When starting repairs, each of us starts looking for a place where we could buy all the necessary building materials: from concrete mixers and cement to painting tools, plinths and other little things. We put forward a lot of criteria, and among the most important are the favorable price and quality of the goods. Delivery times, quality assurance and other factors also become important. So where is the best place to buy building materials and what should you pay attention to first of all?
# 1. Construction market, store or online site?
Companies specializing in the provision of construction and repair services, as well as private builders who perform all the work on their own, can easily name several places where you can purchase the necessary building materials:
- construction market;
- specialized construction stores and hypermarkets;
- online stores;
- announcements in catalogs and magazines.
The main advantage of shopping in the construction market is the low price and the opportunity to save a lot. On the other hand, these savings can be deceiving. The fact is that products are often stored in improper conditions: the temperature and humidity conditions required for different materials are not observed. In such outlets it is difficult to find someone who bears real responsibility for the correct storage of products, therefore, it is often sold already unusable, or with deteriorated performance.
A big plus of the construction markets is the opportunity to see and examine the goods, but a considerable number of fakes are concentrated there, so you need to have enough experience to make a really profitable purchase. If you are not sure that you can distinguish a quality product from a fake, then it is better to buy only little things in the markets, such as screws, nails, etc. However, if it is necessary to purchase a large batch of building materials, for example, immediately for repairing an entire apartment, difficulties may arise: you will have to run to different points and look for the required material, since everything you need may not be in one place. Markets are great for buying supplies for small renovations.
Hardware stores and hypermarkets have a large and often huge range of products, offering literally everything from nails and tape to roofing materials. The product quality is several times higher than on the market. Firstly, with solid retail space, it is not difficult to organize a storage place for goods and maintain the necessary conditions there. Secondly, large stores work on a long-term reputation, therefore, as a rule, they sell quality goods from well-known manufacturers. The probability of buying a fake or expired product, of course, is in this case, but still it is much lower than in the construction market.
You have to pay for a large assortment, beautiful presentation of all materials and proper storage conditions – prices in construction hypermarkets are, as a rule, higher than at any other trading floors. If there is time in stock (relevant for private construction), you can wait for promotions and sales that large retail chains hold regularly. Some sites offer discounts on shipping, and when ordering for a certain amount, they offer free shipping.
Online stores of building materials can be called a compromise solution. They are distinguished by a huge assortment and the most favorable prices, because rent and other expenses are several times lower here. What’s more, buying online can save you tons of time. The only drawback is the inability to see the product and touch it before buying, so it is better to contact trusted online stores.
Newspapers and catalogs are not a very popular way to shop, but some manufacturers still use it. Such catalogs always contain contact information and terms of cooperation. In fact, this is a paper version of an online store, only the range of products will be lower. As a rule, catalogs are devoted only to a certain type of product, and often these are goods of a high price category or having a high aesthetic value.
# 2. What to ask the seller?
How to make sure that the product offered to you is of high quality and safe? For any product, a quality certificate can be required, which will attest, for example, that formaldehyde emission from chipboard is at an acceptable level (E0, E1), and the finishing materials do not include zinc or lead.
The buyer has the right to know other information about the product: the address of production facilities, composition, belonging to a particular brand or grade, as well as the expiration date. After making sure that the products are safe and comply with all standards, you can evaluate the seller by other criteria.
The storage conditions of products are a very important, and in some cases decisive, factor. If insulation, solid wood products or a gas block were stored at high humidity and with a constant temperature drop, then they have lost a good half of their useful performance and can hardly be used during construction work. If the seller does not let you inspect the warehouse and evaluate the storage conditions, this says a lot. In this case, it makes sense to overpay a little, but it is guaranteed to get products of the required quality, than to save money and return again after some time to buy.
Large stores deal with delivery issues themselves – this is very convenient, since you do not have to look for a carrier and agree with him on all delivery details. The more elements in the circuit, the more likely it is that there will be stutters and delays. Delivery conditions, however, may differ, and the cost often depends on the distance of the construction site. Some large stores are ready to deliver products for free, subject to ordering goods for a certain amount.
The more payment options the seller offers, the more convenient it is for the buyer. The basic set of almost any trading platform includes cash payment and non-cash payment by card. Large stores offer the possibility of a bank transfer, which is important for legal entities and entrepreneurs. Some sites also work with electronic money systems, but this is still a rarity. If we are talking about online stores, then it should be possible to pay after product delivery.
The responsible seller, regardless of the size of the marketplace, must provide a warranty for its products, replace them or return them in case of non-conformity. It is better to ask about this in advance, or even better – to read reviews about a particular seller, paying attention to his behavior in force majeure situations.
No. 3. When is the best time to buy building materials?
It is most profitable to shop in winter. During this period, construction and repair work practically freezes, so many manufacturers and sellers are ready to offer the lowest possible prices. Manufacturing plants give dealers decent discounts on the condition of purchasing products for a certain amount, and they, in turn, discount the price to buyers. Often, even delivery in the winter is cheaper, as is the rental of truck cranes and other equipment. Needless to say, the products will be delivered faster during the unpopular winter time, unless, of course, the city is covered with snow.
To take advantage of favorable winter prices, it is necessary to provide the purchased products with normal storage conditions. This should be at least a room with a roof. Some products will require maintaining specific conditions, and if the batch is large, then the warehouse must be reliably protected from theft, so weigh all the benefits and costs.
No. 4. What else to consider when buying?
The seller must carry out pre-sale preparation of the goods, i.e. inspect the products, and for some types of goods – check the completeness and availability of the necessary parts and diagrams for assembly. All types of goods undergo pre-sale training: from bricks and lumber to doors and metal products. On the other hand, the buyer should be aware that pre-sale preparation does not involve assembly – it is usually done for a fee.
When selling bulk fasteners by weight, the seller must provide the buyer with the opportunity to weigh the goods themselves. Measuring instruments must be verified. If you do not trust, then you can take with you a reference weight (a weight, the mass of which is known for sure).
Often promotions in large stores are associated with the fact that the shelf life of the product is coming to an end, so you should not lose your mind in the pursuit of profit: it is important to check the quality certificates, the shelf life and clearly determine for yourself whether you will have time to use the product while it still has necessary qualities.
The seller must definitely give a sales receipt – in which case it will be needed to process a return.