Working with suppliers or vendors will be an essential part of your construction business. Maintaining good relationships with these suppliers by being a reliable customer will help you grow your business confidently. Not only will vendors help you secure building material at a reasonable price, but they are knowledgeable about new products on the market and can keep your business on the cutting edge.
Having an account with a supplier ensures both parties that they can count on the other to fill their business needs. Registering as a professional with suppliers will give you the best price on the market and enable you to buy commonly used items in bulk at a reduced price.
Take these steps to establish an account with the suppliers you plan to use regularly.
- Choose your preferred suppliers. While price is an important factor in determining who you work with, it’s not the only thing. Find a manufacturer, distributor, or importer who is honest, reliable and has great customer service. While large suppliers may be able to cut costs in some areas, don’t neglect the smaller distributors who specialize in your niche and can offer expertise that other, larger companies can’t. Keep in mind the location of your supplier as well. If you will have additional shipping costs or if the supplier is located somewhere it may be difficult to ship from, consider another source. Ideally, your supplier will be able to provide your business with a variety of materials, but you will still need relationships with more than one supplier.
- Supply your tax ID certificate. Your tax ID certificate is from the IRS and confirms that you own a business with an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and can charge tax on purchases. A supplier can not sell wholesale to you without this information because they can not sell to individuals for their personal use. Clearly state your business name and industry so the supplier knows you are a businessperson. While they do want to know that you are a serious business, it is expected that you receive quotes from several suppliers before choosing one.
- Provide a credit reference. This can be the bank you use for your business accounts or business credit card holder. They just need to confirm that you are financially stable and feel confident that you will be able to pay your bills. Sometimes a copy of your credit card will be sufficient.
- Ask for the supplier’s information packet. A supplier should be able to provide you with written or digital information that you can refer to any time to understand how your account with them works. This may also include usernames and passwords for their website. It should give you details on how to place orders and information about how they ship supplies and deal with errors.
- Decide if you will need credit from the supplier. Many small businesses will be required to pay their invoices immediately, even if your clients are slow paying their own bills. If you are a larger business with a good credit history or have been diligently paying your bills with this supplier for years, you may qualify for credit. You can start small by asking for a short term or small amount of credit. If extending credit to your business is a good experience for the supplier, they will probably be willing to give you more credit in the future.
By carefully selecting the suppliers you work with, you have greater confidence in your building materials and know that you won’t lose time with orders that are lost, forgotten, or incorrect. Maintaining a good relationship with your suppliers will result in a more reliable construction timeline for your customers. Understanding what a supplier can do to help your business will increase your profits and keep your projects on track.