to go to multiple places to find the best deal.

Guest post by Balustrade
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