Building or Renovating a House is a time consuming process and need lots of planning. One of the most tedious tasks in house construction is material procurement. There is lot of information you need before taking decision on building materials requirement for your house construction. Some of them are:
- Which material to buy? (Whether or not a material suits my requirement)
- What brand of material is good for my building?
- Price of the material in local market?
- Alternatives or substitute materials can I have?
- Who are the suppliers/distributors available in the vicinity?
Where Do I Buy Construction Materials Online
There are a lot of Online Marketplaces that have evolved in India in the recent years to serve the construction market.
Most of the websites that sell Building Materials Online work as a marketplace model. These websites either aggregate suppliers, who supply the material, or aggregate manufacturers. Most of these marketplaces can be found on search engines.
Advantages of Buying Building Material Online
Trust is an important factor when you buy stuff Online. Flipkart, Amazon and many other eCommerce companies have spent billions of rupees in discounts to gain trust of shoppers. So today I would emphasise on why/why not you should trust these companies online
1. Wide Variety of Materials to choose from
Most of these marketplaces offer you a wide range of brands to choose from. Its highly difficult to find such wide variety in any local store you buy. It will be easy for you to compare different brands and choose the right brand for your house construction need.
2. Availability of Quality Unbranded Materials
Most of the suppliers in the market who sell unbranded materials like Sand, aggregate, bricks & concrete etc., don’t have a reputation to loose. The quality of such materials are also hard to determine
Online marketplaces have suppliers whose materials have been tested for quality. Some of the Marketplaces even offer third party testing of material samples so as to ensure that the materials are sent as per your requirements.
Since these online marketplaces have a reputation to loose, they will ensure the delivery of best quality material for your construction
3. Best Material Prices
Very few people have a real idea/understanding about the material prices and discounts that are available in local markets for construction materials. Do you know that plumbing and electrical materials can get a discount of 35–70% from MRP.
Although, the price depends on the quantity you buy, these online marketplaces can better negotiate with the suppliers to put up best price for a particular product.
4. Get Expert Suggestions on Materials and Substitutes
Some of these online material marketplaces have experts who can suggest you on the right material that you can purchase for a specific purpose instead of just going with the contractor’s recommendation. Also they can give details about product alternatives its advantages/disadvantages and their rates.
These alternatives can save your material costs by almost 10%. Since when you buy offline (at stores), people tend to give either costly solutions or will try to sell the product they have.
On the contrary, Online Marketplaces have little incentive to sell specific products or brands. Since Online marketplaces want superior customer satisfaction and repeated purchases, the suggestions they offer are usually unbiased.
5. Reverse Auctioning
Although this is a bit technical, this is one of the most important reasons why one should approach online marketplaces. Most of the Construction material marketplaces use reverse auctioning wherein your requirement is sent to multiple suppliers.
Suppliers compete to get the customer by quoting their best depending on the quantity of materials. Therefore a lot of these marketplaces have not listed prices on their websites. Since suppliers usually compete to get more customers, the prices they quote would be really competitive.
Further you can negotiate with the supplier to get the best prices.
6. Convenience of shopping from Home
Since this is the most abused advantage that everyone claims, I have kept it at the end. Yes, Online marketplaces provide you convenience.
You can shop for materials sitting at home and get those products delivered at your doorstep. Gone are those good old days where you need to go to the shop, bargain for prices, transport it to the site and unload them all by yourself.
How to Choose Which Website or Marketplace to Buy From
There are lot of websites that evolved in the recent times who claim that they are construction materials marketplaces. Since the transactions are of high value, its highly difficult to trust anyone with this job. So I would give you guidelines while choosing the Online Marketplace for buying materials.
1. Verify Technical Expertise of the team
Check if the founders have technical experience. Construction Materials marketplace unlike others needs founder who have good technical experience. At the least, the marketplaces should have a team who have good technical experience.
2. Seek for Suggestions on Materials and Substitutes
Check if the website offers you alternatives and suggestions before you buy products. There are tons of alternatives available in the market. Some are technically superior and saves your costs as well.
You can save cost not only by negotiating well but also by adopting such alternatives. So go for a website which can provide alternative and suggestions to the product you are buying.
3. Check for Variety of Brands available on Site
Other than the reputed brands, some online marketplaces also mention local products which are equally good in quality. A lot times, brands charge heft premiums. If you budget is limited it is always advisable to go with local products of comparable quality. So always check for such local brands that will save you upon the cost of construction.
As pointed out, Choosing building materials right is not only important to save cost of construction but also important to maintain the quality of construction. So rather than choosing biased suppliers who push a particular brand to the customers, we suggest you to get a variety of products and best advice from such marketplaces.