Questions to Ask a Prospective Steel Supplier – Making the Right Choice

It’s really not until you get into the building trade itself that you get even the slightest idea as to how important RSJs and structural steel in general can be. When going about any construction project there are thousands of little bits and pieces which if overlooked or compromised quality-wise will not necessarily make the biggest difference – structural steel on the other hand is a different story altogether.

Charged with the task of pretty much holding the building together, it stands to reason that building firms should and indeed must be very selective when it comes to the manufacturers they’re willing to do business with when buying RSJs. But for those approaching the subject for the first time, what kinds of questions should be thrown the way of an RSJ supplier before going ahead? It’s no secret that RSJ prices will come into the equation, but what else do you need to know ahead of time?

1 – Why Are You in the Steel Production Industry?

First of all, this may sound like a bit of a superfluous question but can be quite revealing to say the least. The reason being that while some have a passion for quality, others may have been in the industry in one way or another for decades. Some may have a family history in the business, others may be driven solely by money and then there will be those who aren’t willing to answer the question at all – in any and all cases you’ll get a good idea of the brand you’re dealing with. And if they don’t win you over, find another that does.

2 – What Makes You Better Than Your Rivals?

With this question they’ll have the freedom to really sell what it is that makes them special…assuming of course that there’s anything to say on the subject. When asked to sell themselves as the brand to go for, what you’re not looking for is a speech on how bad everyone else is and how much better this particular brand is in general. Instead, you should be looking for claims that can be qualified and quantified in order to assess their accuracy and value. For example, they may offer the lowest prices backed by a guarantee. They may offer the best service backed by feedback, or perhaps the best consultancy backed by decades of experience. Real points of value that can be backed with real facts – accept nothing less.

3 – Do You Have References I Could Speak To?

If they’ve successfully helped any given customers of building brands with their own construction projects before, it stands to reason that they should be able to put you in touch with them for reference purposes. In any case there are only ever two reasons why this kind of request would be denied – either there’s nothing good to say about them or they really don’t have any past clients in their recent history. In both cases, this probably isn’t the brand for you.

4 – How Do You Source the Products?

What you’re looking for with this question is something of a disclosure as to where exactly they get their products from as there are more possible sources than you’d likely believe. While some have one dedicated manufacturer they stick to like glue, others use anyone they can get hold of with cheap prices. While some insist in buying locally, others will import products from the Far East just to save money. It’s all about making sure you get exactly what you want with the level of quality you need, so be sure to choose a supplier that shares your values.

5 – Do You Offer Guarantees?

One of the most important questions of all – never buy from a supplier that isn’t willing to guarantee every product they sell by way of the highest quality and the lowest price. There is simply nothing to gain by doing so as there are so many out there that offer these kinds of guarantees as standard, why go for a sold-as-seen deal you might regret?

6 – What If I’m Unhappy or Find a Better Deal?

Last but not least, this falls into exactly the same bracket as the question on guarantees but you still must ask what the deal is if you’re not satisfied. The reason being that there’s a difference between a company accepting returns and a company that accepts returns only if you shell out for the return shipping and handling.