In an ideal world, the only considerations a building firm would have to make when sourcing steel beams would be the RSJ sizes, quantities and general specifications they need. In terms of quality, there wouldn’t be a great deal to think about as all RSJs would be created of equal calibre and with the same kind of value for money. Suffice to say however, this sadly isn’t the way of things in the real world as the more suppliers that creep out of the woodwork, the larger the variations in quality and value for money to expect from one brand to the next.

Still, the good news to be found in all of this is that the process of narrowing things down to a single supplier of the utmost quality isn’t just possible, but can be remarkably simple. It’s all about refusing to take anything for granted and carrying out your own vetting process before going ahead, being sure that the vendor you’re considering ticks all of the right boxes and doesn’t leave any grey areas.

So with this in mind, here’s a very quick and simple checklist for making sure the brand you choose is one of quality and value for money across the board:

Track Record

Every now and again, a newcomer will enter the game and give its rivals a serious run for their money with incredibly low prices and excellent products on offer. However, at the same time it’s often more advisable to look first at those brands that have been in industry for years, or perhaps even decades as these tend to be the companies that have a tried, tested and proven track record. It’s basically a case of looking into their history for evidence of both success and longevity, which in both instances represent important boxes to tick before going ahead with an order. The longer they’ve been in business, the better.

Output Capacity

If you’re planning to place a rather large order or one that includes a variety of complex RSJ specifications, it’s a good idea not to go ahead until you’ve wholly assessed the prospective supplier’s capacity. The reason being that while they may represent the ideal choice for just a few bits and pieces here and there, it might be difficult for a smaller supplier to cope with a large order. And where a brand struggles with larger orders, this could result in delays to the order’s fulfilment or perhaps problems with consistency of quality from one item to the next.

Customer Service Standards

There’s so much more to a safe and agreeable buying process than the products themselves and the prices they’re on offer for. While it’s never advisable to expect a negative outcome, you always have to pre-empt any potential problems and ask yourself how the vendor you’re looking at would respond or cope were something to go wrong. Have they proven themselves to be a valuable oracle of information when and where help is called for, or do they just sell what they have to sell and then turn a blind eye to everything else? Rock solid customer service should be offered as standard these days and represents a very important piece of the puzzle.

Feedback From Buyers

There’s a very big difference between shouting all manner of claims to fame and actually backing them with hard evidence. It’s easy for a brand to say it’s the best on the market and has never let a customer down, but what do the firm’s customers have to say about all this? Well, there’s only one way to find out and that’s by way of feedback – feedback that should be readily available or at least provided upon request. From case studies to testimonials to simple customer ratings via third-party websites, there’s really no excuse these days for any business not to have an archive of feedback to share with its prospective clients, so don’t be afraid to ask for evidence.

Price and Satisfaction Guarantees

Last but not least, once again there’s a very big difference between claiming to offer the lowest prices and/or the best quality products on the market and actually backing these claims to fame with guarantees. It’s generally unheard of these days for any brand that’s out to be taken seriously not to offer full price promises and general satisfaction guarantees, which essentially means that if they don’t live up to their promise, they’ll either refund the difference or issue a full refund upon request. Look for evidence of guarantees and ask if there’s any remaining doubt whatsoever.