There’s a few questions that we get asked on a repeated basis from our potential clients. One of them is, “Will it be cheaper if we supply our own material?” We’ve written an article in the past about this which you can read here but in general most clients are better off if we supply the material. And we’d like to explain why this is the case. When we look for a supplier we have a very stringent criteria that our suppliers need to meet before we will use their products. When we do find a great supplier that meets all of our criteria we stick with them. To give you a good example of this we’d like to tell you a story why Nuvo Iron is one of our best suppliers.
We were recently doing a large iron fence install for a large home builder in London, ON. There was a long 400′ section of fence on the road and then a block of town houses with courtyards that all got a fence and gates. We met with the builder ahead of time and took exact measurements of the courtyards and the gate locations. We also discussed with the builder what standard gate sizes were and the openings that would be needed for the gates. A few weeks later all of the material arrived and we started the project. We did the long fence on the road first without any issues and it looked great. Then we got to the courtyards. Immediately we realized our first problem. The builder had changed the courtyards slightly and added a step from the courtyard down to the sidewalk. The steps were a pre-cast concrete product that had widths ranging from 48 1/8″ to 49″. Our maximum gate opening for the standard gates was 46 1/2″. So somehow we needed to gain almost 2″ on our gates.
We spent some time brainstorming ideas and every solution we came up with ended up looking terrible as there was too much of an opening between the gate and the fence. We ended up calling the supplier, Nuvo Iron, to discuss some options and our normal sales person was out of the office. Not a great start to solving this problem. After very little time we were put in touch with the owner of the company. This was a new one for us. Usually, it’s impossible to get in contact with the owner. We explained our situation to him and asked for some kind of a solution.
Going Out of Your Way For the Customer
We’re still shocked at his response to our problem. Most suppliers would give you a quick idea and be off the phone. Not the case with Nuvo Iron. The owner spent a few minutes getting all the information. Then responded that the only real solution to this problem was getting custom gates built. This of course was our initial solution as well but then the cost of custom building gates was out of the question for the builder. We told Nuvo Iron this and their response was that it wasn’t going to cost anything extra they would just take care of it. Now we’re definitely into uncharted territory dealing with suppliers.
So we were asked to supply exact measurements of each of the gate openings which we promptly did.
The next question they had for us was when we needed the gates by. To give you some perspective, we were dealing with this on a Wednesday and Nuvo’s typical lead time is 2 weeks. We needed to have the gates installed on the next Tuesday so the builder could pass a city inspection scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. That was our deadline and we had to meet it. It would be inappropriate to print what the exact response was from Nuvo when informed of this deadline but the next words were “We’ll get it done.”
To finish off the story, our gates were ready Monday afternoon and we had them installed on Tuesday morning and everybody was happy!
These are the types of suppliers that we choose. At the end of the day, the problem we were facing was not the fault of Nuvo Iron by any means. And they also knew that it wasn’t there fault. They just came through and helped us come up with the best solution where everybody wins. This is called going above and beyond.
So yes, there may be a few cases where supplying material yourself may be a bit cheaper. This brings up the question though, will your supplier step up to the plate and help solve problems? That’s really the bottom line when looking for a supplier because one guarantee is that every project will have some sort of problem. We choose our suppliers so that when these types of problems happen we can quickly and easily resolve them and create projects that meet and exceed our clients expectations.