As we’ve covered before, buying steel isn’t the simplest process. Some knowledge is necessary to make your purchase successful. Now, what’s the best source of knowledge you could get when it comes to steel? The people who sell it, of course! In order to have an efficient, cost-conscious trip to the steel shop, read some tips from our sales reps Pip, Patty, and Maggie to help you on your next trip.
Inside Steel: Tips from Sales Reps
Stop, Drop, and Save
Pip offers a piece of sage wisdom: “when in doubt, ask to see our drop racks.” If you are looking for a smaller piece of material and don’t want to splurge on excess material you will not need, the drop rack is the perfect option for you. Comprised of odds and ends of material cut from previous projects, you will save time and money by buying just what you need. You will even luck out most of the time by skipping on a cutting charge since it’s previously cut. And most importantly, once you look at the drop rack, you may find something you didn’t even know you needed!
Develop a Steel Relationship
Maggie suggests: “Your relationship with your steel sales representative is just as important as the steel you’re buying,” Going into a steel shop for the first time may be a bit overwhelming. You don’t know how you will be treated if you’re getting the best deal, or even something as simple as someone remembering your name.
If you will be making frequent steel purchases, developing a rapport with a sales representative is crucial. The sales rep will have your best interest in mind and will do what they can to make sure you have the best experience. Whether you’re having a hard time finding material or looking for a deal, make sure you bond with a sales rep and you’ll be on your way to getting what you need in no time.
Inside or Outside: What’s the Diameter?
Patty shares a reminder: “When measuring for your project, know whether you are looking for outside diameter or inside diameter when it comes to round tubing and pipe. It will save everyone time and headaches!” This tip rings loudly in the office as we are often faced with customers not knowing the difference between pipe and round tubing. Round tubing is measured by the outside diameter. Whereas pipe is measured by the inside diameter of the opening. Once you know that information, you will be better informed on how to order the material you need.
Your Eyes Will Not Betray You
Maggie reiterates to trust your senses: “If you can’t visualize the thickness or the width of the material you need, don’t leave it up to chance. Come check it out for yourself.” We often see people who don’t particularly deal with steel much struggle with correctly sizing the material they need. The best remedy to preventing returns, exchanges, and unnecessary waste of time is coming down, verifying the sizes you need, and being sure you are buying the correct material. You’ll thank yourself later.
Dress to Steel
Maggie has some fashion advice: “If you’re ever visiting a steel shop, don’t forget to wear closed toes and pants.” If you ever walk into a steel shop and start talking to a sales rep, they may mention the surplus area and drop racks. For safety reasons, you want to be prepared to go look at the material with the appropriate clothing.
If It’s Odd, Get Even
Pip’s time-saving tip is simple: “If you are looking for odd-sized material, chances are it’s fabricated. Go with a size that is usually in stock.” You find yourself replacing something on your boat, car, or home and need a piece of steel that is an uncommon size. Unfortunately, it’ll be almost impossible to find unless you get it fabricated. So to save yourself time and money, opt for a size of steel that is readily available that still works for your project.
After absorbing all of this information, you will be set up for success on your next trip to the steel shop. But Maggie wants to leave you with one parting thought: “Steel is like a box of chocolate: buy quality and quantity.”
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.