Home Depot as kitchen contractor?

Optimist999May 26, 2012

I was out at Home D today, lookg at options and gathering basic info.

One of the guys who works in the kitchen department told me that *in effect* Home D could act as the contractor on the job. It seemed to me that he was careful not to use that word, but that was what in fact he was offering.

Has anyone used Home D as contractor? Anyone have any thoughts or experiences with this, pro or con? I can see some reasons to do it, and some not to.

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You should post this over in the kitchens forum, people there are very active and nice, and anything you could ever want to know about kitchens can be found there. Design help, experience with big box stores, contractors, cabinets, etc.

I am a few weeks in to research for our kitchen project, time TBD, and have learned an unbelievable amount of helpful things from the friendly kitchen forum regulars!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 2:43PM
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HD hires sub contractors to do the installation work the store sells.

Kinda hit and miss as far as I am concerned.

The installation amounts are low---so the store can quote lower labor prices than competitors. That translates into lower quality installers, IMHO.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 2:01PM
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I agree with handymac in that it is a complete crapshoot.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 6:19PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you use them, be prepared to be on site every time they are there, supervising the whole production. They may have "coordinators" who try to schedule the different trades in the right sequence, but it's not at all substitute for an actual licensed GC. YOU would need to be willing to step up and educate yourself enough to be able to act as the defacto GC here. If you're looking for a turnkey project where you just decide on the finishes and someone makes it happen, you will NOT be happy with going with a box store.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Thanks to all who replied. Useful info, all of it.

It seems to me that hiring a contractor, any contractor, is always a crapshoot. I've hired some contractors who seemed to be competent, but who turned out to be near-total idiots (and I am NOT an especially demanding consumer).

It seems to me that Home D (Lowes etc) are more interested in their reputations, and probably more professional, than "Joe-in-biz-10-year-General-Contractor". Not only that, but it seems to me that subcontractors who work for these big-box stores will be especially interested in keeping their (presumably) high reputation with the big boxes stores, since the latter are responsible for a lot of their business.

OTOH, the big-box stores probably have had more time and experience to "sharpen their pencils" and figure out how to cut corners--and perhaps cut customers down to side.

I did some Google research, and in general, the big-box stores do not have great feedback as contractors--at least, certainly not the feedback I'd expect.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 5:40PM
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Optimist take off your rose colored glasses, most of the contractors that work for HD or Lowes do so because they have FAILED in finding and keeping their own clients and work. Do you really think a good GC with a good reputation is going to want to work for the crap box stores will allow them to make. This may not be true with everyone of them but I will be willing to dam near guarantee that this is true for the majority if them nationwide!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:13AM
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Big box stores don't care about their reputation. They are only interested in keeping the lowest price possible. That means subcontracting to people who will work cheaply. And why will they work cheaply? Because they don't do good work.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:25AM
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I am not arguing, but there are some things I do not understand about your remarks, and I hope you will address my confusion.

All companies desire to get good feedback from customers, and to avoid bad feedback. Everything I read tells me that companies are especially sensitive to negative comments in social media; presumably this includes Lowe's & Home D.

So if dissatisfied customers start making negative comments about subcontractor X, or the company's subcontractors in general, wouldn't that lead the GC to drop those subs?

As well, everyone in business wants to concentrate on generating new business with as few "bumps in the road" as possible, and not spend time addressing unpleasant, distracting problems like poorly-performing subs.

So wouldn't these big box stores have plenty of reason to drop poorly-performing subs (or, if they are not actually poor performers, those who generate disproportionate amounts of dissatisfaction)?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Sure, drop one contractor after two poor jobs and try another for two poor jobs. Unfortunately it is a vicious and never ending cycle. You may get fortunate and get a good one and then again you may not.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:14AM
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I've concluded, based on sad personal experience, that no matter how carefully you select a GC, or even a sub, you're more likely to get bad work than good.

EXPL: when we re-did the bathroom some years ago, using a GC, of course there was some electrical work. The inspector rejected one aspect of the electrical work and it had to be redone. Now, ot1h, it was something simple and not especially dangerous. (I've forgotten exactly what it was.) Still, the fact that such simple work was done sloppily and not up to code, makes me wonder what is going on in the minds of some contractors.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 2:46PM
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your 100% correct, but in my mind there are ways to hopefully minimize potential problems and the contractors I have seen hired by HD and or Lowes for the most part I would consider a HOT MESS. And as such it would make me very leery about hiring them.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 3:34PM
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I've only seen the hvac side of HD
and it wasn't anything good to speak of.

millworkman has a valid point that if the
contractor was doing good work they
would not need HD to get jobs.

do you have a local lumber yard?
ask them for names of tradespeople.
it would be a starting point.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 5:45PM
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A friend of mine recently had a kitchen put in by L*we's. She was very happy with their designer and the installation. I didn't do my kitchen through a big box store (well, actually yes, Ikea, but I hired my own people) -- but I have had big-box subcontractors out for smaller jobs in years past and had no trouble. I think it just depends on who is working there.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:16AM
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