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  • Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

    Any big box insiders here care to elaborate on HD's/Lowe's home install services, or lack thereof? I am currently putting together an "educational" brochure for people who are considering using them. Scab contractors, bad customer service, wrong materials, etc.

  • #2
    Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

    Originally posted by buildenterprises View Post
    Any big box insiders here care to elaborate on HD's/Lowe's home install services, or lack thereof? I am currently putting together an "educational" brochure for people who are considering using them. Scab contractors, bad customer service, wrong materials, etc.
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    • #3
      Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

      And that reply helps how?

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      • #4
        Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

        I just think its funny. big-box installation service is really shoddy around here.
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        • #5
          Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

          What exactly do you want to know? They are contracted out to many different companies. I can only speak about the orange guys, but they are strict as hell when it comes to checking on badges, workers on the job, and a lot of other things. They have cracked down on their contractors to the point of madness in some cases over the last couple of years.

          If you have specific questions I may answer them, but seriously, if you are trying to imply that using a big box store is any less of a crap shoot than using a random contractor you will be lying to your "informees". When you get something installed by a big box store you may or may not get an ace worker in your house, but believe me, when problems arise like they do in most construction work, the big guys will be there and take very little prodding to appease with their giant check books. THAT is the real advantage to them.

          If your goal is to sell yourself as a better alternative to the box stores you might want to focus on what you do well instead of trying to talk smack about what they don't do well. IE, With you they know who will be dong the actual work when they sign the contract. But honestly, I produce about 50 absolutely delighted customers a year in my market, complete with referrals, offers for tips, and 9-10 ratings across the board. When there is a problem with measure, manufacture or anything else during a job the people I work for get taken care of without exception. They pay less than you will likely charge them and they know that the company will be here for many years to respond in the future. They also get financed without going through a third party and with no payments or interest for a year. That is what you are up against. If you want to root out the horror stories and write them down so you can say "see what will happen if you don't hire me and go for one of the big guys?" you better hope that the customer has never met anyone that I or one of the other good installers has worked for and doesn't get turned off by you trying to build your rep up by simply saying you are better than the other scary garbage they might run into. I would not be impressed by that approach myself.

          Maybe I misunderstood your intent for this info, but there is my opinion on my understanding. All that said, I am not a fan of corporate giants and the way they operate. I get treated like a commodity no matter how much I care about what I do or how well I perform. If you have specific questions to help you compare and contrast what you have to offer that the big guys don't, I will be glad to help you with that. IMO you may want to shift your focus from hit piece to something more possitive about yourself though.



          Eli
          A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

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          • #6
            Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

            I know a little on the plumbing end. Someone approached me from one of them. So, I entertained them to learn about it. All they do is hire licensed people from the area to do their work. In other words "sub" to them. Then they give that sub a portion of their listed installation fees.

            I'm busy enough, so I don't want a "portion" of their installation fees.

            I tell everyone about it. Why not hire directly from the source? Your local Plumber, Electrician, HVAC person...etc.?

            And to my knowledge, for my area, Lowes/HD doesn't stay that busy with installations.

            J.C.

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            • #7
              Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
              I just think its funny. big-box installation service is really shoddy around here.
              Again, I'm not trying to defend the big boxes or their tactics and practices. I don't care to or need to. I will say though that just yesterday my customer who got his appliances delivered from another company and had an appointment to have his sink and other appliances installed by a local plumber and electrician got exactly what he was told he would get from HD and flaked on completely by the two little guys who must have found something more worth their while than a measly sink and appliance install.

              There are good and bad companies out there, and when you have a corp as big as HD/LOWES there will be good and bad service stories. I have heard many stories of bad independents too, and have some I could tell myself. Problem is a lot of people in this society just do not give a crap about their work. It's cultural and makes everything from cell phone service to a meal in a restaurant a hit or miss--more and more often miss--proposition.

              Again, JMO. I know that my work ethic and pride in my work doesn't come from or belong to the company that currently employs me, but I also know that the problems in the trades don't either. They are rampant everywhere. If you can give your customers something better than bad service you are really only giving them what they deserve anyway, so playing the "the other guys are even worse" card is pretty pathetic.


              Eli
              A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

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              • #8
                Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                I know a little on the plumbing end. Someone approached me from one of them. So, I entertained them to learn about it. All they do is hire licensed people from the area to do their work. In other words "sub" to them. Then they give that sub a portion of their listed installation fees.

                I'm busy enough, so I don't want a "portion" of their installation fees.

                I tell everyone about it. Why not hire directly from the source? Your local Plumber, Electrician, HVAC person...etc.?

                And to my knowledge, for my area, Lowes/HD doesn't stay that busy with installations.

                J.C.
                You made the right choice. Much of the reason independents get their own licenses and work in the first place is to stay away from the corporate pile that you would have to deal with if you signed on with these guys.

                With plumbing, HVAC and other well established trades it makes sense to do your own thing. For me the relationship ends up being worth it because for the % of the job I give up I also give up the cost of advertising, sales and estimates and all the office overhead. In reality I pay for all of that through my work, but the time and headache in a in home sales and high cost per job trade is too much.

                At some point the corporate crap gets to be too much though. The point of diminishing returns is rushing toward me as we speak.

                Eli
                A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.

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                • #9
                  Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                  Eli,

                  If I haven't said it before you are a huge asset to this forum and I think you should speak up more

                  Well said

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                  • #10
                    Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                    Originally posted by woodenstickers View Post
                    If your goal is to sell yourself as a better alternative to the box stores you might want to focus on what you do well instead of trying to talk smack about what they don't do well.



                    Eli
                    'Nuff said.
                    Last edited by res057; 05-31-2008, 03:05 PM.
                    ‎"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education" -Mark Twain

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                    • #11
                      Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                      Yes, and to add to that: They pay very poorly to the plumbing subs, so the only ones who will work for them around here are the lowest of the low-ballers. In order not to lose money, often the licensed person who is subbing for the big box store, sends his lowest-payed guy to do the work and pressures him to do it FAST.

                      The bottom line is that paying the big box store to do your work is paying 50% to the store just for advertising the service, etc. then another 50% to the sub, who sends out his cheapest guy and tells him to cut corners to make it quick since they don't want to lose money.

                      I have heard MANY, MANY bad stories about this, not one GOOD one.
                      Stay away is my opinion.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                        The Home Depot near me can't advertise plumbing installs any more, they got caught using unlicensed people to many times, in Illinois even apprentices have to carry a license from the State Board of Health just to work for a plumbing contractor.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                          I have a good friend, plumber, who recently folded and went to HD for the bennies.
                          They now require ALL stores in my state to have a licensed electrician & plumber in the respective departments.
                          Two weeks ago he told me HD pays about $100 less than what I charge to install a water heater, which is actually a huge step up from what they were offering several years ago.
                          Pull out taxes, gas, overhead, insurance and you'd make more hourly working for a shop than the rates they WERE paying.

                          He also mentioned the local inspector came in and checked his license, informed him that the neighboring store had an unlicensed guy claiming to be licensed.
                          That was considered HD's fault for not checking it.
                          Makes me wonder how many licensed subs they use really are licensed.

                          HD has definitely improved their approach to licensed contractors, but left to their own devices I truly beleive my trade would be trashed by now.
                          I hear members like DUNBAR or Herk talk about their area's and I am TRULY thankfull we have such a great state board here.

                          Regardless what I hear about how they are working with a little more respect to my trade, I STILL get to listen in on freebie tutorials for water heater installs any time I pass the plumbing section.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                            Originally posted by Killertoiletspider View Post
                            The Home Depot near me can't advertise plumbing installs any more, they got caught using unlicensed people to many times, in Illinois even apprentices have to carry a license from the State Board of Health just to work for a plumbing contractor.
                            Welcome to the forum Killer...glad ya found it.
                            Hows da weather in Chi-town?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Any insight into HD/Lowe's install services?

                              Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                              Welcome to the forum Killer...glad ya found it.
                              Hows da weather in Chi-town?
                              Thanks.


                              I'll be wearing shorts to work on Monday.

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