Tips on How to Choose an Electrical Parts Supplier
Businesses dealing in electrical parts abound in Australia. There’s the chain hardware stores, your local electrical parts store, and online retailers. These in turn are supplied by wholesalers which can be both brick-and-mortar stores or wholly online and working from warehouses. All sell electrical parts, but not all are equal. The parts they stock, the prices, and how they deal with customers varies. And you, as a potential buyer may choose one over the other depending on your needs. If you’re a sparky, or running your own business, then wholesalers might be a good choice when dealing with parts in bulk, but for homeowners, a store that has decent product lines at acceptable prices, along with good customer feedback might be more important.
What do You Need?
The type of electrical parts and the amount boils down or whether you’re a homeowner or running a business. If you’re a homeowner look to vendors that sell electrical parts online. They’ll have a range of products and product lines from respected brands in the business, and all the technical data you need. Alternatively, if you’re a self-employed electrician you’ll need a store that stocks parts in your line of work, for instance, new electrical installations, repairs to HVAC systems, or installing home solar. Some stores specialise in a particular field, while others may offer only the basic parts, and you’ll need to do a little shopping around.
Here there’s a distinction between stores that are restricted to parts for residential and general usage, like switches, power points, cabling and circuit protection or stores that also cater to various industries and businesses. The latter will stock parts more oriented to high voltage power and adequate circuit protection, as well as cabling, enclosures and high-end testing gear. Of course, prices are a major factor, but also parts availability.
Australian-made or Imported
Buying locally manufactured products has many benefits. First, the electrical parts are built to a standard, so they comply with current safety and wiring regulations. You know you’re buying a quality product that will last. Second, this supports the local economy, so the money stays here, meaning more jobs for the local population. Sure, you can get cheaper imports but the price is usually a reflection of quality. Usually, but not always. Stick to respected home brands and if you can’t find the product made by an Aussie company, then buy imported.
Local manufacturers have RRP price lists in their catalogues, so any drastic deviation means you’re getting ripped off. Even if you’re not comfortable with online purchases, a good idea is to check prices online before buying. This will give you a rough idea as to the total costs of your project. Homeowners can buy the parts they need with a little research, and save heaps. Electricians can plan to buy ahead, and order parts in bulk to reduce overall costs. Also, look for deals, like packaged parts or sales on popular items.
This can be both extremely simple and tricky. Again, choose a respected store, possibly with a physical address, to ensure that the parts you order are precisely the ones you need. Most electrical stores offer return policies on any wrong orders, or faulty items that may have been damaged on delivery or faulty, to begin with. Any sub-par parts must be returned to ensure safety.
Once you’ve settled on a store that sells parts online, compare product ranges and pricing. Cutting out the middle man usually means lower prices, and as a general rule, online shopping is cheaper. This is not the only benefit though. You can specify where you want parts delivered. For sparkies this saves time, and for homeowners, it means getting your parts without leaving home. The all too recent restrictions testify as to how important and convenient this can be. Parts are delivered within 3 business days to your specified address.
Read the Reviews
When browsing stores, always read customer reviews. This tells you what you’re getting into. Products are evaluated regarding quality, but also speak volumes about how the business deals with customers. Do they sell the electrical parts you need, or offer cheap imported knock-offs? Are buyers satisfied? Will they recommend the store to family and friends? Not all good electrical stores work online though. For brick-and-mortar stores, you need to rely on word-of-mouth info or go in the store yourself. If it’s a family business then you’re sure to be provided with a welcome dose of information as to the parts you want. Chain stores however are getting impersonal, and may not have staff versed in everything electrical.
Summing It Up
To choose the right electrical parts supplier you’ll want to know the parts you need, when you need them (think deadlines) and whether there’s the option of online purchases (with various payment options) to make everything quicker and less of a hassle. All parts can be delivered, so you also save time. Things to look for are brand names, preferably made locally and at decent prices. Return policies mean you’re building trust, and will shop with the store again.