Home Depot Installation vs Private Contractor

DisneyFan32WI

Grumpy Cat
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Hi everyone-
we are putting our tax refund to use by having some home remodeling done. More specifically, we are looking to get new carpet for the bedrooms and change out vinyl floors for ceramic tile in 2 of the bathrooms. The measuring guy came out the other day, and the quote is now here. I feel like we are getting nickel and dimed for everything when it comes to the ceramic tile.

Is is cheaper to find an independent contractor, or does Home Depot have pretty competitive pricing for their services? I just don't want to waste my time calling random people and having them into my home if it will be the same.

Looking for personal experiences.
 
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dish rag

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2017
I would not have Home Depot do work for me. Most people that use them do so to use their credit program and end up over paying. I would look for someone that you have seen their work and the people were satisfied with the job. While I don't want to over pay, I don't mind paying more for a good job. Home Depot uses sub contractors.
 

dotfurio

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2014
We had our whole house done in tile. We got quotes from Home Depot and independent contractors. Going to a tile place and hiring our own licensed contractor was cheaper, and frankly the guy seemed way more competent. We had an issue in one room with uneven floor and the Home Depot guy told us we’d be stuck with a sloped floor. The contractor leveled the floor.

It wouldn’t hurt to at least get a quote.
 

firecracker725

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Home Depot uses contractors to do the work. They are not HD employees. You are likely to get a better deal and better service through your own contractor.
 

kdonnel

DVC-BCV
Joined
Feb 1, 2001
When pricing out jobs I have found Home Depot and Lowe’s to be 30% higher then finding an independent contractor.
 
  • Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    Home Depot uses contractors to do the work. They are not HD employees. You are likely to get a better deal and better service through your own contractor.
    Correct. They are contractors, so it really doesn't make that much of a difference. Find someone you're comfortable with. The "advantage" to HD is that while they're contractors, HD has requirements for them...insurance, etc...because they're performing work for HD.
     

    barkley

    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2004
    Correct. They are contractors, so it really doesn't make that much of a difference. Find someone you're comfortable with. The "advantage" to HD is that while they're contractors, HD has requirements for them...insurance, etc...because they're performing work for HD.
    hd, lowes and such may have these requirements of their subs (which is usualy required in most states of all licensed contractors) but the issue we've known of w/their subs is if there is a problem w/the work they do it can be a nightmare to get it fixed/resolved b/c the sub will explain that their contract is with the store and therefore any resolution must be arranged through the store, then the store says that they only contract w/the sub and the customer has to resolve it directly w/the sub-and round and round it goes. I've not known anyone to have issues w/their flooring guys but several w/their other trades.

    I've found a good resource is either referrals from friends/neighbors OR if you have a brick and mortar local insurance agent you can call them and see if they can make a referral b/c they generally know who locally their company uses for claims and they tend to go with ones who do the best job for the best price.
     

    Ephany

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2005
    My husband and I started talking about remodeling our kitchen last May. Decided to go with Lowes because of financing and there would be someone to help design the new kitchen as it was a complete gut job. Paid the first week of July last year, started work in August. If we are lucky, the painter is supposed to be here Wednesday to finish. He already didn't show 8 weeks ago with no explanation. That's been an ongoing theme with this whole process. The contractors who are great, are awesome. The ones who aren't have been a major PITA and communication has been subpar from most everyone, Lowes and contractors alike. I thought it would be easier going with a major company and boy did we learn our lesson. Never again.

    We're starting to move forward on renovating the bathrooms this summer and this time we're only dealing with local people on whom I've collected recommendations from friends/local facebook sites. I also talked with the various electricians, plumbers, tile guys who have been here in the last year and asked them who they would personally hire to work on their homes. No middle men or large companies this time. I know it'd be different for you as your project will hopefully not be so labor intensive but it can be very challenging dealing with a company like HD or Lowes when you're 1 of 50 projects on their schedule that week.
     

    TheIncredibles!

    Winner (?) of the Crazy MIL Award
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2010
    Home Depot uses sub contractors they do not have their own crew. We used them for the fence around our pool, we paid OOP so no financing and quite honestly we were very pleased.

    I quoted out wood flooring with Lumber Liquidators 2 years ago and their install crew came out to measure and work up the quote. I did not use Lumbar Liquidators but did end up hiring the guy they sent to install and the job he did was AMAZING. He took ZERO money from me and refused to take payment until they fixed an issue I had with the bottom rung of my steps. When I paid them he asked nicely if he could give me a few cards and if I would hand them out to anybody that might need floors done and also asked if I could leave him a review online. NO PROBLEM!!
     
  • Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    I've used Home Depot or Lowe's for small jobs (hot water heater installation and a sliding glass door installation). I would not use them for flooring or tile work. They are going to go the lowest bidder contractor in your area and then put their fee on top of it. Might work out great and it might not.

    If I would you, I would go to a flooring/tile store and buy from them. These places generally do have their own people or they know the good contractor to hire versus HD or Lowe's.

    That said, I was pleased with both small jobs I had done. When I had my hardwood floors redone and my granite in the kitchen done, I found my own contractors.
     

    rwdavis2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2007
    If something goes wrong with a Home Depot contractor you're probably in for a mess. (As was mentioned above). We had a problem with a Lowes floor installer and it took 6 months to get it fixed. They refunded the installation fee. It was awful.
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    Does your neighborhood use the app Nextdoor? In the past, I have posted requesting recommendations for things like this and received several referrals. I like it because my neighbors, some of which I know personally, can recommend people who they have actually used and a lot of times their recommendations are companies close to our house which makes it more convenient when they come for a quote, etc.
     

    Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    hd, lowes and such may have these requirements of their subs (which is usualy required in most states of all licensed contractors) but the issue we've known of w/their subs is if there is a problem w/the work they do it can be a nightmare to get it fixed/resolved b/c the sub will explain that their contract is with the store and therefore any resolution must be arranged through the store, then the store says that they only contract w/the sub and the customer has to resolve it directly w/the sub-and round and round it goes. I've not known anyone to have issues w/their flooring guys but several w/their other trades.

    I've found a good resource is either referrals from friends/neighbors OR if you have a brick and mortar local insurance agent you can call them and see if they can make a referral b/c they generally know who locally their company uses for claims and they tend to go with ones who do the best job for the best price.
    Sadly, I see this stuff plenty. I work in general liability (and auto) insurance claims. I agree that a good resource could be referrals from friends or neighbors. Agents normally wouldn't have a clue about contractors, as insurance companies generally do not hire them (limited exceptions, not getting into here). The insurance company just assesses the damage and writes the check...the customer hires the contractor. Or in the limited situations where the insurance company can recommend a contractor, it's the same scenario as when HD or Lowes does. They are 100% independent contractors who have an agreement. A lot of the confusion when hiring someone from HD or Lowes comes in because the consumer doesn't understand how the relationship actually works and winds up "barking up the wrong tree". The contractors or HD often don't do much to help clear the situation.

    I'm not saying that hiring HD or Lowes contractors are necessarily the right way to go. They may not be, especially if you do have a good resource for an independent, then that's how I'd go too. But one potential pitfall with an independent is if they turn out to be shady, have no insurance at all, etc...you could be left 100% holding the bag. I've seen it...countless times. HD or Lowes at least gives you some level of security that the contractor is vetted at least to some degree. You could also use networks like Home Advisor, which do the same thing.
     

    KBoopaloo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2006
    Stay away from Home Depot. I ordered 8 new interior doors for my new home last year and had the installation scheduled through them. They farm it out to a local contractor but they serve as the middleman which just complicates everything. I ordered the doors on July 2. The job was not finished until the end of October. They canceled one installation date on me at the very last minute(because the doors were not ready - they also didn't notify the local contractor about the delay), when they finally showed up 2 of the doors were not correct and had to be completely re-ordered. It was absurd and they were very difficult to deal with and entirely unapologetic about it. We have a family friend who does that kind of work but he is always super busy with larger jobs and can take a long time to get around to smaller projects so I went with Home Depot thinking it would be faster. Nope. Never again.
     

    TipsyTraveler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 9, 2014
    Having done all the ceramic tile in my house myself (kitchen, dining room, and all bathrooms including mosaic design), I have to say that it's not that hard. If you have the time and inclination and are even slightly skilled in home improvement, it might be worth comparing the quotes you get to the cost of renting/buying a wet saw and doing it yourself.
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    Some Home Depots did have their own installers, but that went away with the Affordable Healthcare Act. Just like they use outside companies now to do their deliveries. I would get more bids from established flooring companies. Most here will discount the materials and labor if you have them do both. I had a remodeling contractor do 1,500 square feet of laminate, and they did a great job, but they normally didn't do that much laminate in one place. There was an issue with the tint on some of the planks and my contractor turned it into the floor maker as a warranty claim. Shaw sent out someone who agreed, and then sent out their own installers to replace the off color planks. My contractor was amazed how much faster that crew was than his guy was. But that crew did nothing but install laminate flooring. His guy did everything. And my contractor said if he had to do 1,500 square feet again, he would consider subbing it to this company because these guys were so much faster than his guy, at a similar price.
     

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