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checklist1When you’re looking for a steel supplier, whether for a project or a long-term business relationship, you want to know that you’re working with a good one. But how do you determine whether the supplier you’re looking at will be there when you need them or will stand by their products instead of disappearing at the first sign of problems? Here are some things to look for when considering a steel supplier:

  1. Good reputation with the Better Business Bureau: A company that has been established for a number of years will often have a record with the Better Business Bureau in the area they’re based. Though they may have a complaint or two, a good company will have resolved it to the customer’s satisfaction.
  2. Variety of products and services: If you need an I-beam, you can get it from most suppliers. But will it be delivered by the supplier or do you need to arrange transportation to the job site? What about later when you need threaded rod or metal roof decking? Do they provide design services or fabrication to meet your needs? A variety of products and services help you use the same supplier as a one-stop shop, making your life easier.
  3. Staffed office with regular hours: If there’s a problem, you want to be able to reach someone at the company instead of having to leave a million voicemails on someone’s cell phone. Regular hours ensures you can pop in when you need something quickly without having to call ahead or hope that they’re at the shop.
  4. Good references available: If they’ve supplied jobs similar to yours in the past, they can probably provide you with references. References are great because you can ask questions as compared to reading statements on the Better Business Bureau’s website.
  5. Insurance coverage: Does the company have liability insurance in case there’s damage to your property while they’re delivering or if you’re hurt at their business site? What about worker’s comp insurance for their delivery people? If they don’t have worker’s comp, their employee can sue you for their injuries.
  6. Industry experience: How long has the business been open? A steel supplier with industry experience or many years in the industry has the knowledge needed to help make your project succeed.
  7. Certifications and Memberships: There are a number of certifications and professional memberships for suppliers in the steel industry to validate knowledge and quality. Some of these include the American Institute of Steel Construction’s certification program, local and national builders associations and more. While certifications do not guarantee quality, they demonstrate a supplier’s desire to stand out in their industry.
  8. Association membership: Association membership demonstrates that the company is active in a number of aspects within the industry. A good example is the American Welding Society.
  9. Portfolio: A supplier that’s been around the block has a portfolio of work completed using their products and services.
  10. Good customer service: Every company will have an unhappy customer at some point, but it’s how the company makes it right that counts.

At Ritner Steel, we’re proud to have served central Pennsylvania as its leading steel provider, in operation since 1948. We want to earn your business, so please contact us today for more details on how partnering with Ritner makes great business sense.

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