The Local Contractor vs The Big Guys

Local Contractor
Classic Home

Understanding the Difference Just Might Save You Money

Why use a local contractor over the big guys? Convenience and trust. Two important factors play a major role when considering your next renovation. While a renovation is not usually thought of as convenient, the timeline and security that comes with the company you choose will affect whether you decide to invest in the project… or not. Let’s look at a few reasons why working with your local contractor will ultimately save you money.


Box store retailers not only offer convenience, they also use their buying power to give consumer better prices. In the past several years home improvement box stores have continued to add convenience by providing “in-house” installation services. Larger product purchases such as flooring, siding, and cabinets are sold with the option to have in-house contractors do the install. However, these services are rarely in-house. For the most part, these projects are provided by a local contractor. That doesn’t seem so bad – so what’s the catch? Cost. There are often several layers of contractors taking fees that you don’t see. The big-box also adds a mark up on top of the contractor’s costs. While the mark up may vary, you’re usually looking at an additional 30%. This translates into the consumer paying more for services that they could have obtained directly for far less. The impression you have is that you’re saving money. The reality is you’re paying more.

Supports Local Businesses

But big-box installation services help local businesses, don’t they? Since the stores themselves don’t have an installation crew, they contract out the work to local companies. They sell you the service at a premium price, promising security and a variety of payment options. This is a very valuable solution for many home owners. We naturally think that a premium price is associated with premium work. The result should include a great local business working on your project, financing options and the security of the big-box store. What’s not to like? The local business is hired at less than market rates. The result, typically, is installers who are underpaid and therefore may provide less than adequate service.


As for the security, you don’t need to look much further than the recent breach of a big-box store’s consumer credit information to debunk that myth. But more importantly, the big-box carries no insurance or WorkSafe coverage for the project. These are items that must be provided by the local installer. The warranty is also covered by the installer. If you’d like to claim any warranty issues, it’s not an easy task. Your complaints must go through a chain of command and then back to the contractor who completed your project. At this point, it’s very easy to start pointing fingers with little resolution. 

Invest in a Good Contractor

When looking for a qualified installer (or renovator) we suggest you do your research. There are countless websites dedicated to providing feedback on contractors. Try to get a clear scope of work written down so you can compare local contractor pricing accurately. We all wish there was an easy button. But good planning and working with an installer you trust will make your life easier in the long run. Pay a fair price and put that money in the pocket of a local business owner rather than a corporation that underpays and under performs.

If you’d like to meet with us to discuss your upcoming project, contact us today. All of our initial consultations are free of charge.