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Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Posted by lucas412 (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 21:05

We want to do a big pretty big renovation on our kitchen in the next few months. We have never hired a contractor let alone done a major renovation so once we started talking to designers / builders we were surprised by how they all steered us to specific stores for materials. Like Ferguson for plumbing or a specific lumber yard for windows. Home Depot and Lowes sell pretty much the same stuff but nobody say go there to look around. You can imagine the reaction when we mentioned IKEA (we like their cabinets and they have great prices on LED lights).

We were just wondering why are builder so particular about the stores we shop at? I thought a custom kitchen meant custom.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

It' because they have, over the years, developed working relationships with these businesses and know what to expect in delay times and delivery schedule maintenance.

Besides, if you are purchasing cabinets from a "store" they are not custom.

Maybe you need to go back and spend a couple of months shopping for everything you want, and after developing a "fixed in stone plan and specification sheet", call some contractors.

IKEA, really, particle board?


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Ikea, Home Depot, Lowes, etc., sell inferior products, that's why.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

I was in Fergusons one day and a lady came in mad as could be about how they had charged her too much for the faucet she bought and she found the same thing at Home Depot for much less.

Same Brand, Model #, and finish. They looked alike. That is until the gentelman behind the counter took the time to show her the guts of product.

The Home Depot product was cheap fabrication. Fergusons product was quality stuff.

Once she saw the difference she took the Home Depot product back and understood why Fergusons was more expensive for the same Brand, Model #, and finish.

I've seen the same with locksets and don't get me started on lumber.

christophern is correct with his statement. But sometimes budgets rule.

The reason contracters tend to use specific suppliers is there experience in dealing with the people and the products they deliver.

Do you take your car to the cheapest mechanic each time? Or do you go to one you've used before and know his work?


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Problems cost time and money, if a builder prefers to use certain suppliers and vendors it's because they realize this and have developed a relationship where they know what and when to expect material, What the quality of the materials will be and when an issue arises what will be done and how fast the issue is remedied. Because anyone in business will tell you it is not when an issue happens(as they ALWAYS will at some point) but HOW the issue is dealt with.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

The builder may be getting a discount from the vendor based on volume.
i used to use my brother in laws accounts regularly to boost his volume.
We both ended up with a larger discount.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 12:41


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

So, have you concluded that Prior Preparation Precludes Procrastination?
After posting in separate forums without the courtesy of a crosspost note.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

There are different grades of manufacture for many different types of materials.

Appliances, lighting, plumbing fixtures, electrical equipment and so on. There are two grades of chain saws, for instance. The Pro versions and the DIY versions. Those look similar, but the cost/construction is very different.

There are huge differences between what HD and Lowe's sell.

HD has more basic building supplies than Lowe's by far. The difference is seldom seen by homeowners/DIYers, because those folks do not build from scratch. HD stocks more pro type tools than Lowe's---which stocks more DIY stuff.

When I was a remodeler, I recommended the best store/dealer for the product, often recommending the home owners buy or I bought from HD, Lowe's and Ace Hardware for material for the same job.

Many contractors have relationships with certain stores. When I had a house built, my builder had accounts at a particular store for lighting, another for paint, one for appliances and so on. That simply made his job easier---and he may have gotten a discount.

I still get a discount from Sherwin Williams, simply because I set up a contractors account there.

I would refuse to use IKEA material. Why? Because their furniture is MDF laminated WalMart quality stuff. They just market better than WalMart. And many companies products are not built with enough precision to be able to be used in new builds.

I would not let my name be associated with second rate stuff like that.

Lowe's has a better selection of upgrade/remodeling material.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Hi Lucas,
Shopping at a store that your contractor is familiar with is cheaper and more profitable for him. i.e. he already has terms set up w them, he already knows where to drive his truck to pick up goods, he already knows where things are in their showroom, and he has probly installed the same brands that they carry a hundred times so he can do so faster and troubleshoot them w less of a learning curve.

If you shop elesewhere, he has to set up new terms or pay by a new method, possibly learn a new product, etc. Even simple things like figure out how a different brand of ceiling fan goes together wastes 20 min of his time. All these things cost time and time is money.

A plumber friend of mine directed me to Ferguson supply. They were okay... and we bought a couple heavyweight things there... but most plumbing fixtures we could get cheaper and faster thru faucetline or faucetsdirect -- check these sites out, you'll save a LOT over Fergusons..

"Ikea, Home Depot, Lowes, etc., sell inferior products, that's why."

Ikea is cheap for anything particle-board fabricated and cam-and-peg assembled, yes. But on other things, if you buy a Delta Faucet at HD, it's the same exact faucet you get at Ferguson or Amazon or anywhere so shopping at restrictive and often more expensive stores to placate your contractor is saving him money not you.

Which isn't necessarily bad, of course. Once you go down the path of hiring a contractor, you have to accept that he's in this to make money, so you have to pick your battles. If you can find what you want where he wants you to shop, I'd probly grin and bear it, or stop using him for the product selection phase and instead buy your own stuff where you want, then hire just to install.

I love Home Depot tho. I could live there. :-)


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

They may get a 'kick back'


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"They may get a 'kick back'", HMMMM. Then you go to another part of the forum and ask advice of the same contractors. And squishy, not everything is the same trust me and the other pros when we say that. Also if a contractor purchases and there is something missing it is on him to fix the issue, you buy and have him install issues or problems are on you.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"And squishy, not everything is the same trust me and the other pros when we say that."

Oh, no doubt. Seriously I'm with you there. Most of the furniture sold at Ikea is junk press board. But a plumbing fixture bought at Home Depot on sale might cost you less than the same plumbing fixture bought wholesale and be the exact same fixutre with the same Kohler part numbers sold in the same packaging. And if you change your mind you can take it back hassle free.

HD is the worlds #1 retailer -- not because they're inferior. They do what they do extremely well. I think contractors dislike them cuz they transcend the old-school "contractor buy from wholesaler" model and instead empower the end user to get often better prices and have access to more stuff than the legacy model can bear.

Think about it... I just rebuilt my HVAC duct system last night. Where on earth would I go to buy 6" round tubes, or a 16x8 end cap if there was no HD, Menards, or Lowes? It would be some convoluted process of placing special will-call orders at Grainger or some other cumbersome store to shop at. You saying galvanized aluminum vent tubing is worse from HD than paying more from it from a plumbing supply store?

They carry the brands people want. DeWalt Kohler Nibco Leviton Lutron you name it. Drywall from HD is no different than the drywall a contractor has delivered. PVC pipe. Conduit. Insulation. Tile. Water heater.

Someone mentioned lumber? Well because you can pick over your lumber... I've gotten better lumber from HD by hand selecting boards then when I ordered from 84 lumber and have it delivered. Cuz w delivery you get what you get, and don't get to choose.

Yes they make some cheap-as-all-heck bottom feeder product lines like thier "Hampton Bay" or whatever crummy ceiling fan line they sell. But HD does offer the full spectrum from bottom of the line to top of the line. You buy the bottom, you get the bottom. That does not reflect on the store but the choice of product purchased.

And of course a Jeld-Wen window is not an Anderson window. But for the average household, a whole-house window replacement at Jeld-Wen prices is doable and will net them the majority of the possible energy savings. A whole-house window replacement w Anderson windows via custom contractor is simply not affordable for most.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Plumbing fixtures are not the same. Two faucets may have the same manufacturer and model number, but the material is different. One is brass, and the other is plastic. Big box stores have name brand manufacturers make cheaper versions of the same product. It's like getting counterfeit merchandise, but it's actually made legit by the company, just to much lower standards. I have seen these things in person, and held these things in my own hands. Nobody can ever convince me that the plastic faucet and the brass faucet are the same thing. The box and packaging look different. The plastic one says "Manufactured by ______ for _____ box store" The real one just has the name brand and model number. Once out of the box, both look identical. But when you pick them up, one is heavy brass, the other is light plastic. The finish on the plastic looks just like the finish on the metal.

The same holds true for all materials, much more so with natural things like wood and stone.

I also don't work with IKEA products. Not even for T&M. I won't take money from someone without giving them some sort of value in return. IKEA stuff actually has no value. To buy a home and then remodel it with that stuff would adversely affect the appraisal, which may cause the owner to have negative equity, and possibly face financial insolvency if they have to move in the future.

I just can't sleep at night worrying about bad work that I may have done. One way to know for sure your work is good, is to know for sure your materials are good, and you know what you're doing from experience.

That's why builders require you to use certain materials and suppliers.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Amen!


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

All this KIEA bashing got me to do some research. I found this from consumer reports. This is reinforcing our decision to go with IKEA. I'm sure we will be able to find someone to install.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.cabinetstylestudio.com/images/Consumer-Reports-Cabinets-August-2004.pdf


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"All this KIEA bashing got me to do some research. I found this from consumer reports."

Do you have any Idea how the "Bag-n-Box" cabinet industry has evolved since 8/04 the date of the report you are fondly basing your decision upon?

Are you also aware that there is a blatant omission of true "custom" cabinets Regardless of the reports title?

In a true custom cabinet there are no filler strips used. Every lineal inch is usable space.You cannot buy then in a store and they are not pre-finished.

"This is reinforcing our decision to go with IKEA. I'm sure we will be able to find someone to install."

Since sub-quality is not beneath your dignity you will be easily pleased

"Do the choosing yourself. Readers who chose cabinets based solely on the advice of contractors, designers,
or architects were twice as likely to report a problem as those more involved."

Really! Advocate and admonish the advocated practice in the same sentence?

"Put your money where it counts. Many brands allow you to upgrade the drawer guides."

While custom cabinet designers are customer satisfaction/warranty oriented, this not the case with the "Bag-n-Box" stores.

"Focus on convenience. Work-savers include a lazy Susan, a pull-down soap and sponge holder, and deep
pot drawers."

All of which were patterned after custom cabinets.

"Skip the nonessentials. For example, glazing, while nice, typically adds 10 to 20 percent to the cost."

This is incorrect, in practice.

"Factor in the work. Installation can easily cost more than 50 percent of the cabinet cost. Set your budget
accordingly."

This is absolutely false with custom cabinets.

"Of the nearly 2,000 readers we surveyed who recently remodeled a kitchen, more than half spent
at least $5,000 on cabinets."

Triple or more in todays market.

" A good job protects that investment by preventing boxes that can warp, doors that won't close or sit flush, and wall cabinets that can fall."

A competent installers work is warrantied in custom cabinets. Seldom with Bag-n-Box.

"Having certification in kitchen and bath remodeling from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry is a plus. It requires five years in the industry and passing
a full-day exam."

Really! Shilling for a private enterprise and you're supposed to believe it's credible?

"Have the plan handy.locations of electrical outlets and plumbing, and other variables."

Unbelievable! All should have been addressed by other trades.

"The installation estimate should include demolition and removal of your existing cabinets."

Really! the "finish trade" is required to demo, rough and finish plumb,elec, and wall patching? Are you serious?
"Shore up the wall mountings. Have your installer reinforce wall-cabinet mounting strips if
they're made of thin particleboard"

Yeah IKEA


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

If you believe so much in consumer reports, you deserve what you get.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

lucas,
Curious... are you doing this work yourself? Interesting that you said you were seeking out a contractor but then shopping at Ikea. That seems contradictory -- Ikea cabinets are geared toward the DIY installer. Note when I bash them, I'm referring to their furniture -- their book cases that sag when you put books on them, their drawers that fall apart when the cams loosen, etc. I actually like their cabinets, and we considered them and HD. We ended up going w HD in our last remodel.

Snoony & millwork, I think there is a discussion here comparing apples to oranges. There is a huge gap between site-built hardwood cabinets and off-the-shelf cabinets. Yes custom woodwork is awesome. We have original cabinets in our house... single strips of hardwood spanning the entire length, one partition finished on two sides between cavities (as opposed to two walls back to back cuz they come in separate units and get screwed together) and so on.

Getting that kind of cabinetry is vastly different from getting cabinets from a store... You're talking $40k vs $10k. If someone can afford that? Absolutely. If you're good at woodworking? Absolutely build your own (building boxes is not difficult -- it's just time consuming). Problem is most people cannot afford $40k but can afford $10k so they do what they can.

I liked that article. It does highlight a lot of important points. I agreed w most... like not skimping on hardware. and disagreed on only a couple, like to leave out details to curb costs. I think the details like a glass panel add in the wow factor.

Calling what most of the middle class installs "subquality" is kind of rude. Yes it is not top of the line and yes it is not onsite custom hardwood cabinetry. Unless your budget is the moon, you're not going to get site-built hardwoods. There are lower cost options that will look nice and get most of the reward for a fraction of the cost.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

You have your onions I have mine, and I was not speaking of cabinets in particular. I was speaking in general terms of a vast quantity of the items they and other box stores sell in general.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

You might enjoy this. These cabinets are from HD and DIY built... As you can see off-the-shelf cabinets can create a very nice high-end look. The only work contracted was the granite (altho bought from HD). The only thing I'd have done differently was the cork flooring. I would do hardwood if I was to do that over.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"Snoony & millwork, I think there is a discussion here comparing apples to oranges."

Kitchen Cabinets and a blatantly one sided "Consumer Reports" was and is the subject

"There is a huge gap between site-built hardwood cabinets and off-the-shelf cabinets."

Site-built is presently a few and far between process.Any competent custom cabinet shop can replicate, in their shop, most cabinetry and with competent craftsmen as installers, few difficulties cannot be overcome.

You see, word of mouth is extremely important in that industry.

"You're talking $40k vs $10k."

Not true. Not for the same lineal footage with comparable door styles.

"I liked that article."

I find the publishing of what is touted as an impartial study, that then in its context shills for a private enterprise, lacking in ethical credibility.

"Calling what most of the middle class installs "subquality" is kind of rude."

If you teach quality, you will receive quality.

There are lower cost options that "will look nice" and get most of the reward for a fraction of the cost.

If you allow yourself to become subordinate to the shallowness of surface appearance and refuse to consider the over quality, you are short-changing yourself and deserve those rewards.

By the way, my mother still uses the Kirby vacum and the cloth corded Toastmaster toaster purchased in 1948 and I still use the Craftsman tools purchased in the late 50's.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Like I said originally, we have never done anything like this before. This was the first time we've ever talked to a contractor. We just assumed that when we decided we wanted a custom kitchen (emphasis on the word custom) we could pick out whatever materials we wanted and we could hire someone to install them. I guess that's not how it really works?

For cabinets we just went to a few local shops we found online plus IKEA. When we got estimates, IKEA was always at least 1/3 the price. We were thinking that savings could be put towards other parts of the renovations like counter tops, floor, nicer back spalsh, etc..


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

Yes, you can pick out anything you want and hire someone to install it. You are the customer. If you want Ikea cabinets you should buy them. Just keep in mind that they are low quality cabinets that should never be allowed to get wet because of the materials they are constructed with. If you can afford to purchase solid wood you should consider it, but if you can't, then buy what you can afford. I suggest going on over to the kitchen forum for some encouragement, as well as the pros and cons of Ikea cabinets. Lots of people use them.

I understand how shocking it can be to get a quote on new cabinets. The quotes I got in 2001 for new kitchen cabinets were what I had saved up to remodel the whole house.

I solved the cost problem by measuring my kitchen and ordering cabinets from a furniture maker in Mexico. In 2001, it cost $2,300 for 25 feet of base cabinets and 15 feet of uppers with glass doors. They are solid pine, with inset drawers and doors and hand-made wrought iron hardware. I had them made a few inches taller than stock cabinets. It ended up costing less than the stock Home Depot particle board cabinets with the birch veneer doors ( I don't think they still make those). If you live close enough, there are numerous furniture builders in Ensenada and Tijuana who will build you whatever you like in solid wood for great prices.

I installed them myself- I guess there might be situations where you need a pro, but in my case it was a matter of screwing them to the walls and putting up the crown molding.

Another way to economize is to purchase cabinets that have been discontinued or were on display. I have a girlfriend who bought out all of the maple display cabinets at every Home Depot for miles, and got a beautiful kitchen for ten cents on the dollar.

snoonyb, I still use my grandmother's 1940s Electrolux vacuum cleaner and her Sunbeam Mixmaster.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

When you obtain an estimate "on the fly", without specifics such as appliance brochures, lighting, flooring, plumbing, elec, and wall treatments, all you will receive is an approximation.

You can say that all you want is a fresh look. OK, then ask for a refacing estimate.

Here is what I tell all my customers; Stand at the sink, in your minds eye, prepare a meal and ask yourself does this fit my style, what will make this process more convenient, make the changes and continue, do you have enough outlets, do you need two utensil dwrs., how's the lighting, where is the coffee maker, the microwave, other small appliances, is the sink the right size for large pans.are you changing appliances do you have the brochures reflecting your selections, are the fuel/power requirements met with the existing, are they in the same place, what counter and backsplash material do you want.
Now, when you have a reasonably firm idea, make a dimensioned plan at 1/4" -1' scale and compose a list of specifications limited to those things which affect cabinet size and space. Now visit cabinet vendors.

While in general "Bag-n-Box" cabinets standard dimension are devisable by 3, as referenced in the 21" used in the consumer report, not so in custom cabinets

Another thing to consider is warranty and repairs, withe "Bag-n-Box" you are pretty much on your own.

Kitchen remodels, in particular, take a longer period of time before there is a "return on investment", which is just one more reason to invest in quality cabinets.

hosenemesis; Nothing speaks of quality, like quality.
We also had an Electrolux. The kids used to delight in connecting the hose on the blower end and rolling it down the stairs, it was apparently quite a site. I, on the other hand, was left to straightening the tank and to ponder the cause.
We now have an 80's Kirby Heritage.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

You get what you pay for, simple as that. When I was building most of my materials came from HD if it was a flip. Was able to spend a few hours getting everything from house wrap to millwork and flooring in one trip with 2 laborers. That may have cost me 2 days in labour and a few hundred miles on the panel truck and trailer going place to place. Still received my 10% contractors discount on the HD card.

What a timely discussion, just this past Sunday dear wife dragged me to Ikea to show me a Hemmes dresser for the new grand babies room. I have been asked to leave Ikea before as I made quick firewood from several of their items demonstrating for anyone that would be in earshot opening and closing drawers, leaning on open cabinet doors and watching them fall apart. The dresser is 99% solid pine with 5/8" drawer sides, 3/4" drawer fronts and 1" solid pine top. The drawers are rated to hold 20 kilos, 44 pounds. A real surprise, cost was $145.00, if I paid myself $25.00 per hour that wouldn't cover labour let alone materials.

The Hampton Bay HD ceiling fan I installed as temporary has been on 24 hours a day and only stopped to clean, temporary has been 13 years and counting. If that fan dies today :",!.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

We like to make up "alternative" slogans for companies - slogans they would use if they were completely truthful. The one we came up with for Ikea was: "IKEA - it's not all crap!". :-)


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"if you buy a Delta Faucet at HD, it's the same exact faucet you get at Ferguson or Amazon or anywhere so shopping at restrictive and often more expensive stores to placate your contractor is saving him money not you. "

This is simply not true.

Read aidan_m 's post.

Specifically... "Nobody can ever convince me that the plastic faucet and the brass faucet are the same thing. The box and packaging look different. The plastic one says "Manufactured by ______ for _____ box store" The real one just has the name brand and model number. Once out of the box, both look identical. But when you pick them up, one is heavy brass, the other is light plastic. The finish on the plastic looks just like the finish on the metal. "

I've dealt with it myself and it isn't just plumbing fixtures.

"I've gotten better lumber from HD by hand selecting boards then when I ordered from 84 lumber "

84 is a small step above HD.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"84 is a small step above HD"

Avery small step at the most. A good quality true lumberyard can be your best friend.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

84 is a small step above HD.

baby step


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

A custom kitchen with Ikea is an oxymoron. Ikea does nice cabinets, but in no shape form or fashion can they ever be considered "custom". You just have to make too many compromises due to size limitations or decor choices to achieve custom results.

For the OP, you develop your list of specs before you get bids on the work to be done. And if you want a builder grade remodel, then that's certainly your right to do just that, especially if it fits well into a builder grade home. Everyone is telling you that you can do better than that though for not really more money. IF you want better results, you have to use better quality materials than a box store sells. That's all.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"Everyone is telling you that you can do better than that though for not really more money." - We would love do to better, but what the contractors suggested were at least 3x the price and would put us over budget. We don't know where else to look. Going to Ensenada and Tijuana as one response mentioned is not an option.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"Everyone is telling you that you can do better than that though for not really more money."

You have made what I perceive is an erroneous assumption, and having read most of the responses, the lesson I would take away would be is to do the necessary planning and research prior to setting a fixed budget , then set some realistic goals in preparation in their fulfillment, even though that may require some temporary delays and repairs.

You see, cheap and dirty, usually lasts about that long.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

IKEA is a great pace to buy things for your first apartment. When you move you can leave it all there.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

To buy a home and then remodel it with that stuff would adversely affect the appraisal, which may cause the owner to have negative equity, and possibly face financial insolvency if they have to move in the future.

ROFL. The most likely cause of financial insolvency is borrowing money you can't afford to repay.

Not everybody needs or wants high end cabinetry, fixtures, furniture, etc. If they did Ikea, WalMart, Home Depot, and the rest of the mass merchants would have gone out of business long ago.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

"IKEA is a great pace to buy things for your first apartment. When you move you can leave it all there."

Think of it as free disposal.


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RE: Why do builders want you to shop at specific stores?

To the OP. I hope you have been on the kitchen boards. There are some good threads on Ikea cabinets and many people recommend you buy the cabs at the store and order good doors online. There is a place specifically geared to providing doors for them but the name escapes me. I think the idea is that you get nice wooden doors instead of whatever they sell as stock.


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