What to Look for When Choosing a Building Materials Supplier

The construction industry is facing considerable challenges in 2019. From the rising cost of materials to labor shortages to increasing demand for digital project and customer management, contractors and engineers need to evolve their businesses to stay competitive.

One critical way to differentiate yourself in the marketplace and make sure business runs smoothly, whether your workload is heavy or light, is to have strategic partners. Whether these are specialty subcontractors or trusted building materials suppliers, high-quality partners help make sure every project is done right the first time.

There are a wealth of building materials suppliers to choose from. Some may specialize in a particular product niche or advertise fast response or low prices. With so many options, how do you know which one to pick?

When choosing a building materials supplier partner, here are some things to consider.

Exceptional Customer Service

Unmistakably, customer service is number one. Just like you work every day to make sure your customers have the best experience possible, you want to work with a supplier who puts you—and, by extension, your customers, too—first.

But customer service goes beyond first contact. Any business wants to make a sale. A truly customer-focused building materials supplier will look to build a relationship, too, following up on orders and touching base to let you know about new products. They’ll try to make every project easier in whatever way they can, and work quickly to resolve any issues.

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Wide Range of Product Selection

Just like you’re looking to build strategic relationships with partners, your building materials suppliers are as well. They will have preferred manufacturers to source materials from, and you’ll want to make sure those materials work with your most common project needs. Being able to receive everything you need in one shipment will keep your project on track, both in terms of time and cost.

But it’s also important to make sure that your supplier has a wide enough selection of products to meet your more uncommon needs or that they can help you find them when required. If a customer requests an alternative product, or if the usual materials won’t fit a unique challenge, you want to work with a supplier who can help you source a solution.

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Consistent, Reliable Delivery and Logistics

How will purchased materials arrive on-site? Do they come all at once or piecemeal as they arrive at your supplier’s warehouse? How willing is your supplier to deliver materials in phases that work with your schedule for larger projects? Will they provide equipment to move materials around the site? And how will they respond if the materials delivered aren’t right or are damaged?

These are all important questions to ask when speaking with a supplier representative. Once materials arrive at a project site, your customer doesn’t see your supplier anymore: They see you, the builder or contractor. If raw materials are damaged, or if there are delays while you wait for separate deliveries, the responsibility to address this is on you in your customer’s eyes.

Understanding your supplier’s processes for delivery and addressing logistical deficiencies will keep your projects on track and avoid costly delays.

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Easy Financing and Payment

Cash flow is always a key consideration in construction. With your next milestone payments still a month away, how will you manage the money coming in and out while keeping your project on schedule and budget?

Choosing a supplier partner who offers financial consideration for preferred contractors is one way to help navigate potential cash flow issues. Whether they offer financing options or a charge account, find a supplier who will work with you to keep materials flowing to your site.

Of course, this kind of financial management goes both ways. Make sure you understand your supplier’s payment procedures and any interest rates. Ask if they have an online system in place, such as Spahn & Rose’s WebTrack, for you to check on invoices and payment statuses in real time, since the best time for you to check these may be outside normal business hours.

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Have a Local Presence

While many suppliers advertise broad networks of suppliers and delivery vehicles, choose a partner who knows the area you’re working in. Not only will they have local contacts who can help resolve any issues if they come up, but they will also be committed to seeing your projects completed successfully for the benefit of their community.

Your Choice for Building Materials: Spahn & Rose Lumber Co.

Spahn & Rose has been a trusted partner to contractors around the midwest for over a century. We offer products from lumber to insulation, paint to hardware. Our fleet of trucks provides free delivery on qualified purchases. For our preferred contractor partners, we offer financing and charge accounts, and our WebTrack portal allows you to check on invoices and payments 24/7.

To discuss our products and connect with an account manager, visit the Spahn & Rose website.