Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 5 seconds
I was talking with my plumber the other day and several cool things jelled when it comes to value. I have known for years that although things look alike they are not. Let’s take anything, cars are a good example. Why is there such a disparity, they all do the same darn thing. Why not buy the least expensive one?
Turns out that folks realized that although they have an engine (in most cases, I drove a Tesla the other day, it had two electric motors) and 4 tires and meet certain requirements, there are so many differences that it is worth exploring some options that make your using the vehicle more enjoyable, safer, last longer, you name it.
How your eyes can trick you
Dave gave me a great example, he was called to replace a 10 year old faucet that he has installed. The clients had selected a big box store faucet made by the same manufacturer and asked that he install it explaining that the open he was supplying was far too expensive. With the old faucet in hand he had the new one opened and said. “Hold the old one in one hand an hold the new one in the other, what do you notice?” It was immediately obvious the the new one was plastic and the old one was metal. They look exactly alike but the new one will only last a few years. then I will be back out to replace it. Do you really save money?
In another example, I found a watts recirculation pump on sale and told him about it. “The Grundfus unit is $75 overpriced” I told him. just in time to have him tell me that “The impeller, (the movable part) in the watts unit are plastic and Grundfus is made of a composite material that works better than metal”. Ah HA it hit me again.
The Big Box Stores have changed the game
The sheer buying power of the big box stores have changed the way the industry works, private labeling has come along and all of a sudden we have a new market for all things price sensitive. I am withholding judgement because there is a time and place for everything. As a remodeler, and in my own life, I am spring loaded to get the good stuff.
This is what you get when you hire a professional remodeler and why a house flipper or in many cases new Spec home builders are spring loaded in the other way. In many ways the problem is exacerbated by homeowners not having access to the good stuff and shopping the internet where you really cannot compare even if you wanted to.
The down and dirty
In doing research for this article, I spoke with the area representative for Delta plumbing parts, and although not in the retail world he is aware that the retail delta faucets are different at the big box stores. Less metal, more plastic, and parts are not necessarily available. Certainly service is not available.
The Moen representative admits that they also produce some items for the big box stores exclusively the example is lavatory faucets, and they substitute metal parts for plastic ones IE: the tail piece however, the basic components are the same.
The bottom line is that I, like most professionals behave as if the homes we are remodeling are our own. Yes I pay a little more but I get professional grade materials and if there is a problem I have the area representatives cell phone number and by golly any problems gets fixed pronto. This has happened repeatedly for years.
It gets down to how you want to operate. I regularly choose materials and products that I can depend on and therefore stand behind. The culture has shifted to a throw away one. Is the new model sustainable? who knows. I know where I stand, where do you?
Can you go too far in the other direction?
Sure you can easily pay as much as you want for high end products, at some point the additional price can have nothing to do with functionality. This is where name brands and style play a huge role. We occasionally see this in our little world, I am not opposed to it at all. Perhaps a topic for another post?
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