Perhaps one of the most significant contributions the Internet has made to our daily lives (outside of being able to connect with people we never spoke to and didn’t even know in high school) is the ability to find the rock-bottom price for just about anything we need to purchase easily. With a quick search on the right keywords, or a visit to megasites such as Amazon.com or eBay, we can find exactly what we’re looking for and save a lot of money to boot. Or so it would seem.
The truth is that strategy works for some items but not others. If you’re looking for a Sony video camera, or a new Chevy Volt, or an authentic 1950s Wurlitzer “bubble” jukebox they’re great. But when it comes to purchasing warehouse and industrial supplies and equipment, the waters get a lot murkier.
The problem is that most times you don’t have a specific brand or item in mind, so you search on a more generic term such as “shelving” or “casters.” What you return in results may or may not fit your requirements – but you won’t really know because there’s no one to ask. All you’re looking at is a very general product description, a photo and a price.
That’s the difference between shopping at a general site and one that specializes in warehouse and industrial equipment and supplies. With the latter you can explain what you need, ask questions and ensure that when the products are delivered they’ll actually work in your application.
By now you may be saying “oh, sure; how complicated can it be?” Here are three examples of where gaining a little assistance can save you some time and trouble, and ultimately work out to be less expensive than going cheap.
Wire shelving. Not all wire shelving is made to the same technical specifications or quality level. There is often a huge difference between wire shelving built specifically for industrial purposes and the kind made in the Third World (without regulations), sold from a personal website or account (without a physical location) and shipped from a self-storage locker (without liability insurance). You may save a little money up-front, but you’ll basically have wire shelving that’s suited to holding towels in your bathroom or garden tools in your garage, but won’t hold up in a warehouse setting that requires them to hold more than 300 lbs. because they used 7/8 inch diameter posts and collars. And good luck trying to return it when you realize it won’t work.