Internet Shopping For Your Project – Don’t Do It

The internet is great for buying many things but construction materials is not one of them.  I try to reiterate this to our clients whenever the issue arises.  Some listen and some don’t.  Its always the same old argument “I can save money if I buy it on the internet”.  I usually cringe when I hear that statement.  I will typically turn to my client and ask them to stick a dagger through my heart because I know there will be hell to pay.  During a past renovation project the owner decided to change the interior doors to a specific type of wood door.  I presented a change order for the price difference in the doors and explained that the doors are three times more than what was budgeted.  Here it comes, I can see it in her eyes, the owner said “I can save money if I buy them on the internet”.  I tried, I really tried to talk her out of it, because I knew it would make my life miserable.  She did her internet surfing and of course she found a supplier out west where she could get the wood doors cheaper.   I gave the owner a deductive change order and said “go ahead and order the doors I won’t be responsible for them”.

After waiting six weeks for the doors they finally arrived at the job site in a plywood box.  Upon opening the damaged box, two thirds of the doors were damaged, doors were missing from the order and some of the doors were either the wrong type, swing or size.  At this point in the job we were ready for the door installation so that we could continue with the project finishes.  After numerous calls between the owner and the supplier, it was agreed that replacement doors would be shipped out as soon as possible.  The owner developed a comprehensive list of the damaged and incorrect doors and faxed it to the supplier.  After many weeks and heated discussions with the supplier and credit card company, a second shipment was sent.  Wouldn’t you know it, some of the doors were damaged and again incorrect.  At this point we decided we couldn’t wait any longer for the replacement doors.  We installed what doors we could so that we could finish the job.  When we started to install the doors we noticed that the jambs were haphazardly put together and the hinges were put on with drywall screws.  Remember the statement “I can get it cheaper on the internet”?  Now the owner knew why the doors she really wanted were three time more expensive.  This is why when we are the builder we buy from local reputable suppliers.  If there is a problem with the materials, we either return it or they pick it up and replace it, no questions asked.  To this day, doors are still missing in the renovation, but we did our job and completed the project.  Just so you know the long delays and poor quality were attributed to the fact that the doors were being shipped from China.  Buy from your local suppliers, support businesses in your community.   Just remember you can always buy it cheaper on the internet, but you’ll always get a surprise with your order.