Ever since the first English settlements in Jamestown in 1607, entrepreneurs were using their home improvement skills to help build a better life. These specialized skills will always be needed, no matter how they are utilized and / or distributed. From plumbing to window installation, these trade services are practiced within all areas of civilized life.
Up until the end of the late 19th century, most home improvement services were worked by individuals or smaller mom and pop type businesses. Not until stores like Lowe's started popping up in the early 20th century did we start seeing larger entities become highly competitive against the smaller mom and pop type home improvement businesses. The fact of the matter is, these large businesses could provide services for cheaper, but not necessarily better.
So, why do big box chains like Home Depot and Lowe's provide home improvement services? Why don't they just sell improvement goods? Isn't the whole idea behind these large hardware stores to provide goods to do-it-yourselfers? Well, the problem is … more and more consumer do-it-yourselfers are buying their goods online. It saves time and allows the consumer to be more flexible when it comes to getting their job done. These big hardware stores are trying to send a message to these consumers. They want these people to not only buy their products, but also allow them to install it for them at minimal costs. By doing this, it could draw in consumers that need a job done, but can't necessarily afford a mom and pop business. Not realizing, that these stores often do a poor job, because they use, in most cases, inexperienced staff.
The fact of the matter is … mom and pop home improvement businesses are usually family owned and operated. They pass down their many years of experience in their trade to their workers. They often use the best quality products and provide top notch warranties. We're not saying that the big box stores can't provide quality, we're just saying that your chances are better with smaller service providers.
As these larger, big box home improvement companies grow … will they expand and improve their services or will they return to their roots and only sell goods? Chances are, these big businesses will look to improve quality of service and offer a broader range of these services. The three largest stores, Home Depot, Lowe's Companies, and Lumber Liquidators are not going away any time soon. Small mom and pops know that. They also know that they do it better and a majority of the public knows it.
So, before you choose who is going to install your replacement windows, replace your kitchen counter or repair that leaking pipe, do your research. Compare experience, quality of products used, warranties and most important of all … customer service. Who are you going to want inside your home? Someone who has been doing the job their whole life or someone from a big box store with no credentials. The choice is yours and most likely a choice you will have to live with for years to come.