When Steel Bending Is Subcontracted, Who Should Supply the Raw Material?

Steel bending is often subcontracted to companies that specialize in providing curved steel sections sometimes called “rolling houses.”  The question arises, which party should supply the steel—the customer or the rolling house?  There are several factors to consider.

Where can the steel most easily be procured?  Even if the rolling house adds a markup to the cost of the material, it might make sense for it to supply the material if it has good relationships with excellent local suppliers—excellent in terms of quality, service, delivery and value. Customers who are some distance from the rolling house might not have those relationships, and it may be expensive for them to ship the raw material from their local suppliers to the rolling house.  Customers might also prefer to have the rolling house handle the logistics of ordering material.

Alternately, at times the rolling house might steer its distant customers to good suppliers close to the rolling house and have the customers buy the material there themselves.

Another consideration is which party is interested to putting up the money early on in a project when it may not be paid for a while.  Steel suppliers most often will want to be paid before the customer or rolling house will have been paid.

Furthermore, some customers might want the rolling house to purchase the material to be curved because they want the rolling house to be responsible not only for the service of profile bending but also for any damage to the material that would make it unmarketable.

A final determination of who should provide the material should be the result of discussions between the customer and the rolling house.  Rolling houses can quote their services with or without providing material, but considerations such as quick delivery, service, and quality must factor into the determination of best value.


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