When you’re in the home improvement and construction line, you want to use premium tools that are built to last, including your supplies and materials. But high-quality products rarely come cheap, so how does an electrician build a business without soaking every penny into equipment?
The trick is to shop smart. Instead of cutting corners with quality, use these tips to save money on your electrical supplies and materials.
1. Go Where the Pros Shop
Start by visiting the stores favored by others in your profession, like those in this article by Selfgood. If those who have been in the industry for a long time shop there, it’s likely to have reasonable prices and premium products.
Stop in or go online and sign up for those newsletters. You’ll get their sales in your inbox, and you can compare the prices for what you need before you buy.
2. Buy in Volume
If you know you’ll use a certain supply, buy it in bulk when it goes on sale. Most stores offer a volume discount, so even at regular prices, you’ll save money.
One large purchase reduces shipping costs, too. Instead of paying for multiple trips or deliveries, get everything you’ll need at one time.
3. Negotiate Lower Prices
Don’t pay the full price tag for an item without at least trying to haggle. Do your background research and see how much competitors are charging for the same item. Bring evidence of their price to the store you’re trying to shop at, and ask them to meet or beat that rate.
Before you do this, check the fine print to ensure the price you’re trying to get is truly the lowest cost you’d be paying. Some places add on fees, shipping, and other last-second expenses that raise the final total.
4. Shop Annual Sales
We all know that certain times of year, like Black Friday, retailers mark their goods down dirt cheap. But you don’t have to wait until after Thanksgiving to buy your electrical supplies on sale.
Watch the newsletters you signed up for. When you see clearance events, special promos, and holiday or seasonal sales, stock up on your frequently-used items, whether you need them at the time or not. If you stay busy, you’ll use them eventually.
5. Switch to All-in-One Tools
Just as the Swiss pocket knife became the go-to for millions of outdoorsfolk, versatile, multi-purpose tools are the name of the game in many industries. For electricians, moving to these types of equipment helps you save funds and reduces the stress and time of searching for your tools on the job.
6. Buy Gently Used or Refurbished
One of the great things about tools is that a well-crafted product rarely loses its value. Depending on the equipment, you may be able to find gently used or refurbished items for significantly less than the new models.
Search through classifieds, online marketplaces, or big-name sellers like eBay. Make sure you see the item before you buy it, either in-person or on a video call. Look closely for flaws and check to see if it works right. Before you buy online, verify the seller’s legitimacy through previous ratings and reviews, and read the clause that shows your rights as a buyer if the item isn’t what you expected.
7. Borrow or Rent High-Dollar Items
If you use a certain tool often, it’s worth it to buy the item. But if it’s something you’ll only need once or twice, and it’s expensive, ask around in your network to see if you can borrow it from someone.
You can rent many pieces of machinery from hardware stores, too. Check with your local equipment shops and ask if they have tool rental services. Compare the total cost of renting the equipment, and see if it’s more cost-effective to rent or buy.
8. Shop and Maintain Supplies With Care
Buying cheap electrical equipment may help your wallet at first. But you’ll probably need to replace that item more overall than you would if you had invested in premium items with warranties.
If possible, pay the extra upfront price tag and get the warranty. You’ll notice the return on your investment in the better performance and longer use without repairs or necessary replacements.
Part of how long any item lasts is how well you maintain it, though. Store your materials and supplies in safe, low-humidity places to avoid moisture rusting or rotting them.
Clean tools after each use, and cover them to prevent dust and debris from accumulating and causing damage. Follow the maintenance and care instructions on pricier equipment. This not only ensures your item will last longer, but if you don’t care for it as directed, you may void your warranty.
Take a minute and read that document to clarify what is and isn’t covered. That knowledge may help you save money later if unexpected problems happen.
Your experience and expertise as an electrician lets you charge a decent hourly rate for your work. However, the income you bring in shouldn’t need to go to all your materials and supplies. Use these tips to save money on anything you use on the job in the future!