Builders merchants stock and supply most of the standard construction materials you’ll need for your project and will be able to source many others. Setting up accounts with several and making use of their additional services can help with your project and ensure you get the best prices.
What’s On Offer?
Builders merchants are constantly expanding their product ranges and the national chains supply everything from drainage and masonry materials through to timber, windows, kitchens and decorating supplies. In addition to their product and material ranges, many merchants offer useful customer services including:
- Estimating services.
- Plot finding.
- Brick selectors.
- Paint mixing.
- Kitchen and bathroom design.
- Tool hire.
Who Are The Builders Merchants?
There are a number of well known national chains of builders merchants that most people are familiar with including:
- Travis Perkins.
In addition, there are hundreds of independent merchants all over the country. They often collaborate forming buying syndicates to increase their purchasing power and remain competitive with the bigger players.
Builders merchants both locally and nationally recognise the growth of the self build market and will be keen to secure your business.
Setting Up Accounts
Once your design is finalised, get in touch with all the companies supplying your area. They will arrange a meeting or send out a rep to discuss your project. At the initial meeting you should discuss:
- Your design.
- Your material needs.
- Setting up an account.
- Their terms of business.
- Prices and discount rates that can be applied.
- Credit terms.
- Delivery options, prices, times etc.
- They should also identify non-standard items that may need further design specification, pre-ordering or prefabrication.
- Other useful services they offer.
If you have a choice, it’s worth setting up accounts with several merchants even if one looks more favourable at the initial meetings. Prices can fluctuate as your build progresses and having the option allows you to monitor prices and shop elsewhere if there is a cost saving or faster delivery available when you need it.
They may offer a choice of cash or credit accounts and if you opt for a credit account they will run a credit check as part of the application process. The flexibility of credit periods can help with the financial management of your project.
Your local yards will stock many items on site and although delivery is usually included in the service, most items can be collected from their yard if you need them sooner and can fit them in your vehicle. Some materials will require advance notice and pre ordering so if you are project managing and calling off materials, you need to plan ahead. Have a look at our tips page for more information.
It’s always worth shopping around for the best deals and even if you’ve sourced something independently, contact your builders merchant to see if they have a pre existing relationship with the supplier and whether they can get a better price than the one you’ve been offered.
Regardless of your build method, you’ll be using these merchants throughout your build. In addition to their material supplies and extra services they can be a good source of local information and general advice.
Don’t forget to have a look for at the rest of our Construction Materials section for tips and information on other supplies you’ll need.
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