Bargains, discounts and price slashes characterize the business model of box stores across the nation. In the 1990ʼs box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s thrived in the do-it-yourself boom, but now they’re struggling to retain shareholders and customers. In this economy it’s easy to sacrifice quality for an appealingly low price. Both box stores and family-owned and operated businesses offer similar plumbing services. However, they vary greatly on many factors such as price, customer satisfaction and customer experience. Below is a guide to decide which option works better for you:
- Price – “[Box stores] have the advantage of massive advertising budgets and a widespread perception of lower prices,” said Stacy Mitchell, the senior researcher for the Institute of Local Self-Reliance. Since the customer is already in the store pricing appliances, equipment, tools, and materials, the box stores have the first opportunity to sell the customer. Additionally, box stores offer low-rate or no-rate financing to their customers. Fortunately, Mr. Plumber partners with GE Money to also provide our customers with no or low-rate options to finance many of their plumbing needs. But some family-owned and operated businesses may not have access to these resources. Shopping off price alone can always be deceiving. Make sure to ask loads of questions to ensure last-minute fees and charges will not creep into your invoice.
- Personal – Mr. Plumber has been family owned and operated since it started in San Antonio, Texas, in 1977. We have had the pleasure of serving generations of families. Our plumbers often celebrate a decade or more with the company, and customers request plumbers by name. Box stores hire companies that hire subcontractors so they can remove themselves as far away as possible from liability to the customer. Customers enjoy relationships with the people with whom they do business and will not refer friends or family if they do not appreciate the service.
- Quality Control – Box stores struggle under their national brands with providing consistent service. Providing 100% customer satisfaction with millions of customers to service and a quarter of a million employees to train and track proves challenging to box stores. Local businesses find it easier to manage their employees and implement change when needed due to not being weighed down by a hierarchy of decision makers or a plethora of individuals to train. Whether you chose a box store or a local plumber, don’t be afraid to compare prices, ask questions and build a relationship with the individual coming to perform services on your home.