5 Questions to Ask Your Potential Steel Supplier

Are you looking for a good steel supplier but don’t know where to start?

When you are looking for steel suppliers, it is important to stay selective. Always be on the lookout for steel suppliers that would perform well and produce steel according (to your demands) promptly.

We’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand what you might be needing steel for, and some questions to help you find the best supplier for your needs.

Keep reading to learn more.

Why Would I Need Steel?

Buying steel is a large investment.

Some common uses for steel include:

  • Building materials  ( i.e . beams, sheets)
  • Vehicle parts  (i.e. steel tubing or steel plates)
  • Decoration  (i.e. steel bars, nails, screws, bolts)

You are going to want to make sure that you are using steel correctly, and that the steel supplier will be able to offer steel that fits your needs.

Types of Steel Suppliers

Steel suppliers come in all shapes and sizes; it depends on the type of steel needs you have for your business. There are different types of steel suppliers that cater to different steel needs, including:

Forging Steel — Steel produced using a steel forging process. This includes steel billets, blooms, slabs, ingots, or nodules reduced in size and reheated.

Cold Steel — Steel cut to size from coil or sheet steel; also known as “cold steel plate”.

Hot Steel — Steel that comes from a steel mill and is ready to use. Hot steel is often found in the shape of bars, rods, steel plates, and steel sections. It is important to note that you can forge cold steel into hot steel if required by the customer.

Before you sign any contracts with steel suppliers, it is best practice to ask representatives from these companies five questions:

1. How Will You Ship the Steel?

One of the most important factors to take into account during steel supplier selection is how they will transport the steel.

Make sure that steel suppliers are using steel containers that can endure long trips without damage, and ensure that steel containers are properly labeled (i.e., with pertinent information like weight or dimensions).

This is important because steel containers that arrive without proper labeling may hold steel that is not the right shape, size, or quantity for your business.

2. Does Steel Quality Vary?

Another important factor to take into account when steel supplier selection is steel quality.

Ask steel suppliers if steel quality varies within the order, and ask for detailed explanations of steel grade specifications (i.e., tensile strength, yield strength). This is an important thing to ask steel suppliers because steel that has varying grades may perform poorly for certain purposes.

For example, steel that is low-quality may not meet the specifications (specs) of steel joists or steel fence posts, and steel that has a yield strength that falls short of steel bolts or steel screws may rust even if they are new.

Consider what you’ll be using steel for to help you make that decision.

3. Is Customization Included?

Before steel suppliers send steel logos, steel signs, and steel nameplates, it is important to ask if the original price includes customization. If not, expect steel suppliers to charge extra for steel customization.

You may want to customize steel products because steel may not fit in with your company’s brand image. For example, you must customize steel signs to include company logos. 

4. How Are Steel Products Packaged?

Be sure to ask steel suppliers if they include steel packaging in the original price. Different steel suppliers may package steel containers in different ways (e.g., steel pipes, steel bars). 

Different steel packaging types pose different risks to steel suppliers when shipping steel containers. For example, steel products (e.g., steel pipes) that are loose or not properly bundled may become dented during steel shipment. 

5. What Is the Lead Time on Steel?

Lead time refers to how long it takes steel suppliers to process and send steel to their customers.

For steel suppliers, steel lead times may change depending on steel availability. Be sure to consider steel suppliers’ steel lead time during steel supplier selection and steel price comparisons to find steel suppliers with steel lead times that meet your requirements.

If you need to have something delivered as soon as possible, steel suppliers with shorter steel lead times may be best, while steel suppliers with longer steel lead times may be better if you can wait.

Find the Best Steel Supplier

Finding the best steel supplier for your needs takes some time. More often than not, a larger reputable company like BlueScope Distribution will be a good place for you to look.

Not only is it important to ask steel suppliers these five questions during steel supplier selection, but it is also important to ask for references from other steel customers so you can contact them about their experiences working with steel suppliers.

By asking steel customers for references, you can find out what kind of service they received from their steel suppliers and how well it worked out for steel customers.

Once steel suppliers have passed steel supplier selection, you can ask steel suppliers for steel price estimates to help you find the best deal.  It is important to compare steel prices from different steel suppliers before making any decision because not all steel prices are the same.

If steel suppliers cannot give you an estimate of steel costs over the phone, look for suppliers who provide free steel quotes.  Free steel quotes from steel suppliers may be a great way to help you find the best steel prices available.

Get Started With Your Steel Purchase

By asking these 5 questions, your steel supplier will be able to provide steel products that meet the steel customers’ steel specifications. You might have other questions that are more specific to your needs, but these will be a good starting point for you.

For more helpful home tips, be sure to check out more of our articles to learn more.

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