All the builders have been there. Visit a large store to buy an item for a few dollars less than your local building supply store. It is broken immediately or has a defect and you want to return it. This is where the headache begins. The lines at the customer service desk are often very long. When he finally reaches the counter, the clerk tells him that the window of opportunity to return the product has closed. The store offers a credit instead of a refund. You call the customer complaint line and receive an endless series of automated prompts that ultimately don’t even connect you to a human being. You have to ask yourself, “Was it really worth saving a couple of dollars?”
Small companies differ from large multinational chains in several respects. First of all, customer service is a top priority. Small businesses are eager to help and often build long-lasting personal relationships with loyal customers. From knowing the names of repeat customers to asking how the project is going, small family businesses care about their customers. They don’t have tens of thousands of customers, and therefore they must impress visitors with extraordinary customer service. Unlike department store employees, small business owners take pride in the products they offer and are extremely knowledgeable. They know the construction business and provide accurate recommendations for products that work best for specific jobsite needs. Many companies provide samples and follow up with clients to make sure products are working well. When problems arise, it is not uncommon for small business owners to go beyond helping customers solve problems.
From an economic perspective, supporting small businesses helps communities by stimulating the local economy. Greater demand for local goods and services means more jobs and a stronger economic climate. According to several studies, when people buy from small businesses, there is a much greater investment in the local economy than if they bought from large stores. The increased demand for local goods and services serves as a reinvestment in the community that can result in more jobs, higher wages, and fewer small business closings.
There is also something to be said for the quality of supplies purchased from local stores vs. department store. For example, San Diego-based surface protection company Builders Site Protection offers 3.0-mil carpet film. It resembles the 2.0-mil thick film found at Home Depot, but is actually a more durable, puncture-resistant, high-quality product. In many cases and with many products, large stores buy in bulk in China or other countries and secure products at deep discounts and of lower quality than small companies. Small business owners know where to find the highest quality inventory and are committed to selling products that last longer than a comparable inexpensively made product. This discrepancy can be found at local businesses across the country. Although a big box store may be less expensive in the short term, in the long run an inferior product may end up costing builders more.
Quality of customer service, beneficial impact on the local economy, and superior product quality are just a few of the reasons to consider purchasing small business construction supplies.