When the equipment you hire or purchase is key to your business and livelihood, choosing the right supplier is crucial. With construction equipment it is a little more than a ‘pop to the shops and grab some milk’ kind of purchase; there is a much higher expectation from a pumping, mixing or spraying machine and you need to feel reassured that the service you are receiving is the right for you. Here are some areas we would suggest you investigate when looking for a new supplier.
Cost is often the first thing you may look at when purchasing or hiring equipment. Look for a supplier who is transparent and clear about costs.
Are costs clearly indicated on their website/in-store?
Are there any extras associated with your equipment (e.g. hoses, spray kits for machines) and are additional costs made clear?
Are delivery costs obvious?
Are prices competitive?
Whether shopping online in-store the more you know and can find out about a product, the better, particularly with those bigger ticket items which are quite an investment. If you’re looking on the website, is there plenty of detail about the product? Are there videos showing it in action? Are the company technically clued-up on their products so that the support network is there should you go ahead and purchase? Is there any opportunity to trial items ahead of buying? Consider the quality of the products on offer too. With cost being key for so many, are there a range of products available at different price-points? What about the brands the company stocks are they well-established, reliable brands?
These are all key questions to ask and whilst the price is important, the service, information and support you receive when you come to using your product/machine, is equally important.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool between businesses and in a world of social media where companies can communicate regardless of where they are in the country, you can now easily find out the companies with a good reputation. Ask around, have others in the industry heard of the company you’re considering going to? With the handy tool of hashtags and search functions why not look for the company in question and see what you can find out. If you’re looking for a particular machine, it can be helpful to see the machine in action with customers who have hired and purchased it, so have a dig around on social platforms (Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn) and see what you can find. You can even directly message the company and find out more about the machine you’re considering or the business supplier you’re mulling over. You may also discover reviews via Google or the company's own website.
When it comes to larger purchases or hire of machines, you certainly wouldn’t want a company that waved you out the door and that was the end of it. With machinery things can go wrong/break-down so it is reassuring when you have a back-up service available from the company. That may be in the shape of team members available at the end of the phone to help you overcome challenges or a workshop team that can carry out repair work or regular servicing. Finding a reliable company that you feel you can come back to again and again and build a strong rapport with is important. If a company knows you by name and you’re not just a number this can be a good indication that they care about you as a company and want to offer you the best possible customer service; they’re the ones to keep hold of. Are the team behind the company knowledgeable in their field? Within construction, you want to be sure the team have great technical knowledge and therefore can help you out with your machines. You want to be sure you’re getting the best possible advice when it comes to product selection at the decision-making stage. A well-established company can often have years of experience and are great to seek advice from.
While the term ‘values’ may seem like the “fluffy stuff”, finding a company whose principles align with yours is really important. You may have stumbled upon companies before that are all about the sale (you know those cold-callers who pester you on a daily basis yet call you James instead of Jack!) and you will instantly get a feel as to whether they’re right for you. Values you may seek out from your business supplier could be:
Openness and honesty
Going above and beyond
Caring and listening
Being forward thinking
A desire to work together
Call the company you're thinking about working with, or message them via social platforms, often this less formal method of communication will really give you a feel for the people behind the company and whether they are the right fit for you. It’s perhaps an overused phrase however it’s very true, ‘People buy from people’ so do you really want to buy from that cold-calling company James, sorry Jack?!!