6 Criteria to Consider when Selecting a Building Material Supplier

And the Material Contract goes to...

Today I finalized the supplier for the building materials for the cottage. The winner is Dale's Home Hardware Building Center in Otter Lake.

I have been working closing with Brad Dale at Dales Home Hardware finalizing the last few items. While his quote for almost all of the materials was relatively equal to his main competition at Home Depot, his quote on the Roof truss system was way out of whack with that of Home Depot and a quote I obtained directly from a roof truss supplier. And by out of whack I mean it was almost twice the price.

Brad was a bit curious himself so he had a few 'discussion' with his supplier. The result was that they agreed to not to match the Home Depot price to beat it by roughly $100 dollars.

Now, with almost identical price quotes I determined that the the Home Hardware would be the best overall, based on the following considerations I now deem very important:

1. Price
It is important to drive the best price, but there are other considerations, as long as there isn't a big difference say 5% then the other issues are as important, perhaps become more important. Beware the low ball bitter. Sometimes they are too literal in pricing your materials list, leaving out important elements. for instance for s steel roof, make sure the bit includes all the various metal connectors that are required, those 'extras' cn often skew a price by 10% or more, if they are not included.

It turns out that that the Home Hardware quote was very close to the Home Hardware quote so the following issues became important factors.

2. Service
How has been your experience with the supplier through the bidding process. Did they take you materials list and bit it directly? or did they take the time to understand what you are trying to do? Did they suggest alternatives? Did they suggest ways do reduce the cost?

Your experience with the supplier before you buy is often a good indication what kind of service you are going to get after or while you buy.

Home Hardware, Brad Dale specifically, was very interested in understanding my project and suggested many alternative options and materials.

3. Delivery Flexibility
Any number of things can cause the building schedule to change such as the weather, a missing helper, and heaven forbid a person catastrophe of some sort. Gee! maybe I have even over estimated how long a building task may take and the schedule goes faster.

Home Hardware is close to the Cottage, about 2 kilometers, with a weeks notice, sometimes less, I can make significant adjustments to may delivery schedule.

4. Materials Storage
I will be building from a far. That means I will be building my cottage on extended weekends and a few weeks in which i will take vacation. Security of my materials is paramount. The construction site will be unlike most - there will not be constant constant presence of workers to discourage a thief. Hence I need my supplier to store materials until I will need them, delivering them just in time - as I need and can immediately use them up. If the stud, or the truss, or the engineered floor joist is nailed down it is very difficult to steal.

Home Hardware is willing to keep my ordered material in their lumber yard until I need them. They will even do this for materials that they have sourced from a third party like the roof trusses. In fact the trusses are likely to be delivered well in advance - a month before I need them.

5. Ad Hoc Materials Needs
I am expecting that my materials list is not perfect. I am sure there will be the occasional time when I need that extra stud, or box of nails, or whatever I didn't quite consider or measure right. Without a close source of materials, the project could grind to a halt while that now key piece is sourced and delivered.

Dale's Home Hardware is only 2 kilometes away. I can easily go get the missing material or call them to deliver it.

6. Payment Flexibility
I will be getting, receiving and hence purchasing materials on a weekly, maybe some weeks on a daily basis so having a convenient and fast fast way to pay will reduce the frustration. Plus I may need to send one of the building team, my wife, Lucie or one of my sons to get the material. having a means to address these issues just materials it easier to spend time building rather than dealing with logistics.

At Home Harware, Brad suggested setting up an account and listing all the people that can purchase on the account. I can pay the account weekly or monthly as the balance grows.

For those of you that have been following the quote contest the final point score is :

Home Hardware: 5 (WINNER!)
RENO: 0.5 (complete)
BMR: 0 (complete)
Home Depot: 3 (runner up)

Dale's Home Hardware Building Centre is found on Highway 303 just as you arrive in Otter lake, Quebec: