Have you ever seen a house with the same interior design as your neighbor’s? No? It’s because people want their home to reflect their personality. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the time to hunt for unique interior pieces at multiple locations. That’s where box stores come in handy. On the surface, they seem like a great way to get your home to remodel done by giving you plenty of matching pieces to choose from. But there are some things you should know before buying from this source.
Box stores aren’t the ideal supplier or designer choice for remodeling projects as they often lack options and carry lower-quality products compared to a specialized firm or individual vendor. Additionally, customization and personalization are rarely an option, and the store atmosphere might affect customer service, amongst other disadvantages.
While box stores certainly have their uses, we’ll discuss in this article why you shouldn’t use them for your remodeling project. In addition to stating the reasons you should avoid box stores, we’ll discuss your more ideal alternatives and how they differ from one another.
Reasons to Avoid Box Stores for Remodeling Projects
If you’ve concluded that you want to remodel your house, you might be considering using a box store for help. Big box stores are great if you need some supplies, like nails and basic tools, but if you’re embarking on a new remodeling project, you’ll want to avoid them as your main supplier and designer. Here’s why:
The main reasons homeowners should not rely on box stores for their remodeling projects are because they:
- Have limited products and designs
- Lack of personalization and customization options
- Are very hit and miss with customer service
- Might cost you more long-term
- Aren’t experts in this field
Reading these reasons, it might seem obvious why box stores aren’t the right choice for you and your remodeling project. However, if you’re still unconvinced or your budget is telling you that box stores are your only option, let us try to convince you to reconsider by discussing each of the reasons listed above in a bit more detail.
Limited Products and Designs
One of the main reasons homeowners decide to remodel is because they’re finally ready, either mentally or financially (or both), to redo a space and make it entirely their own. This is their chance to install new features they’ve always wanted and design something that matches their tastes and aesthetics perfectly.
To do this, people will fill their space with unique objects that set their home apart from any other. However, this requires options, which is the first obstacle to going to a box store.
While box stores win points for convenience by having nearly everything you’d need for a remodel all in one place, the only way they can achieve this is by limiting the products and designs they have available. As a result, when you go to a box store for your remodeling materials and designs, the employees are going to show you your options, and oftentimes, the initial consumer response is “that’s it?” Yup. That’s it.
If you want your entire design neatly wrapped in a bow on a page, then, by all means, go to a box store. But if you want a plethora of each element to look at, you won’t find it here. So if none of the options you see match your tastes, you’re choices are to settle for what’s on the page and look somewhere else.
Lack of Personalization and Customization Options
Another drawback of box stores goes hand-in-hand with the previous one we discussed. Not only do box stores have limited options for your remodeling project, but the options they have available are usually set in stone. Personalization and customization are luxuries most box stores don’t provide, and if they do, it’s minimal at best.
You’ll be hard-pressed to create a unique space with products purchased from a box store. As we stated previously, you’re most likely picking a design straight out of a catalog that has one big sticker price. If you’re lucky, you can buy some of the pieces separately, but box stores usually get you by making the price of the room in its entirety cheaper than individual pieces.
Mixing and matching capabilities with box store products are limited, and should you have a special request for how you want a particular feature or piece of furniture made, forget it. That’s not their specialty. What you see on the paper is what you get. Maybe they’ll have what you want in another color or a different size, but for the most part, anything you purchase is going to match what’s on the page.
While some people see this as an advantage since they can see exactly what they’re getting, the downfall is if what they’re offering doesn’t match your space, you might not be able to alter it to fit.
Hit and Miss Customer Service
Remodeling projects are stressful enough on their own. Homeowners have to consult with various individuals they hire, like a contractor or loan lender, and make countless decisions of even the smallest scope. The last thing they need is to plan their remodel and purchase their products from someone who isn’t really going to dedicate all of their time and efforts to this project, but that’s what happens with box stores.
The unfortunate nature of box stores for remodelers is that their priorities lie beyond the home design department.
Popular choices like Home Depot are filled with numerous store sections that all focus on different markets and avenues of business. In one aisle, you have lighting. In another, there’s lumber. In another, there’s lawn care products. As a result, they aren’t dedicating all of their time and resources to the department you need for your project because they have to make sure the store as whole profits and customers in other sections are being taken care of as well.
This isn’t to say that the employee you speak to for your remodeling project is going to exhibit poor customer service, but it will be much less personable than if you’d gone to a specialist and made an appointment. There, they would dedicate all of their time, attention, and resources to you, and there would be consistency in terms of who you consult with.
This, in turn, can help you make decisions faster since they’ll know what is going on with your project at all times. At a box store, you might talk to Lucy one day and John the next, so you’ll have to explain details of your home, tastes, budget, etc., every time you speak to someone new.
Long-term Cost Might Outweigh Initial Budget-Friendly Prices
The importance of this point cannot be understated. If you ask anyone why they go to a box store, their first answer is usually convenience closely followed by cost. There’s no denying that box stores are much cheaper than their alternatives, and so, homeowners who are trying to get the biggest bang for their buck for their to remodel or need to remodel on a budget will go to box stores first. But this is a mistake!
You’ve probably heard the phrase “You get what you pay for,” and this is definitely true with box stores. Sure, with box store purchases, you might be able to pay for an entire remodel at a fraction of the cost you’d pay at a competitor, but the reason it was so cheap is usually due to the fact that box store products just aren’t as high-quality as specialized stores.
A majority of box store products are mass-produced and, therefore, don’t use top-notch materials, which significantly affects their longevity. The initial purchase of these products will likely be cheap, but in reality, their limited longevity means you’ll spend more money long-term repairing and replacing these features than if you’d simply invested in higher-quality alternatives elsewhere.
Employees Aren’t Remodeling Experts
Box store employees aren’t necessarily inexperienced when it comes to remodeling projects, but because this is a store that has various other departments and focuses, these employees aren’t experts in this field.
They’re likely to have some degree of training, and the box store might have required them to have prior knowledge and experience with remodeling before hiring, but this won’t rival the expertise you’d get from a specialized store.
In fact, it isn’t uncommon for employees at box stores to give poor remodeling advice or simply not have answers to a customer’s questions because they don’t know enough about the subject. At specialized stores, every individual that works there is an expert in their field and would know the answer to everything you could ask and more. This is much more beneficial for your remodeling project’s success and will greatly reduce stress and frustration since you’ll be more confident you can rely on what the specialist has to say.
What Are The Alternatives to Using Box Stores?
So, we’ve talked pretty extensively about why you shouldn’t resort to box stores for your remodeling projects. But if you can’t go here, where can you go? Don’t worry; there are a few alternatives you can turn to that will make this process much easier and yield improved results than anything you’d get from a box store.
The best alternatives to using a box store for remodeling projects is either an independent contractor(s) or a specialized remodeling/design company. Both of these businesses consist of employees dedicated solely to your remodeling needs and have years of training and experience in what their business focuses on.
While these two options might not be the quickest way to complete your remodeling project, they’re by far the optimal choice.
Independent vendors will often specialize in providing one product you need for your remodeling (ex., tiles, showers, lighting, etc.), but there will be a vast selection of these products you can choose from, and a customization is nearly always an option.
Of course, going from one independent vendor to the next to pick out every single element you need can get time-consuming and tiresome. While this gives you the most freedom to really personalize your space and choose every feature, we’d understand if you’d rather hire someone to do most of this for you. If that’s the case, consider going to a specialized remodeling firm before you head to the box store.
Remodeling firms are more frequently referred to as contractors, but there are some businesses that specialize in remodeling a specific room in a house that will help customers. Either way, they will go through every step of the remodeling process with you and provide their expert advice along the way.
Many homeowners who are remodeling love the “one-stop” convenience of big box stores, but we strongly urge you to avoid them as much as you can for the sake of your project’s success, quality, and even its long-term cost. Instead, look into independent vendors and remodeling firms or contractors you can trust who are licensed, well-renowned, and specialize in what you need. You might have to pay more for their services up-front, but the result will be a beautiful space that matches your vision perfectly and will last.
Looking for a trusted and highly reviewed home remodeling contractor in Oakland? Element Home Remodeling East Bay is an Oakland based remodeling contractor with a reputation for beautiful custom designs and great custom service. Check out reviews online and contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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