When it comes to storing, shipping, and building things at an industrial level, steel suppliers are a key ingredient in the mix. Without reliable steel and strapping suppliers, it’s likely that no construction project would ever get completed — at least not safely.
But what happens when a reliable steel supplier is unsure of the contract they’re entering into with a customer? Steel supplies may be the cornerstone of modern society, but the customers are just as important and should be just as accountable. Whether it’s a company or a single buyer, here are a few red flags to look out for when dealing with a new customer contract.
One Size Fits All Warranties
Contrary to popular belief, warranties are not all the same, especially when it comes to highly specialized materials like galvanized steel strapping. These are the cases in which you want to go over every detail of a warranty with your customer to ensure they understand it and that it fits their specific needs. If something goes awry after the contract has been signed, you could be in a deep bucket of legal trouble.
Non-Specific Purchase and Sale Obligations
The terms of your purchase and sale agreement should be nothing short of crystal clear. If your customer doesn’t understand something or brushes it off, that should be an immediate red flag for you. These agreements are the base of your entire contract, and should not be taken lightly. If a customer doesn’t take the matter seriously, they may not be a customer that you want to work with in the future.
One-Sided Master Forms
Often, a master form will address only the steel supplier and not the customer, making it a total one-sided supply agreement. Steel can be recycled — a total of 69% of steel is recycled in North America every year — but contracts can’t. So before you enter into one, make sure there’s equal responsibility on all sides.
Is the customer always right? Disgruntled customers always think so. However, if a new customer is making unrealistic or impossible demands, the problem may not lie with your team. Remember: impossible delivery schedules or unrealistic customer service expectations are always a recipe for disaster in the long run.
You’re a reliable steel supplier, which means your customers should be just as reliable to you. If you spot any of these red flags when courting a new customer, you need to stop, take a moment to assess the situation, and then address it with your customer.