I'm still working on the quote. They sent a whole stack of letters and memos and within the packet and it had the point of contact for the contracting officer. I just wrote to them to get more info or maybe work directly (dirty me, I know it).
Ive cut out friends as middlemen......I do the work,dont want some dummy getting half the take......Friend came to me with a contract he had from an oil company ......moment I looked at it I recalled the advert for tenders......he had tendered a whole job price where there were three pumphouses,he had mistakenly tendered a price for one as a price for all three.OOOOps.
I have often done the same. It's 2022, how else am I supposed to find new vendors? Would it be better to drop into random shops unannounced to request a quote? - I really don't think so lol.
I have been asked; "How did you even find us?" With a tone of astonishment - on more than a few first time calls.
I have also found myself practically begging for quotes on multiple occasions which I find incredibly irritating. I am not in the habit of begging someone to take my money.
I prefer doing business with small shops over large corporations whenever possible but they do not make themselves easy to find. I started my machining career in small 3-8 man job shops, I understand that world and I know how much the work means to them.
I don't know anything about the contractor world that the op is speaking of. His cautious approach is probably reasonable given the nature of the situation. I am only suggesting that folks not apply so much suspicion to new customers who find them through the internet.
Still do a fair amount of work for retail customers - the net is where many of them 1st contact me. This amount is diminishing over time.
The commercial guys, whether they windup being ongoing, or for one off stuff - 1st contact on the whole is still the phone.
But yeah I dont normally put them on terms on 1st or 2nd orders. If they ask for terms, send em a basic proforma to fill out. Some of them have never actually sent anyone into my shop. Those guys dont need to know its basically a 'mum and dad' operation. Dont think they care, they just want their stuff. Long as they pay on time, happy days.
Anything commercial through the net, would be trying to do as much research as possible before taking any further.
Having a credit card facility, need one for sure. Seems to be no shortage of options there, even in this backwater part of the world I live in. Bought mine outright and just pay a small percentage of the transaction, so naturally I add a bit extra to the price to cover it. In most case see payment through in a couple of days. Being able to process credit cards over the phone is a real bonus.