What should you consider when selecting an online fastener company? You can’t tell by the website because even the smallest company can look big online. That doesn’t mean they are big, honest, or reputable.
This topic isn’t the same as actually considering HOW to buy fasteners online and getting it right. That’s a good topic too and we’ll get to that soon.
Does the company have a posted address and phone number? Hardware Everywhere has both posted clearly on our website. Does the company answer when you call? We certainly do. One company answers the phone with a simple “fasteners” because they have a bevy of companies operating under different names but only one or two people who are clerks that answer the phone. Beware of any company that doesn’t answer the phone with their name!
Does the company have a warehouse of their own? One company has a number of warehouses listed, none in the state in which they claim to operate. And their phone number’s area code doesn’t match the state of either their warehouses or their sales operation. Hardware Everywhere operates right here in Sunny South Florida out of a nearly 50,000 square foot warehouse with over 35,000 SKUs in stock to ship out right away. [You can see photos of our warehouse on our website.] And we also have vendor warehouses with more items that are available for immediate shipment as well. Be wary of anyone who won’t disclose this information. If they’re not telling the truth before you place the order, what will happen after you place the order?
Ask your prospective fastener vendor the difference between a 307A and a Grade-2 bolt. Any company can fax you the specification sheet and we’ll do that too. Ask your salesperson to explain it to you so you can understand it. I can do that – in fact that’s part of my job here at Hardware Everywhere – explaining the technical side of stuff in a way that makes sense to our customers. Sometimes being pedantic is a good thing because it means you know what you’re talking about. All fastener companies like to pretend they know everything, but we don’t need to pretend because we certainly know more than most. I’ve been doing this for more than 40 years and if I don’t know something, I’ll find out rather than make up an answer. There is no shame in not knowing, if you admit it and find the answer.
After you’ve moved past that, how fast can your selected vendor ship? Everyone promises “in stock for immediate shipment” but that’s not always true. If Hardware Everywhere can’t deliver something when promised, we’ll tell you what our best estimate is.
Ask your online vendor if they can handle blanket orders (those are orders that ship on specific dates) – most can’t. We love blanket orders and they’re good for both of us! They keep everyone happy. Ask your online vendor if they can do stock-and-release orders (orders where you agree to take a certain number of fasteners within 6 months, but on your schedule, as needed when you call.) Hardware Everywhere can do that too! Hell, ask your vendor to explain the full and legal difference between the two types of orders.
Something else we do for our valued customers is mill shipments. We can get both standard, semi-standard, and custom fasteners made at our factories in various countries around the world. There can be a considerable cost savings, too. Most online fastener vendors don’t even have factories. They’re buying from other, larger, distributors because they don’t have warehouses (or if they do, they’re small). We do that too if we have to. But we have factories in Taiwan (Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung), China (Shanghai, Ningbo, Hangzhou, Lizhan), Hong Kong SAR, India (Ludhiana, Punjab), Japan (Osaka), and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), Mexico (Querétaro), Canada (many cities), and of course the good ole’ USA (in almost every state) ready to ship fasteners to us when orders are placed or to make specials to your prints.
We can also do special packing in bags, boxes, pails, jars, and anything else you can imagine. Most online fastener sources are good at what they have on their website and nothing else. Why? They don’t know their product. You buy what they have (or not) and that’s it – it’s a simple buy/sell transaction like Amazon. We’re very good at that but we’re so much more. You know what else we can do? Special platings and head painting (though minimum order quantities do apply).
Hardware Everywhere can also do special orders. We list a few hundred sizes of (for example) Flat Phillips Wood Screws on our website. We have nearly double that in stock ready to ship. You want a 24 x 5 Flat Phillips Wood Screw? That’s not even a special order! It’s here and ready to ship, but it’s not yet listed on our website. Stainless steel sidewalk bolts? No problem! Many sizes are in stock and ready to ship. Let’s say you want a #14 x 2 Flat Phillips Wood Screw in Silicon Bronze. We can get you that in a few days. Sure, one day, we hope to have all that on our website, but it’s a monumental undertaking. You will notice we keep adding new items. Just today, as I write this, (December 2022) I found a 12-24 x 11/16 Flat 82° Phillips Undercut SDS/2 Case Hard Zinc Plated screw for a customer. I even surprised myself on that one as that is an obscure beast of a screw. Left-handed threads, exotic alloys (Titanium, Hastelloy, Inconel, Monel, none of them faze us), unusual thread pitches (UNS, BSW, BSF, Acme)? We’re happy to help. Just remember, minimum orders and lead times may apply to specials. Maybe we should all take a pause to go back to 1973 and remember the Burger King jingle, “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce. Special orders, don't upset us!” They don’t upset us either. And now that’s stuck in your head. Don’t bother thanking me….
When you order your fasteners, if you have any special concerns be sure to note them on the order. Or better yet, call. We’re happy to discuss it with you, and a real live human being will make sure that your concerns are addressed, and they will make sure any notes get entered on to your order here. (And if you want copies of your paperwork included with a drop-shipped order to a job site or to your customer, we can do that too!)
Wait? You’re in another country? Yeah, we can do that too. To be fair it might take an extra day or two to prepare the export paperwork. But we don’t mind. We happily ship to countries all over the world on almost every continent – just give us the details for your clearing broker, and we’ll take care of the rest.
The one thing that falls on your shoulders is to make sure you pick the right fastener. Unfortunately, we don’t have psychic powers here at Hardware Everywhere, so if you order a 10 x ¾ HWH SDS/2 and you really wanted and SDS/3, that’s on you. Please re-read your descriptions carefully before you press the send button. Of course, even if you make a mistake, we’ll still do our very best to accommodate you but screws, you may have noticed, are heavy, and all that back-and-forth freight can sure add up.
When you consider all these factors you will find that Hardware Everywhere is the place you want to shop. Honesty, integrity, knowledge, experience, and more.