BY ROBERT BROOME, OWNER
If you’ve ever found yourself on the garage door isle of a Lowe’s Home Improvement store then you’ve most likely seen the brand Reliabilt Garage Doors. Since you’ve never seen the band anywhere else it might lead you to believe that Lowe’s has used their buying power to offer their customers an exclusive product. That’s not the case.
Lowe’s has partnered with Amarr Garage Doors and private labeled their doors as Reliabilt. These garage doors are of great quality and Amarr stands behind their products. These doors are manufactured in the US, offer great warranties, and have a nice varieties of styles and colors. What advantage does a customer have by buying doors at Lowe’s instead of buying from a local business that specializes in garage doors and garage door openers? I’ll do my best to cover the pros and cons below.
When it comes to garage doors, getting a quote online or site unseen quote is a major mistake. Garage door track comes in many varieties and configurations, and ordering a door with out a professional looking over the application is a major mistake. At our garage door company, we hear horror stories about customers getting stuck with doors that are pretty much useless because the wrong information was passed on when ordering their new door. At Lowe’s, the store clerks will be happy to generate you a standard quote based on information that you provide. Once you decide that you want to deal with Lowe’s, they will send out one of their subcontractors to measure the job and confirm the information that you provided. The catch is that I’ve been told by many customers that this service is not free. I assume that Lowe’s charges for this because they have to pay a subcontractor to do the site visit. Other than Lowe’s, I’ve never heard of a company that charged a customer to do a site visit for an opportunity to earn their business on a new install.
This post will be read by those all over the US. While I can’t speak for every garage door dealer in the country, I can certainly speak about our company, and many other dealers in the Amarr network. Frankly, from a price perspective, I have never lost a bid against Lowe’s on a new garage door. At the store level, they sell very simple single car garage doors at a decent price. However, when a customer is looking for doors that are more highline or non-standard a local dealer will generally save you some coin. The other reason why customers might not get the best deal at Lowe’s is due to the fact that Lowe’s only carries doors built by a single manufacturer. For instance, when it comes to high R-Value energy efficient garage doors, Reliabilt is not the way to go. Manufacturers like Haas Door Company sell high R-Value garage doors with nearly twice the energy efficiency and triple layer construction for the price of a lower end Reliabilt garage door with a vinyl backing. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I sell a lot of Amarr doors. In the correct application, they do a superb job. The In my opinion, the Classica is Amarr’s finest garage door. It’s actually one of the best all around steel garage door on the market. It is, however, one of the most expensive steel doors on the market, and many of our customers don’t have the budget for these doors in their projects. That’s why we have a diverse selection of product lines. Many of us are not in the business of pushing an Amarr garage door on everyone that calls our offices just because I’m a dealer. The truth is that any garage door seller that only carries one brand is doing so to appease their manufacturers rep and may not be focused on their customers.
All doors aside, when a customer is concerned about service it is always best to buy from a local door dealership. At Lowe’s, the company does not employ garage door installers. The company uses outside subcontractors to complete their site visits and installations. While many of these installers are top notch, I have known quite a few that were very under trained. I’ve also noticed while speaking to staff at the store level that many of them know almost nothing about garage doors. This does not give me confidence that I would achieve a smooth transaction if I were a customer. Yes, they can produce you a quote based on size, but buying a garage door is a much more in depth process. Simple mistakes can cause a customer hundred of dollars and weeks waiting around for correct parts to arrive.
In Short, it’s always my practice to buy from local companies. Small businesses create jobs, and the profits stay in the community. I’ve always had the best experiences with businesses that I can build a relationship with. If I ever have an issue, it’s simple enough to get the owner of the company on the phone to offer my feedback. Try that at Lowe’s or Home Depot! lol
As is pretty obvious, all local dealers are not great businesses. Angie’s List is probably the best resource to find great contractors. All of their reviews are from real customers, and you can read about their personal experiences with any company that has been vetted and listed in their directory. I hope that the information here is useful in some way. If not, leave a comment below, and let me know. Thanks for stopping by.