Buyer beware when buying a steel building

Posted on November 2, 2015

steel-buildings

 

  • Make sure you are actually dealing with someone who manufactures their own product.
    • Many brokers will claim they are factory direct and in a sense that may be true since the building has to be built somewhere and it will ship from that location. Ask for the address of their factory and Google earth it or reverse search the address to see if that is truly the company you are talking to. If they can’t give you the address or they tell you it’s one of several of our plants then you are dealing with a broker who has no assets other than a rented sales office.
  • Have a clear understanding of what is included in your building kit.
    • The person you deal with should be able to price all the options you need, don’t fall for getting the price locked in and someone else will contact you about the options you need. Many times those options become overpriced and the good deal you thought you were getting disappeared. The company already has your money and won’t give it back leaving you the choice to walk away, be sued, or pay more. Reputable companies will not play this game, they will be able to price you the complete building package you want.
  • Don’t fall for the canceled building pitch.
    • Many of the brokers in this industry use this pitch to hard close customers and make it sound like it’s a deal – you have to act on it now or you will lose out. It is rare for someone to order a building, put down money and walk away from that money. It’s even rarer that a company just happens to have a building so close to the size you want and it’s been designed for the codes and loads of your area. The odds of this happening are about the same as winning the lottery. If for some reason a company actually had a canceled building available delivery should be able to take place within a couple weeks and you won’t have a choice of sheet metal colors.
  • Don’t be mislead by someone telling you they are the shipping manager and just picked up the wrong line, but they just happens to be able to help you.
    • When the phone is answered and the person on the other end plays a role of being someone other than who you should be talking to beware, it is just an unscrupulous company deceiving you and trying to get your money. If you have already worked with a company make sure to ask for the same person, they will be most familiar with your project. If it’s a new contact or company be aware of this ploy.
  • Make sure the company you are talking to is who they say they are.
    • This one is hard to believe, but there is a company in Florida that actually will tell you they are a competitor’s company name, then be rude and do anything to make you never want to talk to that company again. Why you ask? It allows them to call you back as their company and receive a much warmer welcome and gives them a better chance of selling you a building.
  • Real warranties are supplied through manufactures.
    • If you are being told about a company warranty, be sure you understand who is behind the warranty. Many brokers of steel buildings buy from multiple suppliers and the factory warranties are not the same, if they exist at all. If they are offering a 50 year warranty who is backing it? A broker has no factory, no assets and no way to back a warranty. Ask for a copy of the warranty before you buy for peace of mind.
  • The weld up kit.
    • Some companies offer a building kit and the price seems very good. The part they don’t tell you is that it is a weld up kit. It is full of component parts that must be field welded together in order to then erect your building. Not only is this an expensive labor option, but you also take the liability for all the welds.
  • The imaginary dealer network.
    • The conversation starts with “We have dealers all over the country that we can turn you over to” but then somehow they will be able to price you out some special deal they just found out about on a building. Ask for the nearest dealer’s name & address so you can contact them directly for the “special deal”. The deal is usually in a size close to what you wanted but not exact. Again what are the chances of that happening with the correct loads and codes and if they actually have it, they should be able to ship it within 2-3 weeks. Get that delivery in writing before putting up your money or when it doesn’t get delivered you have nothing to go back on.
  • Show case building.
    • With this sales tactic you will be told that you can be offered a special deal because the company needs, but doesn’t have a show building in your area. They will ask if you would be willing to show your building from time to time and may even offer a referral fee for when you do. If you are in agreement, they will make you believe that they are giving you large discount on your building when in truth the building price would have been the same.

I am a National Sales & Marketing Manager for a steel building company and these are all true scenarios of how some companies try and sell buildings. Hopefully by exposing some of these unscrupulous tactics it will at least make you aware of what to expect when you request a quote and the phone starts ringing. There are several good, ethical companies to work with, do your homework and you can own the exact building you’ve always dreamed of at a fair price.

Remember purchasing a steel building is a big investment and should be something that not only protects what is important to you, but something that will increase the value of your property and you should be proud of. Don’t fall for the tactics, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Warren Bott

Worldwide Steel Buildings