Any new business needs to find suppliers to support it and provide its team with the equipment and products they need to offer customers the service they expect.
For plumbing businesses, everything from spare parts to tools needs to be supplied to teams on a regular basis, and due to the fast-paced nature of the market, you need to make sure that you have quality suppliers that can provide exceptional products.
It’s also vital that you create long-term relationships with your suppliers so that you can enjoy the benefits that these relationships have to offer, and that means finding suppliers you can relate to and build bonds with.
To help you find the perfect suppliers, we’ve put together a list of tips that will allow you to assess the suitability of every business in your area.
Before we get into discussing the importance of each of these points, here’s a quick break down of everything you need to check about your chosen supplier before you work with them.
- Customer Service Quality
- Product Range
- Product Quality
- Returns Policy
- Customer Reviews
When it comes to plumbing supplies for your business, it’s easy to feel more secure working with national chains, but local plumbing suppliers and stores can provide you with a unique service that cannot be found elsewhere. They are also more likely to provide quick delivery and a better standard of customer service, so check out the local supply options you have as well as the national chains that may have the products you need.
Ask For Product Advice
A great way to assess a new supplier is to ask for advice on their products and check that they can provide you with expert support. For example, Designer Radiators Direct can provide you with practical information on whether double panel radiators or single panel options are better for a particular project. The firm also offers trade accounts, giving you the chance to enjoy exclusive trade discounts, a dedicated account manager, free delivery on all orders and much more.
A Single Point Of Contact Will Make Ordering Easier
Building a long-term relationship with a supplier is easier if you have a single point of contact within the company. As such, you should try to find suppliers that will offer you a dedicated account manager, like the example mentioned above. This will make it easier for you to put in your order and deal with any issues that may arise.
Find Out If They Deliver
Delivery will be a vital factor for your business, as it will save you time, money and manpower. If you have to collect your purchases from a supply store, then your business won’t be able to operate efficiently, so check out the delivery options from your local suppliers. Review any extra costs they impose for delivery, as well as the times and the options they provide. Check if any local suppliers offer faster turnaround times for emergencies so that if you get an urgent callout and need a spare part, you can source it quickly.
Check Out Their Product Offering
As well as service, you also need to consider the product offering of each supplier in detail. For small parts and tools, search for a plumbing supplies store with everything you could possibly need. When it comes to fixtures and fittings, you need to find suppliers with quality products that your customers will like and which will stand the test of time. Review the options on the market and find the suppliers that will work for you and your customers.
Look Out For Companies With A Range Of Solutions
Some suppliers may offer a limited range of products, while others will have a variety of stock at different price points. Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may prefer a smaller high-quality supplier or a more significant provider. Choose the solution that will suit your organisation and give you the chance to provide your clients with the services they expect.
Websites Say A Lot About A Company
The website your supplier has will be a key factor in your decision, particularly if you’re planning on ordering through it. You need to make sure you find suppliers with easy to use sites that are accessibly laid out. Suppliers that incorporate the latest e-commerce solutions to help you make your purchases efficiently, or have already created a mobile app, should be at the top of your shortlist. This is because they have proven their commitment to providing their commercial clients with the cutting-edge support they need to run their businesses effectively.
Research Their Returns Policy
In some instances, you might need to return a product if it is faulty, or if you chose the wrong size or type of solution. It’s important that you check the terms of each supplier’s returns policy, to make sure that they offer you the chance to return products that don’t meet your requirements. If you’re unable to find information about a firm’s return policy online, and they are unwilling to discuss it with you, then this could be a sign that they do not offer a returns service that you can rely on. Make sure that when you choose a plumbing equipment supplier, you work with one that will offer you free and easy returns.
Ask For Recommendations
Your fellow plumbers and builders will have worked with a range of suppliers over their years in business, so use their knowledge to your advantage by asking for recommendations. Speak to any businesses you’ve worked for or with in the past, as well as the teachers who helped you to achieve your qualifications. They may have suggestions that can be tailored to your business’s unique needs, meaning that you can quickly and efficiently find the supplier that’s right for you.
Read Business Reviews
As well as recommendations from your industry peers, you should also check out online business reviews to see what a selection of other customers thought about your shortlist of suppliers. There are a variety of platforms out there that share customer reviews, so you can find a range of opinions and make an informed decision about which supplier to collaborate with on your exciting new plumbing business venture.