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Setting up Fencing Supplies business


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From where I'm based its a 30 mile drive to the nearest decent fencing supplies business. I have two to choose from one a 45 minute drive the other an hour.

 

By decent, I mean stocks a good range of professional grade materials, not diy B&Qesque standard.

 

I have struggled in the past to get good quality posts, ask for UC4 but thats seems to be a niche product for some suppliers than the mainstream as it should.

 

The same with wire, my local stockists (in the nearest town 10 miles away), stock own brand stock netting C8/80, ask for HT and they give you a blank look. In fact you have to go 40 miles to get some branded wire Tornado, Hampton et al.

 

Which leads me into thinking about setting up a fencing supply business, I have a yard in an excellent location, buildings, fork lift etc. so what do I need to consider?

 

Do most of you contractors go direct for your supplies?  Or use a merchant?

 

Would offering an equipment hire service be a good idea as well?

 

All thoughts and opinions most welcome.

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Ok where do I start...! We sort of fell into supply but I must say its not as easy as it sounds and you can add a bit if chance and luck to it as well

 

About 8 years back We had got larger on the contracting side and had 7 chaps working for us so had the buying power to start buying mixed lorry loads direct from the timber yards so had stock in the yard waiting for jobs to come along started to get the odd chap poping in wanting to buy a few posts etc.. This grew very slowly over the next few years but was a pain as we didn't always have somone at the yard and we weren't selling enought to pay some to be there. Started selling tools etc online in a small way and again this was a pain as well but we persevered. Finally set up the shop about 3 years back. The bank would not loan us so we did it bit by bit and to be honest it's hard work and we reduced to just 3 of us me and one chap out fencing and the Mrs running the shop its started to break even this year and we have a part time girl on as well now and the shop it going well but it would not cover the 4 of us so we still go contracting about 3 days of the week the rest is spent delivering and manufacturing gates etc evenings spent sorting orders out and stock taking ...

We are lucky as we have a huge costumer base around us as very near birmingham and coventry but also rural Warwickshire the other side. If you are out in the sticks then your turn over and number of customers will be a lot smaller.

If you are serious feel free to ask me any questions and if you go for it you have to be totally dedicated to looking after and bending over backwards for you customers or they simply go somewhere else

Good luck ...!

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Ok where do I start...! We sort of fell into supply but I must say its not as easy as it sounds and you can add a bit if chance and luck to it as well

 

About 8 years back We had got larger on the contracting side and had 7 chaps working for us so had the buying power to start buying mixed lorry loads direct from the timber yards so had stock in the yard waiting for jobs to come along started to get the odd chap poping in wanting to buy a few posts etc.. This grew very slowly over the next few years but was a pain as we didn't always have somone at the yard and we weren't selling enought to pay some to be there. Started selling tools etc online in a small way and again this was a pain as well but we persevered. Finally set up the shop about 3 years back. The bank would not loan us so we did it bit by bit and to be honest it's hard work and we reduced to just 3 of us me and one chap out fencing and the Mrs running the shop its started to break even this year and we have a part time girl on as well now and the shop it going well but it would not cover the 4 of us so we still go contracting about 3 days of the week the rest is spent delivering and manufacturing gates etc evenings spent sorting orders out and stock taking ...

We are lucky as we have a huge costumer base around us as very near birmingham and coventry but also rural Warwickshire the other side. If you are out in the sticks then your turn over and number of customers will be a lot smaller.

If you are serious feel free to ask me any questions and if you go for it you have to be totally dedicated to looking after and bending over backwards for you customers or they simply go somewhere else

Good luck ...!

Thank you for taking the time to reply, most appreciated!

 

Well said Charlie, be prepared also to have customers complaining about quality of stock remember to be careful about offering warranty on timber it just needs one big job to make a claim against you to finish you off,

 

Quality of stock is what led me to consider this. Trying to get genuinely good posts is difficult. 

 

IMO needs to be redwood, dried to the correct moisture and then treated to a high standard be it creosote or tanalised type treatment.

 

You can find good stock its just not easy, with most places stocking cheap merchantable quality, which is understandable as so many buy on price alone.

 

I've hopefully got the timber side sorted this, need to work out what product lines to stock.

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