Why a Materials List is Usually Not a Good Thing

One thing we have always done at Hansen Buildings, is to guarantee we have the best price, every day on any complete building kit package with equal or better features. We don’t sell materials; we provide complete buildings – all the pieces necessary to construct the building, per our plans, unless otherwise noted. Pretty straight forward.

As such, we’ve done comparisons against hundreds of other suppliers. In doing so, we’ve seen a fair number of the infamous materials list. I say “infamous”, as they are for the most part totally misleading the consumer.

Where does a materials list come from to begin with?

A prospective building owner will walk into his local lumber dealer, or big box store, and ask for a price on pole building kit. In the instances where someone at the store has a rudimentary knowledge of how pole buildings go together, they will most often provide a materials list of what they believe the materials will be, to construct the size building requested.

Great, right? As a consumer, if you have one of these lists, you can now go shop it around to whoever will give you the best price!

However….at least two major lumber yard chains, who regularly supply pole building kits, have disclaimers on the bottom of their materials list. In layman’s terms, they do not guarantee the materials listed on the quote will meet any building code requirements, or do they guarantee the list is adequate to construct any intended building!

Read the last paragraph twice, didn’t you? Chew on it a bit…..you will not have to search very long on the ‘net to find a post from a customer who spent $28,000 on a “pole barn package” from a large supplier, because “the prices were great”. In the end, it cost them $34,500 total, for the materials which were not on the list, but were needed to construct the building!

Eric (one of the Hansen Buildings owners) and I reviewed a materials list in the not too distant past, for a horse barn. Of course the client claimed his materials list quote was $5,000 less than our quote (the difference is never $100, by the way, it’s always some huge amount). The building was to be 10’ eave height. However the list had treated posts only 12’ long. Maybe they were planning to only have the posts be two feet in the ground? If so, I would not want to be near the building in a wind storm.

Right away what was glaring was that all of the doors we had included, were absent from the list! Over $3,000 right there. As we counted the pieces of steel roofing and siding, it became apparent the person doing the list, left off ½ of the roof, as well as one side and one end.

In this particular case, the client was absolutely certain the list he had was going to exactly construct the building we had quoted. He refused to be convinced otherwise, so we wished him the best.

One thing we will do absolutely free for any client is to compare any building quote they get from our competitors, to our quotes, and show them the differences.  Nine times out of ten when we offer this to the client claiming huge dollar differences, we never see the quote (or hear from the customer) again.  Sometimes you can lead a horse to water….

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