We know you don’t make money at the steel shop. You only make money once you have the material in your possession, cut to your desired sizes, and ready to install. However, to get to that point you need to place your order of steel first. However, buying steel is not as simple as ordering food at a fast-food joint. To make your steel purchasing experience a breeze, here are some tips on how to save time and money when buying steel.
How To Save Time and Money Buying Steel
Plan Your Visit
When you are starting your workday and looking at your to-do list, visiting the steel shop may be on it. So, when planning out your trip, it’s best to do so with a plan. Timing is everything as most steel shops deal with times they are the busiest and that happens to be during the middle of the day. Like you, most people start their day and gather a list of the material they need for the project they are working on.
It just happens to be a daily trend where people pop into the store when they have a moment to breathe – during lunch. We advise avoiding the lunch rush, most likely from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Instead, come earlier in the day or later in the day. If you need plenty of cuts on your order, it’s best to come earlier in the to be serviced fastest. If you need a handful of cuts or simply need material pulled, it’s best to come later in the day as that will be quicker.
Don’t Be Scared of Rust
Certain steel projects do not need the prettiest steel. If you’re in such an advantageous situation, you have to opportunity to save money by purchasing surplus steel. With surplus, you may not always find the exact measurements you are looking for. But if you have some wiggle room, it’s a great option. Keep in mind that surplus steel will most likely have surface steel, and some may even be pitted. To avoid buying surplus steel that may be unusable to you, it’s best practice to check it out yourself before getting your credit card swiped to avoid any future headaches.
Bring Your Paperwork
Even though you’re buying steel, paperwork still matters. If you are a company that qualifies for tax exemption, be sure to bring the correct paperwork to your sales representative. Ensure that the paperwork is up-to-date as this will speed up your future purchases because it will already be on file for your sales representative to pull up.
And The Crowd Goes Mild
When planning your next project that involves steel, opt for carbon/mild steel. Of course, there are plenty of projects where mild steel won’t cut it – stainless steel for a kitchen job or aluminum for an outdoor project. But, for the projects where you can utilize mild steel, it will most likely be your best option. For one, it will most often be the most readily available material. Also, more times than not, it will always be cheaper than aluminum or stainless.
Delivery Makes Life Easier
If you know what materials you need for a project ahead of time, delivery will save you time and money. Most people associate delivery with simply saving time as they do not have to go to the shop to order their materials. However, when opting for delivery, you will not need to get your materials cut if you can do it yourself. The delivery truck will be able to haul the full-size material and you can save money on cutting charges.
Have Something in Common
Purchasing steel turns difficult when attempting to replace existing parts. This is because the material you are replacing may not exist in in-stock options. This can be attributed to manufacturers creating parts that are odd-sized to ensure that you will purchase replacement parts from them rather than an outside source.
Generally, you will have the easiest time procuring steel by opting for a common gauge and/or size of material. This will save you time by not having to call around from place to place looking for your material that may not exist or may not be easy to order. It will also save you money if the size does exist, but many places don’t carry it in stock, as you will most likely have to buy the material in bulk to have the steel shop order it.
Measure Twice, Order Once
Overall, nothing is more important than ensuring you’re ordering the right amount of material. You will need to measure your project accurately, which includes total footage, the width of the material, and the thickness of the material. This will also ensure that if you need to purchase more, you will have trouble procuring it again. That said, nothing kills time more than returns. Make sure you are projecting for just a bit over your exact footage needed in case of any wrong cuts. Avoid purchasing an exorbitant amount of material as that will guarantee a trip back to the steel shop.
As you can see, buying steel isn’t as simple as ABC. But, it can be simplified. Next time you are visiting the steel shop, keep these tips in mind to make your next experience as painless as possible.
Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Steel
Are you in need of steel supplies? Look no further than the professionals at Tampa Steel and Supply. We stock an extensive list of steel products for whatever project you need to tackle. We’re proud to have served our customers for nearly four decades and are ready to assist you with your steel needs. Have questions? Give us a call today to learn more, or stop by our beautiful Tampa showroom.