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Contractors and manufacturers alike are constantly on the lookout for ways to save money. They want materials/Fasteners that are affordable, labor that is a good value and equipment that runs efficiently. But when it comes down to fasteners, things can get a little confusing. Is it a smart move to buy cheap fasteners such as Hex Bolts or Hex Head Cap Screws as a way to save money?

It all depends. Where you get the fasteners from and how they are made will determine whether this move to cut costs will cut quality as well.

Buying Direct to Save Money

There are legitimate fastener distributors out there who ship direct from the manufacturer to your jobsite or plant, which saves the added costs and mark up associated with a middleman or building supply stores.

So if you’re buying the same quality fastener, possibly even the same brand and product line, from a direct distributor (find a good online fastener distributor for fast ordering and shipping) and getting a better price than the hardware store around the corner, cheap fasteners are fine. They will not degrade the quality of your project in any way. And they will say you money. Good news.

The bad news is that not all contractors and manufacturers are doing it that way.

Buying Imitations to Save Money

You can find reputable, reliable and really affordable fastener distributors online. And you can also find distributors of imitation fasteners. These are the products that look and function similar to what you will buy from the big brands, but the quality is not there.

Maybe the steel is a low grade. Maybe the coatings have been applied hastily and won’t hold up. Maybe the fasteners are not quite to spec, which makes them virtually useless in many applications where not-to-spec means not useable. If you can’t get the exact specifications for the fasteners – in readable, up to industry standards format – skip it. Buying these fasteners is not the smart way to save money.

Cutting Fasteners Out to Save Money

Some builders will cut a few fasteners out of the project to save money. Over a large project, such as a sizeable boardwalk or deck, this can add to a decent amount of savings. But the problem is that the builder is sacrificing safety and structural integrity to save that money. Not good news.

Always follow the specs exactly and use the fasteners as stated, in the quality and quantity specified.

Your reputation as a builder is on the line and if the project fails, falls apart or causes injury, no amount of cost savings will be able to buy that back.

The bottom line? Cheap fasteners are a good idea when bought from a direct distributor at the same level of quality that is required by the specs. Don’t opt for imitations and keep the amount of fasteners up to the proper levels. Then your project and your profit margins will hold steady.

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