So you’ve finally gathered the 3 competitive rack quotes that your boss requested a week ago. Now it’s time to sit down and give them a good looking over. While you may be tempted to simply look at the bottom line on each quote, you’ll want to first make sure you’re really getting the best price – not just the lowest.
5 of the most overlooked items on every pallet rack quote after the jump…
1: What Does It Weigh?
While this may not seem that important to you initially, this is the base measure you can use to determine if all of the dealers have quoted you similar material. When you purchase pallet rack, you are essentially purchasing a commodity: steel. Manufacturers use differing gauges of steel to produce their racking and the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel, and hence, the heavier the pallet rack.
Don’t be fooled by one dealer’s claim that he’s quoting the same rack as everybody else. Make sure you’re really comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges!
2: Some Assembly Required?
Although this was traditionally not an issue, recently several manufacturers have begun to market a bolt-together pallet rack frame. Traditionally, welded frames were the norm which meant that you could get your rack, hoist the uprights and connect the beams and be done with installation. With the advent of the new bolt-together styles, you’ll need to assemble the frame supports & posts before you can begin on the actual rack assembly.
On a large rack installation, this additional labor time can exceed any savings you received on the initial rack cost. You will also need to worry about making sure the bolts are all set to the correct tension as well as verifying that all supports are correctly positioned along the height of your uprights. Even if you have your employees bolt together all the racking and call it a wash, you might have just voided your warranty by not having a “qualified” installer do the job. Be sure that you account for these additional costs when pricing your pallet racking.
3: Hidden Terms & Fees
Some dealers will present you with premium pricing in hopes that you wont notice the small print at the bottom of the quote. These hidden terms can sometimes be a hindrance to doing business with the company and as such, should be fully understood before you enter an agreement with the dealer. Examples of hidden terms can include:
- Payment only accepted by certain means
(credit card or wire transfer)
- Pre-payment of a certain percentage of the total before the order will ship
- Free Freight is advertised, however excessive handling charges may apply
- Any other added fees that seem out of the ordinary
If you see any of the above, you should take it as a red flag to check the other quotes for similar terms. Also make sure before you give a company your money that they are reputable and have been in business for a reasonable amount of time.
4: You Needed It When?
Often, dealers will offer low prices because they don’t have anything in stock and therefore have no overhead costs to worry about. This means that although you may pay lower prices for your racking, you’d better not need it anytime soon. The lead time when shipping directly from the manufacturer can sometimes be as much as 4 months, but is usually closer to 1-2 months.
5: What About Freight Costs? (or: Location Location Location)
So you’ve finally decided on a dealer and were just about to make the phone call to get the order moving when you realize that they are located in Barrow, Alaska – just south of the artic circle. Ouch.
Although this is an extreme example, it is worth it to know that since most people don’t have to contend with large freight parcels daily, they don’t really know the true cost of freight. When you’re shipping steel across the country, you can count on the charges to rack up quickly. Be sure to do the math to see if the guy from California’s low, low rack price will offset the guy’s higher price who is selling rack right out of your backyard when you factor in freight costs.