The internet is great for buying a multitude of things but construction materials is certainly not one of them. I try to convey this to our clients whenever the topic arises. The smart ones listen and value what I’m about to relate to you. Clients are falsely enticed by the idea that they can save money if they buy it on the internet. There are several reasons I disagree when I hear that statement.
When you order or buy materials on your own, we won’t be responsible for them if they are not consistent, the wrong color or finish, the wrong size, have missing parts or are damaged in any way. We also won’t allow our strategy and workflow be interrupted by distributors or manufacturers without a proven track record. We understand the materials that we buy on a consistent basis. We know the quality and availability and plan our orders and progress accordingly. When you try to get products or sub-contractors on your own, you have become a third wheel to our very efficient process of timely completion. After all, we’ve been doing this since 1980, and we have quite a successful system in place.
Even plumbing materials and appliances bought over the internet can be private labeled and a different construction that we buy from local suppliers. A faucet could look the same on the outside but if you take them apart, ours will have quality metal parts and theirs will have plastic. If it breaks in two to three years and you have to get a plumber to replace it and buy a new one, how much money did you save? I once had a client buy a large stainless steel hardware order over the internet because it looked exactly the same but was half the price. After incomplete shipments, damaged merchandise and the wrong screws being shipped, she finally called to have our installer come out to install the hardware. Imagine her dismay when she realized these large high-end handles that she thought she bought were hollow instead of the solid ones at our showroom and the threading inside was not threaded correctly. When she did her search of these pulls, a cheap imitation came up and she assumed it was the same. Internet search engines can be tricky that way. So can websites. The screws would only go in ¼” before there was a problem. Her option would have been to have them tapped to accept a larger diameter screw but because they were hollow and we weren’t familiar with them, we couldn’t help her. After a five month ordeal with this hardware, she purchased the hardware from us, and it was delivered and installed within three days. How much money was the time and exasperation worth?
Another customer bought a farm sink that was put in with quartz countertops surrounding it just to find out that a standard size sink strainer would not work in it. Again, it was imported from China. When she called the distributor, they said they had never heard of that. They shipped her a strainer that worked, but she wasn’t able to have her garbage disposer. She spent over twenty thousand dollars on a kitchen with no garbage disposer.
When we are hired to manage or be a contractor on a project, we buy from local reputable suppliers. If there is a problem with the materials, we either return it or they pick it up and replace it, no questions asked. It keeps the job moving along and gets your project finished in a timely fashion. Many times the long delays and poor quality on internet orders are attributed to the fact that the items are being shipped from China. Buy from your local suppliers; support local businesses in your community. Just remember you can always buy it cheaper on the internet, but you’ll always get a few surprises with your order. In the end, very few circumstances wind up saving you money.