Home Improvement Stores Can Help You Complete Projects in Various Ways

If you have a few projects that need to be done around the house, you might be wondering where to start. Fortunately, most communities have at least one home improvement store nearby, and this kind of place can be of more assistance than you might assume. Find out what your local shop probably offers, and how it can assist you in completing the work you need done.

One of the most obvious ways that home improvement stores can help is by offering the products you need. You can head to one of these shops to get ceiling fans, paint, and custom made blinds, which most people need when they are either moving into a new house or renovating their existing one. However, you can also get supplies for major projects, such as lumber, nails, and material for filling in drywall. If you are adding on to your house, or knocking down existing walls, this kind of shop is the place to go to get raw materials.

It might be obvious that most home improvement stores sell products to assist with different kinds of projects. However, you might not be aware that many also rent equipment out. This includes trucks to help you move heavy or large items, as well as products like carpet cleaners that you only need to use occasionally. This kind of service can save you money, as well as prevent you from having to store large items at your house that you will rarely use.

Another helpful tool that most home improvement stores offer is advice from the experts. You can usually ask employees about certain projects you are working on, and you should be able to get tips on how to start, and which materials would work best. You can also often find assistance on their website, as many offer articles and videos to help you do things yourself. Take advantage of this free assistance before you start any new projects.

It is clear that most home improvement stores can assist homeowners in various ways. You just have to know where to look for help before you start a new task to improve your property. Whether you are trying to complete a minor task around the house like starting a small backyard garden, or trying something more major, such as adding on to the structure, you should look to local stores for some assistance first. You will probably be surprised at the help you will receive.

Big Box Home Improvement Store Scorecard

A comprehensive study of 2000 consumers who shopped and made purchases from Home Depot, Lowes and Menards Big Box stores in 2006 has just been completed by Minneapolis, Minnesota based building materials research firm Market Resource Associates, Inc. (MRA)

Consumer respondents had to shop in at least 2 of the chains to qualify for participation and were not paid anything for their cooperation. The out-bound telephone protocol was administered to 56 markets within the 48 contiguous United States between July and October of 2006. The markets and resulting quotas were selected based upon housing activity in 2005. Further, the results of this latest study were compared to results from the same study undertaken two years ago.

In the 122 page comprehensive report, the 3 competitors are rated on 29 different product categories to determine which types of consumers shop for which types of materials at which chains. The 3 chains are also rated against 11 very specific attitudinal criteria. These criteria include but are not limited to:

,,« The store is the absolute best value for my money

,,« The store is the place I get the most useful help when I need it

,,« The store values me as a customer

Also studied was¡K which chains do consumers enter and in which do they actually purchase? In this regard, Home Depot has slipped; Lowes and Menards have improved over the previous study. In fact, Menards is the highest rated chain for the entered / actually purchased category. When consumers go to Menards, they know and find what they want. Slippage can be caused by consumers not finding the items they were looking for, as well as not being able to find assistance from store associates, among other reasons.

As lumber and related items tend to define the Big Box home improvement chain, a loss was noted at all chains in the number of lumber purchasers from the 2004 to the 2006 studies. Home Depot had the largest decline, followed by Menards and then Lowes.

In another category noted for larger projects ¡V rough electrical ¡V Home Depot lost over 40% of its previous purchasers, to Lowes losing 23% and Menards experiencing no change.

One must ask if consumers are becoming less involved in larger projects where these two product types would play a heavy role, or are they seeking other venues for their purchasing? Generally, as the housing market declines, which is true of many areas studied, larger Do-It-Yourself projects flourish as homeowners tend to add on or fix up their existing homes. This is not seen as the case from the data presented.

How to Effectively Use a Home Improvement Store

There are far too many people out there that are afraid to ask for help when they are purchasing materials that they have never bought before. This is why home improvement stores can be a great way to get all the information you need whether you choose to purchase from there or not. When the home improvement store employee comes up to you and asks if you need any help make sure to leverage their expertise. After all, they see hundreds of customers every day that have the same questions that you do.

When you are looking for specific design advice or when you want to learn how to use the materials to do it yourself, make sure to ask an employee that looks experienced. In general, the older the employee the more likely you are to get a thorough response. Unfortunately, that teenage working at the cash register has probably never owned a house so you want to try and find an employee that has actual home improvement experience. Gray hair in this case is actually a very good thing.

Home improvement stores want you to buy their products so they often offer free do it yourself classes on weeknights. They will teach you things like tiling and putting in hardwood floors. Sometimes they even offer classes to teach you how to properly paint a wall.

You also need to keep in mind the layout of the store. There are so many cases in a home improvement store where you will need something small that would be in an aisle you would never have thought of. The employees are there to help so make sure that you use their services.

If you are doing something for the first time, do not just go in and pick up the materials assuming that you know what you are doing. Store employees are specialists and they will have the advice you need. If they are not able to answer the question, ask them who can answer your question. Likely there is someone in the store who has been around for a while that will give you the information that you are looking for.