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Hiring Big Box Retail is a Big Bad Mistake! (an insiders opinion)

Big Box Salesman

Let me preface what I am about to tell you by providing a little background about myself. I started my company Taylor Rae Construction in November 2004, after leaving my job as an Engineer. Shortly thereafter, I found a Lowe's opening up near my hometown and approached them to become an installer. I had my own work right out of the gate, but felt it would be a smart business decision to align myself with them for steady work in the future. I began installing for them sometime in 2005 and remained a "valued partner" for around 9 years before parting ways. I just couldn't swallow another drop of the corporate Kool-Aid, I was helping them destroy all that I believed in. I installed many categories of products but we focused on exteriors: windows, doors, siding, roofing,decking. During the hiring process I should have seen some of the warning signs. First of all, they sold close to 100 jobs that were all waiting to be installed because the first few guys they hired quit. So the day I started we had assigned to us about 75 jobs! My fax machine ran for hours. Some of these customers were very angry...they had already been waiting for months to have their product installed. It doesn't help that Lowe's, despite it being illegal in NJ, requires a 100% deposit for installation projects! Second, the managers were very desperate, trying to hire any warm bodied installer they could find. In any case I thought my future was bright as I grew my company along side Lowe's despite a persistent uneasy feeling festering in the back of my mind. I was a big part of their installation program in Northern NJ and if i'm being honest was quite excited about it. I believed them when they said I was a "valued partner".

So let me be clear in saying that I am in no way attacking Lowe's or targeting only them. My article is broader and is really about big box retail stores watering down the home improvement business. I speak of Lowe's as my example because it's who I am intimately familiar with. I know through applying to other organizations, being vetted by them, and through a network of trusted local remodelers, many of whom have experience with the likes of Home Depot, Sears etc., that the practices and methods used by these companies are all contributing to lessen the value for the homeowners, and worse, directly destroying the way of life for many honest craftspeople. I only wish my eyes were opened sooner.

Here are the top 5 Myth's that the Big Box wants you to believe:

1. "You can sleep easy knowing that if there's ever a problem with your install it will be taken care of."

THIS IS A JOKE. THE WAY YOU WILL BE TREATED AFTER THEY HAVE TAKEN YOUR MONEY SHOULD BE ILLEGAL, AND PROBABLY IS. ALWAYS CHECK COMPLAINT BOARDS ON THE INTERNET, ANGIE'S LIST, GUILD QUALITY, YELP AND THE BBB, BEFORE HIRING ANYONE. BIG BOX WARRANTIES ARE IN MANY CASES USELESS. FOR EXAMPLE LOWE'S HAS JUST A 1 YEAR LABOR WARRANTY! JUST 1 YEAR! WHAT IF YOUR NEW WINDOWS ARE LEAKING AFTER 14 MONTHS? NOT THEIR PROBLEM ANYMORE. DECK BOARDS WARPING AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH A YEAR OF SEASONAL CHANGES? SORRY, YOUR ON YOUR OWN!

2. "Well we can offer you financing that the local guy can't!

WRONG. LOCAL GUYS CAN AND WITH BETTER TERMS AND MORE REPUTABLE BANKS THAN THEY USE. HOWEVER, THEY WANT YOU TO USE FINANCING WHILE WE WANT YOU TO DO WHATEVER MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR YOUR SITUATION.

3. "The local guy may be out of business next year."

MOST HOMEOWNERS ARE SMART ENOUGH TO DO SOME RESEARCH AND ONLY HIRE LOCAL COMPANIES THAT HAVE AN EXCELLENT REPUTATION AND A LONG HISTORY. NOT ONLY THAT, OUR WARRANTIES ARE HASSLE FREE... YOU DEAL WITH THE OWNER NOT AN 800 #. I HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR 10 YEARS NOW. AND MANY OF MY LEGITIMATE COMPETITORS HAVE TOO, IF NOT EVEN LONGER.

4. "Our professional installers are thoroughly screened expert craftsmen".

THEY WILL PERFORM BACKGROUND CHECKS ON WHICHEVER NAMES THE INSTALLER PROVIDES, THAT IS TRUE. BUT ARE THOSE THE SAME PEOPLE SHOWING UP ON THE JOB? THIS THEY DO NOT CHECK, IN FACT THEY WILL TURN A BLIND EYE IF IT MEANS GETTING JOBS DONE. AND THEIR INSTALLERS ARE IN NO WAY VERIFIED TO BE EXPERT CRAFTSMEN. WE ARE! MY CREW IS CERTIFIED BY THE MANUFACTURERS AND HAVE 3RD PARTY CREDENTIALS SUCH AS CERTIFICATION BY INSTALLATION MASTERS AND THE VINYL SIDING INSTITUTE. IN FACT THEY CAN'T EVEN TELL YOU WHO WILL BE SHOWING UP TO DO THE WORK...BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW!

5. "Well you know you are getting low prices everyday here at the Remodeling Depot".

NOT ONLY ARE THE PRICES YOU PAY TYPICALLY HIGHER THAN FROM A LOCAL CHOICE, BUT THE MONEY IS GOING TO ALL THE WRONG PLACES! MARKETING, SALES COMMISSIONS, MANAGER BONUSES, SHAREHOLDERS, AND WHAT LITTLE BIT REMAINS GOES TO THE ACTUAL PERSON DOING THE WORK, WHICH IS PRECISELY WHY YOU WILL NEVER GET THE EXPERT CRAFTSMAN THEY PROMISED YOU WOULD. WHILE WORKING AT LOWE'S OUR RATES WERE CONTINUOUSLY REDUCED AS THEIR PRICES WERE INCREASED.

Let me summarize by saying this: Go to big box stores if you want less quality, higher prices and more hassle. I think many people are already aware of what this article is about and really don't need any convincing, but I'm just here to tell you I've been on the other side and I feel compelled to warn you about what's there.

For more information and weekly articles about Home Remodeling please visit my website at www.TaylorRaeConstruction.com

Contact Us

© 2012 Taylor Rae Construction, LLC All Rights Reserved
Taylor Rae Construction,llc
429 Rockaway Valley Road
Boonton Township, NJ 07005
(973)394-0949
jdowling@taylorraeconstruction.com
Contractor license # 13VH006222000

Services We Offer

Windows, vinyl replacement windows,new construction windows, bays, bows, garden windows, patio doors, entry doors,vinyl siding,roofing,decking,porches,gutter guards, exterior repairs.

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