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How to Save Big Money Buying Home Improvement Materials Online

Updated on November 11, 2008

Most of us have graced the door of Home Depot or Lowes looking for home improvement supplies. Whether you’ve been there for a light bulb or new kitchen tile, you know how overwhelming it can be. My husband and I recently decided to replace a carpeted portion of our house with wood flooring. This is the story of how I save over $500 on wood flooring materials.


Shop First

Because we have an existing wood floor that the new floor is going to butt up against, we wanted to get as close a match as possible. I can’t remember how many times I returned to my local home improvement stores to check out different wood floor samples. I would take them home and compare them, only to find slight differences and have to start the process all over again.

Eventually we decided to branch out into specialized retailers. We called around and visited local flooring showrooms. While we got closer, we still didn’t have that perfect match. (You would be shocked to learn just how many ways you can cut and stain a piece of wood!) Our last stop was a builder’s supply company. When we started telling the sales person what we were looking for, she completely blew us away with the revelation that she knew our builder and could look up the exact materials used in her records. Jackpot!

Buyer Beware

I was so thrilled to find the perfect match, we sat down right then and there to make the order. The only thing she needed from me was confirmation of the amount. My husband and I went home to measure. A couple of days later she emailed me the order, taking great pains to remind me that if FOR ANY REASON the product did not meet my expectations – too bad. She wanted me to sign off on that. So here I was sitting here looking at this order with the name of our wood floor on it and I thought hmmm… maybe I ought to comparison shop.

Buying Online

When I Googled my floor, a list of online flooring companies popped up. And when I checked the prices, I was pleasantly surprised to find they were significantly lower than at the store. I thought about the risk of ordering a high-ticket item over the Internet, unseen. Then I realized that it was no more risky than ordering from a store that went out of its way to underscore their lack of concern that I would ultimately be satisfied with my purchase. Not to mention I was just going by the clerk’s word that what was written on the order was indeed the flooring already in my house.

The clincher was when the online company sent me a sample piece of flooring. Guess what? It matched perfectly!

The truth is if the local store would have guaranteed my satisfaction, I probably would have paid the extra for that peace of mind. But they didn’t. And while I have to admit I felt a little guilty buying from another vendor after the store had been so helpful, I didn’t feel $500 guilty.

By the way, the product came in as promised, with a smile and under budget. I’m totally satisfied!

Image: jm3, Flickr


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  • archturn profile image

    archturn 8 years ago

    I'm an online merchant for building products and, for me, one of the challenges to making a sale is to help alleviate a customer's natural fears that there will be no recourse if all is not well. People want to see and handle the real thing so, although my products can be purchased online, I often get a call first. They want to make sure there is a real person standing behind the product.

  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Thanks, midnightbliss. I was really excited when I got my product and it was just as promised. The whole process was easy and we save a lot of cash. What more can you ask for?

  • midnightbliss profile image

    Haydee Anderson 9 years ago from Hermosa Beach

    nice hub. doing home improvement project can be overwhelming but it helps a lot to know where to buy our resources.

  • jim10 profile image

    jim10 9 years ago from ma

    That is great. If the store goes out of their way telling you you might not like it and too bad. That just isn't right. I love LL Bean for the opposite reason. A lot of their products cost more. But at any time I'm not satisfied I can return it. My wife had 6 month old slippers that were falling apart but she loved them. I exchanged them since I though we should have been able to get a year out of them, after all they were about $50. I had horrible experiences with Toys R US's new return policy. Can't even exchange things that come defective without a receipt. It was a gift, I didn't get a receipt. I avoid Toys R US like the plague now. I only go when my kids get gift cards and I don't let them buy anything questionable. It is a shame really. I grew up loving Toys R US. I complained all the way up the line and got no where. They just didn't care or want my business.

  • ajcor profile image

    ajcor 9 years ago from NSW. Australia

    Congratulations - you did really well Lela.