Top 3 Ways For The “DIY” Community To Save Money On Plastics

Posted: September 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
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We have highlighted many times the awesome applications and properties that industrial plastic can bring to your home projects. But the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true with quality plastics, and the general public who do not work with these materials regularly are sometimes surprised at the cost. This is regrettable, but expected as the public’s only experience with plastic is often in cheap disposable products: there is a definite jump in price to a quality material!

But when it comes time to purchasing your industrial plastic from a distributor there are three tips that can result in substantial cost savings for you. And we’re happy to share them:

1.) Ask about offcuts

Many plastic applications for the “Do-it-yourselfer” community do not actually require a lot of material. Conversely, plastic distributors (trust us) hate having offcuts lying around. Now, the definition of “offcut” is fluid and not exacting. We’ve had customers inquire about 3′ x 8′ offcuts when the standard sheet size is 4′ x 8′ …That isn’t an offcut, it’s a sheet that leaves an offcut! However, if you can make do with smaller pieces (under two square feet) and pieces that may be in odd shapes (circles, or “L” shapes) then you may be able to get a deal without having to overpay for a full sheet.

It’s somewhat rarer to find “offcuts” for rod and tube stock, as those are often sold by the foot anyways. However, there are times when a distributor may have a certain piece of rod/tube stock lying around collecting dust, so feel free to ask. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.

2.) Go with a thinner material if possible

While you might expect plastics to be sold by the amount of material involved including thickness, what you don’t know is many plastics jump in price as they get thicker. It is not reasonable to assume that 3″ thick plastic will be exactly twice as much as 1.5″ thick. Often the price increases at a higher rate the thicker you go. For many applications you would do yourself, thicker material isn’t required. One common example is HDPE Puckboard, especially up in Canada. Customers simply want a pad to shoot hockey pucks off of and often request 1/2-1″ thick Puckboard, whereas 1/4″-3/8″ is not only more commonly stocked, but costs less and would work just fine in the application.

3.) Arrange your own freight

This is the big money saver of the group and we’ve saved the best tip for last. Many times a customer will request for a quote and not live in town, or even if they do live in town, the sizes of plastic material can be difficult to pick up unless you own a truck. Customers often will ask the distributor “what is the freight?” and give an address. What the customer needs to realize (even though this is often specified in the quote) is that it is a freight charge that is being given to them. For the distributor to go out and request a freight quote is a service, and that service must be paid for by marking up the freight. Not every distributor may do this – but many will!

This is such an easy process for you to do yourself, however. You only need to know the address of your distributor, their phone number, and your own address and phone number. Freight quote forms are often one page, easy to fill, and can be done in perhaps 45-60 seconds. If you need to know the weight of your order, just ask the distributor. The couple minutes of extra work here can save you a lot of money.

“Bonus” freight tip: When arranging your freight, first ask the distributor if they can cut down your material into a smaller size and if there is any charge levied for this. Some will cut for free, in which case the smaller dimensions can result in even less expensive shipping.

We hope you found that information useful. If you need help with your plastic project you’re welcome to contact us here.

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