FREE Things at Home Depot And More
Free Things in Every Aisle
About the TOP FIVE
I am always amazed how far and to what length large big box home improvement centers go to create loyal customers or how they calculate winning drawing cards. Home Depot, in particular, has a stated commitment to become the world’s best customer service retailer and is definitely striving to hit the mark. Offering free things is part of their marketing approach.
Each store is given certain lateral freedoms to execute corporate directives regarding free things. How well the management teams of each store perform varies and their success becomes evident by the result of their efforts to pull you in as a customer. Some stores use this marketing tool very effectively, and some, do not. The true measure, in the end, is the loyalty of the customer themselves.
This top five list certainly does not capture all of the free things…to date, I have identified over 300 and narrowed it down based on customer interviews, direct phone calls to stores, and, of course, personally testing them out.
Each of the top five topics also includes a simple interactive poll to give you an opportunity to rate the free item or service and compare your response to the opinion or experience of others. Feel free to add comments, identify the store location, and perhaps suggest an alternative top five list.
1. FREE coffee, hot chocolate, tea…..and food…
Every Home Depot that I have found offers free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and in some stores, even more. It can be found close the Pro Desk. Some do it better than others. Depending on the store, it is the first stop for many contractors and home owners alike.
Free food? Yes, especially during promotional events and holidays. Over the years I have been served hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, subs, hot buttered popcorn, pizza, drinks, and more.
The best food comes during contractor events and you can easily find those dates by going to the website, click on the pro-site tab…they announce upcoming times.
Events that promote specific seasonal change merchandise, such as grills events and holidays like 4th of July also are prime “eat and shop” days.
Hot Buttered Popcorn
To date, I've had coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bottled water, popcorn, pizza, subs, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, candy, wraps, and soda. My favorite is the Hot Buttered Popcorn.
To Drink or Not to Drink
Your Opinion about Home Depot Coffee
2. FREE cutting services…while you wait
While some Home Depots offer most of the cutting and other services below, some are limited by their size and skill level of their associates. The stores I frequent do most of these:
- plywood cutting
- dimensional lumber cutting
- drywall cutting
- shelf cutting wood
- shelf cutting metal
- wire cutting
- chain cutting
- rope cutting
- carpet cutting
- linoleum cutting
- trim cutting
- rigid insulation cutting
- hose cutting
- pipe cutting
- pipe threading
- tree cutting
- metal spouting cutting
- siding cutting
- window blind cutting
- re-keying of locks
It is always a good idea to call ahead to make sure that the store you intend to use can do the cutting you need. In comparison, I called Lowes and asked about doing each of the above task—they only were willing to do about half the items, although they do still cut glass to size—Home Depot does not.
To Cut or Not to Cut
Have you ever used Home Depot cutting services?
How to get Home Depot to do it right!
For an in depth how to article about using just one of Home Depot's many services, check out this article: Home Depot Plywood Cutting--Right the first time!
Good Plans Need Good Designs
Design my Idea
Have you ever used Home Depot's Design Services?
3. FREE design services…free quotes…no pressure
Providing there is a qualified and certified designer on duty, the design service provided by Home Depot are pretty top notch. For example, if you want a deck design done, simply show up with approximate dimensions. The design software they use not only will provide you with a design but also a complete print out with list of materials, blue prints, specifications (important when you need to get a building permit), but also an optimized cut list. They also design in 3D and will import a photograph of your house to give you a preview. You can change anything you want…each time, they will give you an updated quote, material list, and also a new set of blueprints.
Other free design and quote services Home Depot provides:
- custom deck designs
- custom window and door design
- custom fence designs
- custom kitchen and bath designs
- custom shed designs
- custom pole building and garage designs
Where to Go
For custom deck, window, fence, shed, or buildings, go to the Pro Desk or Millwork Desk. For custom Kitchen and Bath designs, visit the Kitchen Design Center.
4. FREE Education and fun…
Home Depot excels in certain areas when it comes to offering community based how-to clinics, demonstrations, workshops, and interactive experiences. Perhaps, the most recognizable of which, is their Kid’s Workshop events.
- Kids’ Workshops by the Home Depot happen on the first Saturday morning of every month. Kids get to build craft type projects. Everything is supplied at no charge including the project, the tools and supplies needed to make it, help from associates, and best of all—each kid also gets a kid sized apron to wear and take along home. The average attendance in an average store is about 35 kids. The largest I ever saw in one particular store was well over 100.
- Do it Herself Workshops are “hands-on” events geared for women of all ages with projects and seminars ranging from simple crafts to more elaborate projects like building Adirondack Chairs. They also cover projects like how to repair lamps, replace door knobs, and other general repair techniques.
- Clinics and Seminars happen weekly with the main focus being on the weekends. Some are advertised, some are on the spur of the moment. To keep abreast of current offerings, check the Home Depot Website, call for local store updates, or stop at the service desk. Most Service Desk set-ups include a posting of clinics and workshops being held throughout the current month.
Over the years, a few of some clinics offered:
How to repair concrete
How to install a toilet
How to build a fence
How to build a deck
How to wire a receptacle
How to lay a tile floor
How to install a backsplash
How to install crown molding
And, the list goes on…and on…
kid's Workshops are held the 1st Saturday each month.(call first)
Do-it-herself workshops are held 3rd Thursday of each month.
Check with your local store for times and dates of other clinics and workshops.
Fix It, Build It, Do it
Have you ever attended a Home Depot Clinic?
If Home Depot doesn't have the clinic you want, talk to the manager...they will be more than eager to get one started.
5. FREE Samples, brochures, and tear sheets
While this may seem like a “given”, most people don’t realize the extent of which product samples are available. The key here is to ask…not all samples are in the general view. In fact, many of samples don’t even exist until you ask for them. The more experienced sales associates will go out of their way to get you the information about particular products you request. I once wanted a composite deck sample to compare to my siding…not just a brochure with different colors…to my surprise, a lumber associate went to the rack, pulled off a piece, and cut me a large piece. I ended up buying my whole deck from them simply because of this.
Walking through the store, as you start looking specifically for product information you will find a wealth all over the place. The best place to find brochures and catalogs are primarily at the Pro Desk, the Millwork Desk, and the Kitchen and Bath design Center.
Not so obvious sometimes are what is known as “Tear Sheets”. They are usually made available by vendors and are attached on a beam or shelf close to the product they represent. Tear sheets are a great way to gain an overview of a particular product or will give specific installation instructions. One of my favorites is found in the insulation aisle—it is a long note pad that looks like a measuring stick. You take it home to measure your attic insulation…the chart on it shows you in turn, how much insulation you need to increase efficiency.
Do you take advantage of free samples?
Free is a good thing!
Obviously, with 100's of free things available at Home Depot, its hard to make the perfect Top Five...Let me know what you think...I will be happy to add to the list!