Current knowledge is summarized on correct use of commercially available certified reference materials (CRMs) and reference materials (RMs). Acknowledged are also the limitations and restrictions analysts have to face if they want to apply quality control. The concept of in-house RMs or quality control materials (QCMs) is advocated to supplement the use of CRMs for quality control purposes. On hand advice on how to select, prepare, characterize and use these QCMs is given from the experts' perspective. Several scenarios are described to make this concept widely applicable to: advanced laboratories with CRMs with validated analytical techniques available, laboratories with less experience and facilities, as well as cases were labile compounds and unstable matrices are involved. Each scenario considers different approaches to overcome the lack of appropriate CRMs and advise on the preparation of QCMs, which might fit the particular purpose.