With online catalogues and international shipping, it's now rather easy to get any hardware supplies you might need within a short amount of time. If the corner hardware store is out of stock, you can quickly order from any corner of the country or even the world. But this is a case of just because you can doesn't mean you should. Yes, if you urgently need a part, then you need to get it. But take a close look at the hardware companies offering it. If you have to order it online, you want to ensure that you've got terms you like.
No Minimum Orders
Many hardware stores that let you order online don't require a minimum order, but many does not mean all. Double-check that you don't have to order a minimum number of items to get the one you need shipped to you. It is common for there to be a minimum order for reductions in shipping costs (e.g., order $X for free shipping), but you should not have to order a minimum number of items to get shipping to begin with. Sometimes items are sold in multipacks, and you can't break open a multipack, obviously. But you should be able to order only that multipack and nothing else, if that's what you need.
Supply chain disruptions and delays are ongoing, and many stores have worked out ways to get items from different distributors. However, that can still result in a delay, so you do want to find out how the company handles items that are out of stock. Can they generally get items within a few days, or are there times when an item is simply gone for weeks? Knowing how they handle items that are not in stock helps you plan, too.
Shipping Service Choice
It's very common for a store to use a couple of shippers — usually the postal service and one private shipping company — for all their shipments to customers. Some hardware companies actually allow customers to choose which shipper to use, which is convenient. You may have had a bad experience with one popular shipping company and prefer to use their competition; if the hardware store allows you to choose your shipper, then you can avoid the one you don't want to use again.
You'll also want to look at customs charges for international shipping if you go with a company outside Australia. However, companies within Australia are likely to have everything you need, and you'll be able to get the item much faster that way.
Reach out to a company like Northern Joinery & Timber Supplies Co Pty Ltd to find out more.