Trade International will search the world to find your specific stone or alternate stone for the best price, and assist with price negotiations, and shipping and importing of either domestic or foreign stone.
Buying services can mean shopping the world to find the best deal on your stone tiles, slabs, cobblestones, statues, monuments, pebbles, honeycombed stone, Cut to size projects, fountains, columns, fireplaces or any of a 100 other such specific items in various stones that range from granite, marble, basalt, travertine, limestone, soapstone, sandstone, porphyry, onyx, slate, quartzite, semi-precious stone, jewelry stone, stone furniture and accessories, engineered stone, crystallized glass and many other stone related items.
If you require inspections services, we can suggest possible inspectors, or we will fly if the job is large enough, to establish the inspection criteria on your stone. Buying services are not just prices, but a complete service including assisting with specifying the packaging of your stone product and, if needed, testing of the stone in accordance with ASTM standards or similar.
Locating the right stone for you is important. Understanding the current situation in the quarry and the factory are important, as well as the current selection process for the stone, variations in the stone, defects, and the issue of whether the stone is suitable for your project. We try to advise our clients but the ultimate decision and risk of buying direct is always up to the buyer. Buyers may be individuals, owners of buildings, General Contractors, Stone Contractor or installer, architects, or in some cases, the homeowner.
Not only will we try and advise on the stone itself, but if possible more suitable alternates which may also be less expensive. Finding alternates in the world of stone is not always easy and sometimes there are no exact alternates. Since there are over 100 countries now producing and exporting stone, and over 20,000 different stones in the world, this can be a daunting task. What makes the task even more difficult is that some stones may have 10 or more different names given by the quarry, the factory, or even the import distributor, or competing factories. For example, if Italy imports blocks from Iran and exports them to the USA or other country, they do not call the stone always by the name where the quarry is located. Import distributors change the name all the time to hide the source or origin of the stone. This is why we tell specifiers don’t specify a stone unless you are told everything about the stone from the supplier you are working with, which means names, alternate names, type of stone, country of origin etc. Having improper information and asking someone to quote and buy for you “Lazy Susan Stone” is not always possible or easy to do. If people don’t give you the proper information and details, don’t use them.
There may be more then one source for the stone depending on the quantity, the stone, the country, the type of work being done on the stone, and many other reasons. Due to time restraints you may need to locate stone in stock locally or in your own country. If time allows and the quantity is reasonable for importing, for example 3000 SF of tile or half a container of slabs, then it is worth shopping the stone. We have assisted buyers on buying stone in many countries such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Japan and even China just to name a few.
Sometimes we are paid to investigate stone in general for clients, such as a study on all the white marbles of Italy. And sometimes we do studies on stones as a country report in general as our clients are looking for stones they can use in LEED projects.
Another aspect of buying services is budgeting of stone projects cut to size, which requires us to locate not only the stone, but the source or supplier of stone capable of producing projects which may require more than one supplier. We usually suggest getting two or three prices for comparison. We will investigate the suppliers and their capabilities to perform the work and supply the job, which in many cases allows for a much clearer architectural specification to be written so contractors know who to contact to get pricing. Allowing for budgets on a project saves the architect a lot of money and time to make sure the overall project comes into budget and money is allotted for the stone purchase in a timely manner. Many projects are forced to buy alternate stones because the contractor is brought in too late to negotiate buying the original specified stone which may take more time than the building schedule allows. Having proper information can save money in the long run.
Trade International is an independent buyer, meaning we don’t represent anyone except our client and are only paid by our client to get the facts and proper information. Some consultants claim to be a stone consultant but at the same time they are distributors, contractors or installers, retailers, or agents of factories or quarries, thus promoting their company’s products first, and making a profit accordingly. In some cases we will advise the client, if they agree, that we will help them and ask the supplier to pay us a fee or commission, but this does not release us from finding our client the best deal and source possible.