Steel is one of the strongest and most versatile building materials on the market. It can be used to create large high-rises, small car ports, trailer frames, fencing or even furniture, and anything built with it will last for decades with minimal maintenance. It is available in many standard forms, including angle iron, channel iron, bars, plates, pipe, tubing, I-beams, sheets and rolls, and with some basic welding, grinding and cutting skills can be assembled into nearly anything.
If your business or hobby requires a large volume of steel, as welding shops, manufacturing facilities and large commercial builders do, there are several options available to obtain a steady supply. You can work with large out-of-town steel mills, direct importers or you can find a local supplier. Although you may get a slightly better price on large volumes of steel from a mill or an importer, finding a local supplier often offers serious advantages that make up for any differences in price.
Here are the benefits of working with local steel suppliers in the Houston area:
#1 Immediate Availability
Often during a building, fabrication or welding project, a few extra pieces of steel are needed due to unforeseen circumstances: short orders, miscalculations, changes or human error. If you are dealing with local steel suppliers, as long as the particular product you need is in stock, it is available for immediate pick up. When working with a distant mill or importer, there is a large lead time before the product is available, minimum orders, and a long wait from order until delivery, which could delay your project or force you to use a local supplier anyway. By working with a local supplier, you can make sure that they know what products you will be using, they can have what you need in stock, and they’ll likely anticipate any additional needs, as well.
#2 No Minimum Orders
When you are working with a large direct supplier, there is often a large minimum order that must be fulfilled before it is worth it for them to do business with you, such as a certain number of pounds, or a truckload. This limits the amount and types of products that you can order from the company, and if you are a small business, it can be difficult to find the amount of free cash to meet the minimum requirements. By working with a local supplier, you are free to order as little or as much steel as you need, according to availability. This also reduces the amount of money you have to spend, freeing cash for other business requirements.
#3 Better Quality Control
Often, when dealing with distant suppliers, there is no sure way to gauge the quality of the steel before you actually receive it, beyond the company’s stated specifications, which may or may not accurately describe the materials. By working with steel suppliers in the Houston area, you can be sure that you are getting the best materials for your project, at a decent price, because you can easily go to the supplier yourself and physically inspect the material before making a purchase. And, by having an existing relationship with the supplier who is local and easily accountable for any grievances or mistakes, you can trust that you will receive only the highest-quality materials.
#4 Wide Product Selection
Certain suppliers may only deal with a limited selection of products, such as building materials or basic steel stock. With the large minimum orders, it may not be feasible to order a wide selection of steel from a large supplier. A small steel supplier can offer a much wider selection of products because they can deal with multiple suppliers. They can also offer other products, such as welding supplies, pipe fittings, flanges and metal working tools, making it more convenient to work with a local supplier who can cover most of your project needs.
#5 Special Deals
As just one of many customers, dealt with at a distance, importers and steel mills may not offer you much negotiation room in their prices, or any other incentives, in an attempt to keep your business. A local supplier is much more dependent on your business, and may offer special discounts, deals on overstocked or surplus materials, or other valuable rewards to keep you coming back, especially if you are a large volume customer.
#6 Better Customer Service
Distant suppliers are less likely to go out of their way to keep you happy, and if you have problems, they will likely be much harder to resolve than with a local supplier. By dealing with steel suppliers in the Houston-area, you will get to know your supplier personally and can form a long-lasting relationship built on mutual respect. If you have problems with an order, a small supplier will be much more likely to resolve it quickly, or to go above and beyond for you. This includes placing special orders, making sure what you need is always in stock and other benefits that can only happen with regular face-to face interactions.
#7 Helping the Local Economy
By placing orders with a supplier that is not local, that money winds up in another area completely, and does not help local economy. By purchasing locally, more of your money stays in the community, directly helping that business, its employees, and any other local businesses that rely on the transactions from your steel supplier and its employees, such as community banks, grocery stores and restaurants. Buying local creates more jobs in the community and directly benefits your neighbors.
Whether you are building a large commercial building, or buying steel stock for your welding shop, dealing with steel suppliers in Houston is often a better choice than relying on a distant steel mill or large steel importer, simply because it is closer and easier to get what you need when you need it.