Top 5: Reasons to Buy From a Garage Door Dealer vs. Big Box Store.
Alrighty - so when my husband and I started building our house last year we were overwhelmed with the amount of decisions we had to make. For most people this might be super exciting to pick out "new" things, but for me it turned into a never ending fear of potentially picking out the wrong product and having to live with it for the next 30+ years. For any of you going through this process right now - don't worry - you got this - and hopefully you can learn from our mistakes. Doing your research on what products to buy, searching through hundreds of product reviews, analyzing the quality vs. cost, and then figuring out what company you actually want to do the work is mind blowing. The best decision that I believe we made (although we weren't able to avoid it completely) was to buy as little as possible from the box stores. I was surprised to learn that the box stores actually have different part numbers so that they look exactly the same on the outside as the professional grade products, but they're not. I should've known this given our own industry of work, but was a bit naive in thinking it went further beyond garage doors. Moral of the story is that the reason the big box stores can sell it cheaper is because it's a cheaper product. But let me expand on the five reasons to buy from a garage door dealer over a big box store:
When you buy anything from a box store, whether that be a garage door opener or a garage door, you’re only going to get the manufacturer warranty. If product is bought from a door dealer they’re going to warranty their workmanship as well as the manufacturer warranty. Not only that, but this makes future repairs much easier because the technician should have the necessary parts and pieces available on the service truck vs. the owner having to contact the manufacturer themselves to obtain the correct part model. Also, depending on how the homeowner installs the box store product, it could potentially void the manufacturer warranty (aren't warranties fun?): “The proper operation of this product is dependent on your compliance with the instructions regarding installation, operation, and maintenance and testing”. It might be cheaper in the short run, but in the long run it could cost you twice as much.
2. Better Quality
Big box stores actually resell name brands with different parts and hardware. This is one of the main reasons you may find it cheaper and hard to price match because as much as product looks to be the same, it’s not. For example, if you buy a garage door from a box store and you’re researching manufacturers (ex. Clopay, IDEAL, etc.) all the hardware is lower gauge, less sturdy (almost like sheet metal quality), whereas a dealer is going to provide professional grade, heavy hardware for the install of the same brand. Heavy duty hardware is not going to give way, and in turn could prevent future repairs. We have seen rollers run up the tracks crooked because of box store hinges not holding up, or cracking completely which could damage your whole door. By the time you upgrade all the hardware you’re going to be at a higher price than what the door dealer can get you. The same thing goes for garage door openers. You can buy Chamberlain at the big box stores, but the garage door rail is going to be different and is a huge part of the door functionality. The box store is going to sell you a three piece rail vs. a one piece rail from a dealer. So what’s the difference? A three piece rail is going to flex more, and not stay as rigid, which in turn puts more strain on your door which could cause future issues. The reason they're selling a less sturdy rail is because it’s more efficient for the box store to package and ship (understandably). I think it's important to just be aware of the fact that we're not talking apples to apples when it comes to product.
Ever get to the end of your online cart, go to checkout, and you have an additional $200 in tax? Maybe even shipping? A door dealer has the tax already built in, which maybe you're not including in your big box store price/cost analysis, and they're going to deliver it to you as well. Garage door companies come to you. And if it's a custom order garage door they're going to go out and measure, and make sure no mistakes are made before an order is placed on their end.
4. Removal & Disposal
Is the box store going to take down your old opener or garage door and find a way to get rid of it for you? Let’s be honest, the trash that comes with the garage door industry is ridiculous. If I could figure out a way to lessen all the cardboard, styrofoam, and plastic, I would. Not to mention when tearing out an old garage door you most likely will need a trailer handy to bring it to either the scrap yard or a dumpster. A garage door dealer is going to take that burden away from you so you don’t have to worry about it.
5. Support Local
Many of us say and think this, but seriously, it really makes a difference. Supporting your local businesses over large franchises helps your whole community. When you shop local, a large percentage of the money spent is pumped back into the local economy, and helps with schools, the community, jobs and wages, and other entrepreneurs who want to develop their products and services. Not only that, but if I can speak for all small businesses here, the support from locals means more than you'll ever know.