How to Compare Steel Building Suppliers
The steel building industry is huge and it's hard not to become overwhelmed after only one keyword search. When choosing which retailer to work with, consider a few basic questions:
- What is their geographic location in relation to you? The closer they are, the more you will save on shipping costs and the more accessible they will be for customer support. Many large organizations will also operate on a national level but subcontract their construction to local crews. Having local crews will save you time and money, and ensure someone will be around to make adjustments if necessary after construction is complete.
- What is your budget? With so many retailers, you should be able to find competitive pricing for a top quality metal building. Plan on paying around $50 per steel column and $200 per steel beam for raw materials, depending on the fluctuating cost of steel. Package deals, including raw materials and the crew necessary to build it all, could run anywhere from $580 to $2,000 per square foot.
- Will you be assembling the building yourself, or hiring someone to do it? If you choose to assemble the steel building yourself, you will want a company that provides clear instruction and on-call customer support. If you are purchasing a steel building package that includes assembly, you should consider the proximity of the company to your site.
- How user-friendly is their website? A user-friendly website is often a strong indicator of the company's ability to provide quality customer service throughout the entire process of purchasing AND constructing your steel building. Many websites provide a free quoting service. IQS is one of the more cutting edge custom metal building design and pricing software programs available. If the company utilizes something like this, it may indicate that they are keeping up with their market and staying competitive.
Steel building vendors: the difference is in the parts
Your metal building is a substantial investment, and your choice in vendor translates to the quality and longevity of your investment. If a vendor provides testimonials, references and evidence of certifications on their website, you are on the right track. You want to know that they strive to meet and exceed industry standards and that their customers are happy.
Ask these questions of your potential vendors, if the answers aren't provided on their website:
- Are you an OEM Manufacturer? (This requires that the manufacturers build parts that abide to specific standardized requirements. It indicates that your vendor is driving the manufacturing process and creating a product with the most structural integrity.)
- Have you been rated by the Better Business Bureau?
- Do you hold certifications or membership with The Metal Building Manufacturer's Association, The American Institute of Steel Construction, The American Iron and Steel Institute and/or The American Welding Society?
- Do you provide stamped foundation plans for your custom steel building kits?
While many vendors provide a reliable level of quality service and back up their products with guarantees, that’s definitely not the case for all. Be on the lookout for the following red flags when considering steel building suppliers:
- If a company doesn't guarantee that their steel is galvanized, don't buy it.
- No warranty offer or conflicting information? The company doesn't have faith in their product and neither should you.
- Stay away from metal building vendors who are brokers-they have no interest in the quality of the product they are selling.