Finding a good plumbing supplier can be difficult at the least. There are so many stores, selling a variety of plumbing goods, both as traditional brick-and-mortar stores complete with showrooms, and online businesses selling products directly to customers. Product quality differs from store to store, and so does range. Some also sell electrical goods and building supplies and round out as a one-stop-shop for all your domestic renovating needs, while others specialise solely in industrial plumbing equipment. Tradies, homeowners, and DIYers are all catered for, with different business policies to suit.
Assessing Your Needs
Evaluating the types and amount of plumbing supplies you need can narrow down your search considerably. If you run a plumbing business that specialises in large-scale commercial and industrial plumbing, you’ll want a supplier that is well stocked and offers discounts when buying in bulk. If you’re a homeowner in need of a few random parts, then there’s the option of online stores if you know what you need, or traditional plumbing suppliers that can help in making better decisions on which products to go for. Different stores tend to different customers, both in their approach, and the products they sell.
How urgently do need a specific part or delivery? This largely depends on the type of plumbing you usually do. For quick fixes in homes, you’ll want items delivered and installed as soon as possible. Having to wait a day more to use taps or toilets won’t build customer satisfaction, nor does it present a good business case. If you’re working on new developments, then time is a little more flexible, and you can plan deliveries and purchases according to your needs. Time frames will determine where you buy the required plumbing supplies for the project.
For homes and homeowners, it’s the nearest store, whereas for bigger projects you can shop around and save significantly. In the second case, you might also need specialised products that you need to source from a specific supplier, or need to pre-order. Either way, there’s a waiting period, so plan ahead.
Quality Parts or Lower Prices?
You’ll rarely find plumbing suppliers that offer both, but a bit of shopping around, and some browsing can yield surprising results. Large chain stores might have all the parts you need, but won’t necessarily have the staff to offer expert advice on the differences. Family-owned stores tend to be more focused in this area, as they work locally and know their stuff. Larger companies may have the advantage of offering lower prices because of turnover numbers, but what does that say about their stock.
Does it meet Australian building standards? Are these cheap imports or made locally? As a plumber you won’t want to get the cheapest plumbing supplies, only to find that pipes have burst, and kitchens overflowing with water, due to inferior connections and hoses, or the parts you skimped on. Source quality parts at reasonable prices. Online stores are your best bet, as they cut out the middleman for a lower price, while giving you detailed information about the products you’re buying. If you need specialised and hard to find items, then these might need to be bought individually at a higher cost. Balancing quality and value may be hard, but it’s doable.
If you know what inventory you need and the amount, then online orders can save you time. This is especially important if you’re a business, as it lets you tend to the tasks that can be readily done. Waiting is always a pain. For homeowners and DIYers, ordering plumbing supplies online is more about convenience than need or urgency. You can compare prices from different stores without having to leave your home. For tradies, it means same-day deliveries if you’re lucky or within a few business days.
Also, pricing is different. Traditional stores have large overhead costs, namely staff and rent, that you as the customer need to cover in the final cost of the product. Online stores are more efficient in this sense, as they only advertise online, but may have products stored in warehouses. Staff numbers are lower, and that translates to cheaper prices of the same plumbing items.
You’ll always hear slogans that guarantee your money back if you are not satisfied with your purchase. Or return the item and have it replaced. This can occur for a couple of reasons, either you purchased the wrong part, or the part was damaged or faulty to begin with. This is awkward in either case, and there are other businesses besides plumbing that won’t accept returns. Establish a solid business relationship with a plumping supplier that accepts returns, and acknowledges that errors happen and that a few parts just might not be up to scratch.
Read Customer Reviews
The best way to find out if the business is legit in offering the best plumbing supplies is by reading customer reviews. You’ll find a lot about the company, the customer service they provide and the quality of parts on sale. Word-of-mouth is another thing to go by, especially in tradie circles. Once you find a supplier you can trust and that stocks the parts for your type of job, you’ll be spending less time searching for parts, and more on the job. Happy hunting!