Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Reason To Support Local Businesses And Avoid Chains

I don't want to bad mouth anyone here, but we had an estimate today from one of the gigantic home improvement DIY warehouses today -- the same company where we got our kitchen counters and most recently the carpeting after the flood last summer. I'm not naming names, but if I say "homo train station" I think you'll get it.

While I thought the first estimate of $6,600 for a new roof was considerably higher than I expected I had no idea what I was about to be handed today: an estimate for $11,000 from a chain known for home improvement discounting. Bleahhh!

When I couple this with a very unimpressive estimate we received a few years back from Sears for a new central a/c & heating unit, I feel pretty secure in saying I will stick with the truly local folks in the future.

What's really ironic is the firm who did the estimate for $6,600 offers the same roofing material as an upgrade option that was offered with the $11,000 bid, and they only charge an extra $2,100 for it, bringing the revised total to $8,700 for a comparable estimate. By contrast, today's estimate offered a downgraded only lowering the price to around $10,000.

Just in case someone is tempted to lecture me, the firm which gave us the lower estimate has been in business around this area for a long time -- and they are bonded and insured. They are reputable. They provided several pages of references, both residential and commercial, something today's guy did not.

I have several theories. Either the national chain is relying on people who are lazy and making assumptions that theirs will automatically be a competitive price, or they are jacking things up to offset their emphasizing how affordable it is with their 0% financing, which is interesting in and of itself after I got a sermon regarding how some fly-by-night firms will dick you over with their con games. Or both. Or tacking on an exorbitant amount for the "transferable" warranty. Or all three. Or all three and more. I am not a fool.

"I know you are but what am I?"

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