Carport Dealers – Online vs. Local – Where to Buy a Metal Carport From?

By Jay Lara   |   Posted In: Reviews

Have you had an experience with a metal building supplier that has left you feeling let down or angry? Have you had expectations for your carport that were not met? Were promises made about your custom steel building that were not kept? Or perhaps you have the opposite experience. Your carport or metal building exceeded all your expectations and your supplier has over delivered on all their promises.

There are actually 2 primary ways that people order their carports. People order through a local carport reseller or carport dealer or else they order through an internet reseller or online carport dealer. It is important to realize that most carport manufacturers do not sell directly to the public. The manufacturers authorize resellers to market their products to the general public. The dealer’s job is to make the sale while the manufacturer concentrates on the manufacture and the logistics of delivery and installation.

Pros and cons of local dealers

A local dealer is a “brick and mortar” store that you can drive to and walk into to speak to a salesperson about the metal building you want to purchase. Normally these stores will have a few units on display showing different options and colors. Due to the limited volume of units that a local store supplies, they will generally offer other products too, like skid-mounted portable buildings in order to increase their turnover. Search online for any reviews or complaints about your dealer before you place your order so that you are not caught out by surprise. It is also worth checking that they have been in business for some time and are not just a recent startup and also that they sell a line of carports from a specific manufacturer. A local steel building supplier with a good long-term relationship with a manufacturer is likely to provide you with good service.


  •   Being local means that you can speak to a person directly about your order.


  • As their business is diversified beyond metal buildings, they may not provide the focused service you need.
  • Limited technical knowledge as they don’t have the resources to employ experts.

Pros and Cons of online dealers

An online carport dealer is an internet store where you browse through the catalog of products, features, and colors via their internet store and make your selection and order directly from your computer. Online stores tend to specialize in metal buildings, so they have dedicated resources to answer queries and assist customers. Their volumes also tend to be much higher than a local store giving the benefits of bulk purchasing power and also beneficial relationships with the manufacturers.


  • Experts are available to assist you with your design and purchase.
  • Higher volumes mean bulk purchasing and lower cost for your unit.
  • Higher volumes mean preferential relationships with manufacturers yielding better service.


  • May receive too many marketing emails and pushy requests to upgrade or add low-value options.

How to avoid pitfalls so you don’t need to make a complaint?

Here are some common sense tips that you can follow to help prevent getting into a situation where you are disappointed with your steel carport. By following this advice, you can end up writing a positive review rather than a damning complaint:

  • Check for online reviews and complaints of your dealer. Read through recent posts so that you can understand the nature of the comment and whether it is of cause for concern before you place your order.
  • Be wary of overzealous salespeople that bombard you with emails and pressure to confirm your order. This kind of behavior indicates a total commitment to their sales targets and company revenue as opposed to your satisfaction with the product that you are investing in.
  • Find out if you can get a refund if your building plans do not get approved. Make sure you get the answer to this question in writing to prevent any “confusion” later.
  • Ask whether you will be refunded due to a delay in delivery that extends beyond your reasonable expectations. Again, it is critical to maintain written correspondence on all these queries.
  • Raise a question about the leveling of your site. What happens if your definition of level isn’t the same as theirs?
  • Consider the service you are receiving from the salesperson dealing with your order. Have they asked you whether your site is level or whether you need a building permit for this construction in your area? Did they talk you through the various options and features available to you without being pushy to force you into additions that you don’t really need? Are they trying to sell you a carport on the basis of some trinket promotion that adds no value and detracts from the focus on the actual features and requirements you need?
  • Do you have a contract with your dealer? Always insist on a written contract that covers all of the basic service expectations that you have of the dealer and captures all the promises you have been made.


Buying a steel carport is a substantial investment and it is worth putting the effort in to make sure that you are getting the right product with the best service. Exploring the online complaints and reviews are critical to ensuring that you don’t get caught in a bad experience that leaves you disappointed and angry.


  • Jay Lara

    Jay Lara is COO of Carport Central, and brings nearly 20 years of metal building industry experience. He’s worked in every aspect of the business, ranging from engineering to design to fabrication to installation to sales, and he’s passionate about bridging the gap between B2B and B2C for the metal buildings market.

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