No matter what your construction business does, you need to have reliable vendors who can provide you with the materials and services you need to keep things running smoothly. But how do you find the best vendors for your specific needs? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Get Referrals from Other Contractors
Find a happy contractor with his vendors and ask for their contact information if you’re starting. You may even be able to negotiate a deal where you pay for the referral if it turns into an order.
Get recommendations from project managers as well. This can be especially helpful since they generally work directly with the vendors and tell you more about their reliability, quality of services provided, response times, etc.
2. Check with Local Businesses That Use Them
Most businesses depend on a network of trusted service providers who keep them in business day after day. Ask your local coffee shop owner, dry cleaner, and company around the corner which vendors they use for their construction supplies and services.
You can also ask larger local businesses – such as a branch of your local bank – whether they’re using any vendors that could benefit you.
3. Check Online for Reviews from Previous Customers
Don’t just check for federal and state business registration records, though this can be an excellent place to start. Check online for reviews from previous customers and see whether the vendor’s services and products have been satisfactory.
However, even if a company has a high number of positive online reviews, you should not necessarily rely on them as your sole source of information. In some cases, the company has hired someone to write fake reviews that make their company seem better than it is.
Instead, expand your research by checking the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website for complaints against your potential vendors. You can also try to find an online review site that specializes in reviewing contractors and construction companies if you’re having trouble finding information about a vendor.
4. Find Vendors Who Go Beyond Selling Products
Keep in mind that if you’re buying your construction supplies and services, you don’t just want a company with the lowest prices.
Look for vendors who provide quality products and services at reasonable rates and go above and beyond by offering assistance and guidance with planning and budgeting and ensuring your safety on site.
For example, bannersolutions.com offers an extensive list of products, but it also has subject-matter experts who can advise you on the ideal items according to your needs and budget.
5. Ask for Proof of Insurance
If possible, ask for proof of insurance before you deal with your vendors. If something goes wrong during their work (e.g., damage to your property caused by their faulty installation), you want to make sure that their insurance will cover it without coming back on your business.
Also, if they have an insurance deductible, you want to know what it is so that you’re prepared if they don’t cover the damage or ask for your help to pay for it.
Even better, ask them what type of coverage they have and if there are any limitations so you can plan if something happens with their work.
6. Ask for Their Portfolio
If a vendor doesn’t have a website with an online portfolio, ask them to show you samples of their work in person.
You can also ask for references from previous clients willing to vouch for the company’s quality of service and products, how long it took them to complete the project, whether they stuck to the budgeted amount, etc.
Also, try to determine what type of warranty they offer if their products are defective or fail prematurely. The longer the warranty period is, the better.
7. See if They’re a Legitimate Business
As mentioned earlier, some vendors are fly-by-night operations that disappear after taking your money. While it’s not always possible to verify the legitimacy of a new vendor, you can check whether they’re registered with local authorities and have an actual business address where they operate from.
Keep in mind that if their contact information isn’t publicly available, this is another red flag that the company might not be legitimate.
8. Pick Those That Keep Themselves Updated
Finally, make sure that your preferred vendors stay active in the industry by attending trade shows and any other events related to the work they do. This will help them keep up with new technologies that might impact their efficiency, productivity, services, and pricing.
Also, find out which associations your preferred vendors are members of. This way, you can verify whether they adhere to their professional code of conduct and make sure that any complaints against them are dealt with in a timely manner.
Choosing the right construction partner is one of the biggest decisions that you’ll make for your business. Keep these eight tips in mind to help you find vendors with a good reputation.