7 Tips for Locating Hard-to-Find Construction Supply

In this article we will share with you 7 tips for locating hard-to-find construction supply. These are items that are often difficult to find and are usually stocked on a very limited basis.

Construction supply fall into two main categories-general construction supply and specialty items. General supplies include things like screws and nails, studs, insulation, drywall and a variety of other house construction basics. Specialty items are those that are not sold at the local hardware store or home improvement center. Things like roofing felt, retro-reflective paint, industrial strength Velcro fasteners and pipe thread sealant fall into this category.

Even though these specialty items are not stocked on any sort of regular basis by traditional suppliers, they can usually be obtained through industrial supply houses. In many cases these industrial supply houses can be found within 5 to 10 minutes driving distance from your home or job site.

Finding the supplies you need through a special supplier is more desirable for several reasons. First, they tend to be cheaper than purchasing them through a traditional supplier. Second, the items usually ship directly to your job site or home and there is no need to pay separate shipping charges. And finally, the lead time required by most traditional suppliers can be eliminated so that you can get your supplies as quickly as possible.

Here are seven tips for locating hard-to-find construction supply:

1. Contact local industrial construction supply houses in your area

Just about every major city has one or more industrial supply houses that cater to contractors and construction-related businesses. These “general” suppliers usually carry a large assortment of specialty items, especially non-standard items.

construction supply

2. Contact industrial suppliers on the Internet (e.g., Industrial Supply House Directory)

The Internet still offers the most cost effective way to find specialty items not available at your local hardware store or home improvement center. There are hundreds of industrial supply houses on the Internet that stock thousands of different product lines for both commercial and residential contracting. Some supply houses can have as few as 10 or 20 items in stock, while others have over 30,000 in stock according to their web site descriptions. Among these supplier web sites are those listed below:

3. Call Department of Transportation (DOT) and other government agencies

Many government agencies (such as the Department of Transportation) have special requirements that are necessary for certain jobs. For example, if you are doing a job on a state or federal highway, you must use approved reflective materials in the proper colors. If the same job is being done on private property, you do not need to use those reflective materials. However, you still need to purchase them from an industrial supplier because they are not sold in home improvement centers. The same holds true for all sorts of other specialty items that are required for highway and other government projects. If you are doing work on or near a waterway, you may need to install “cooling zones” under a bridge as part of your job. The signs used in these cooling zones can be purchased only from industrial suppliers as well.

4. Call the local asphalt and concrete contractors in your area

The asphalt and concrete contractors in your area usually have several small specialty supply houses that they use to buy items such as asphalt emulsion, joint sealant or roofing felt. These sub-suppliers carry an ever-changing variety of supplies that may not be carried by the large hardware store chains. Call and ask for the names of some of these suppliers in your area.

construction supply

5. Check the Yellow Pages under “Industrial Supplies” or “Construction Machinery & Contractors”

Check the Yellow Pages under “Industrial Supplies”, “Contractors-General” or similar categories for local industrial supply houses in your area. Search through these listings and call each one to see if they stock any of the supplies you are looking for. You may be pleasantly surprised by the variety of products available at these places that you never knew about before! Use a good online search service (such as Google) to find dozens of listings in your area.

6. Look for specialty items at the local auctions (e.g., Re-Use Warehouse)

Local contractor auction houses are also a great source for hard-to-find construction supply. Items purchased at auctions often come right from the job sites of individual contractors. The surplus materials are often sold as a result of the contractor upgrading their equipment at their own expense and because they need to raise extra cash quickly. Many times, the surplus items are still in very good condition and can be resold to other contractors on the open market for a profit. This is how some contractors make much or all of their profits!

7. Call local building contractors and ask them where they buy their special supplies

After contacting your local industrial supply houses, check out the contractors in your area. Contractors are usually a great source for information as to where they purchase specialty items. These items are often used for only one or two jobs before being replaced with more “modern” products. But even after these goods have been found surplus in a dumpster, they can still be resold!

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