When looking for a suitable structural steel fabrication company, the prices of their services are one of the major determining factors. However, when you inquire for estimates from potential candidates you are considering hiring, the price quotations vary for each company.
Considering that the cheapest quotation doesn't indicate the best contractor, it becomes quite difficult to determine which companies are charging fair rates, which once are overpriced as well as which ones are unrealistically cheap.
Hence, if you are looking to hire a structural steel fabrication contractor, it is in your best interest to learn how they calculate their estimates so that you can be able to determine a realistic pricing.
Current market price of the raw material and where it gets purchased
Steel is the primary raw material utilized in structural steel fabrication. Like many other raw materials, the price of the steel fluctuates depending on the fundamental laws of demand and supply levied on the market.
Thus when the steel fabricator compiles an estimate, they will use the current price of steel. Hence, expect the price to have slightly changed between the time they hand you the estimate and when you place the order.
In addition to price, where the steel gets purchased also contributes to the estimated price. If the acquisition gets made locally, you can cross-check the price offered by local steel vendors and distributors with the price stated in the estimate.
The quantity of steel involved
Structural steel fabrication companies often make some of the profit margins in the purchase of the steel, by combining different orders into one and thus negotiating the economies of scale to their favor.
Similarly, the economies of scale apply to you. If your order has a significant amount of steel, the structural steel fabrication firm will charge a lower fee for every unit of steel you buy. Hence, it is advisable to overestimate the amount of steel you need even for small projects in a bid to get better prices as well as to avoid running out of steel before the project gets completed.
Note that small order prices get classified under warehouse orders while big order prices get categorized under mill rates.
What your structural fabricated steel should be like
To get an accurate estimate of your steel, it is essential to have an idea of how the fabrication will get done.
Structural steel fabrication contractors vary regarding capacity, equipment and labor. Hence, if the manufacturing process is mostly automated as opposed to human labor, the process should be quick, and the contractor will charge less on labor.
However, if the opposite is the case, the wages of the workers will be significantly higher because they end up working more on the fabrication as opposed to using an automated process.
So, when looking for a structural steel fabrication company, it is advisable to examine multiple companies while making inquiries on the above factors so as to ensure you pay a reasonable fee for the services.