Who Buys the Materials?
You live in Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Irvine, or some other South Orange County community and you have decided to remodel. Who Buys the Materials? Should you do it or let your contractor? Can you actually save money buying your own toilet, cabinets, tile, bathtub, fixtures, paint, etc.?
I have been remodeling and renovating homes for over 45 years. I started before there was an internet, giant home improvement stores, or cell phones with an App for everything. Bottom line up front: Let your contractor purchase and install all the materials.
It would be incredible rare and most unusual for anyone who is not an experienced and licensed contractor with decades of experience who can purchase and install materials safely, correctly, and to all applicable building codes for less. A contractor’s number 1 priority is to ensure your job is performed correctly and to high standards, so you and your family are safe and comfortable knowing they did their absolute best for you. A contractor with integrity and passion will always focus on you and your family, not their bank account. Yes, this level of integrity is highly unusual and even harder to recognize today, but there are still a few contractors out there that believe and live this highly important value and will never do anything less at any price – Like DAD’s!.
Who Buys the Materials? Let’s take a closure look at the contractor purchasing the materials by considering a toilet. Why a toilet? Well, why not? We all use the toilet multiple times every day. I think it’s safe to assume it’s a super important part of our bathroom! A contractor will likely buy hundreds or even thousands of toilets over a career. You, the customer might buy 1 or 2 over several decades. Who do you think gets better pricing? The person who purchases 1 toilet every 20 years or the contractor who buys hundreds of toilets over the same period?
A toilet itself is only part of the equation. There is also the correct bolt kit, wax seal, shims, caulk, angle stop, water line, ancillary water connector parts, and tools used to properly install the toilet. Installing a new toilet involves more than just taking it out of the box and installing it. The wrong parts can destroy the toilet, seriously damage the home, cause personal injury, and significantly delay the job.
I’ve personally seen too many cases in my 45 years where the wrong toilet and/or improper installation caused very expensive damage to the home. There is more to it than a YouTube video illustrates. Knowledge and experience to do anything comes from years of practice and proper training from experienced teachers. I do not know of any construction trade that can be learned in a few hours or over a weekend. It’s a lot harder than it looks on the surface or in a video.
True, anyone can purchase and install a toilet, paint, window, cabinet, faucet, etc. But not everyone knows how to correctly install these items. This is precisely why the State of California has rigorous experience and testing requirements before it will license construction trades. This is also why there are so many handymen compared to properly licensed and insured construction trades. Getting a license from the State of California for a construction trade is difficult, time consuming, and requires years of training, proven hands-on experience, and focused dedication. This does not always mean someone who is licensed is qualified. An Electrician is not qualified to remodel a bathroom nor is a Plumber. If you are interested in the basics, please visit the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB).
A toilet is not a toilet. California has very strict requirements for water conservation and safety. In many cases, that toilet you purchased on the internet or at a large home improvement store is not code compliant and will not be accepted by the Building Official. Your contractor knows what is correct and that is what he will purchase for your home. It is absolutely not true that if it’s purchased in or for use in California that it must be correct and OK to install. Think for a moment – have you ever purchased something from the internet or from a discount store only to realize when you get it home it’s not what you had hoped for, not right, or simply does not last or perform as expected? Part of every contractor’s job and the reason for hiring them is to make sure you get the right materials! So, who buys the materials? Let your Contractor buy the materials!
Once again, a toilet is not a toilet. Try this: Look on the Kohler® web site for a Kohler® Wellworth® Classic White Elongated Toilet. As of today, more than 40 options pop up for this model! Which one is right for you and California? Now, go to the web site of a home improvement store and do the same thing. There are lots of Wellworth® toilets to choose from and the model numbers do not match what you see on the Kohler® web site. Why? They are not the same toilet. You are not going to purchase the exact same $300 Kohler® Wellworth® toilet that you saw on the Kohler® web site from the home improvement store or some internet retailer for $125. They are different. In some cases, vastly different. That $125 home improvement store model might be the most expensive by a wide margin . . . and it might not even be a Kohler toilet at all!
When you are asking “Who Buys the Materials?”, don’t forget the reason you hired your General Contractor. You hired him for his decades of knowledge and experience. You don’t know with a high degree of confidence what toilet is right for you and how to properly install. It’s not because you are incompetent. It’s because construction is not your area of expertise! You can research brain surgery all day long on the internet and watch YouTube videos on how it’s done. But seriously, does this make you a brain surgeon where you can now do your own in-home brain surgery to save a few dollars? The philosophy is the same for working on your car, house, or anything else.
We all have our strengths. The internet and home improvement stores make us think we can do anything. We can’t. I watched a YouTube video on how to sail a boat – but I’m not about to rent a boat and sail to Catalina Island because I now think I’m an expert at sailing!
At this point, you might be thinking “wow, I had no idea how much thought, research, and knowledge goes into making sure I get the right toilet”. You may also be thinking “if this much work goes into a toilet, I can only imagine how much effort goes into a full bathroom remodel!”. Let me help answer that – A LOT!
Let’s take a few moments and look into the notion that contractors want to “purchase the materials and bump up the prices”. To answer this, one needs to understand how a successful and lasting business works. All businesses, including consumers, have something called overhead. Whoever gets the toilet, will need to have the proper knowledge and then drive to the store and buy it. Both the contractor and customer will spend money on gas, wear and tear on their tires, breaks, and buy car insurance (remember, insurance is calculated on miles driven). Moreover, there is the time to physically go and purchase the toilet, load it into the vehicle, and get it back to the job site. OK, so, other things equal, let’s say each spends the same amount of time and money getting the toilet. What’s the difference?
First, the contractor is going to have the relationships with the best local suppliers to get you the best priced and quality toilet for your needs. Second, the contractor will know exactly what additional parts are needed (including the right toilet seat). Third, the contractor has the right vehicle to safely and securely get the toilet to your home. Forth, toilets are heavy, the contractor knows how to properly move these, so they do not break or get damaged. Fifth, if it’s damaged or does not work properly, the contractor takes care of this. Moreover, because he buys so many, he receives immediate service from his suppliers for expeditious replacement. Perhaps, best of all, the contractor does all of this while you are busy living your life (kids, work, gym, vacation, sports, doctors, etc.). Because your contractor has decades of experience doing this, it’s going to get done faster, with better results, better pricing, and there is no finger pointing or he-said-she-said. The best contractors, such as DAD’s, does it all so its efficient, high quality, and better priced.
The blame games. What’s this you ask? It’s when the customer buys the toilet, sink, faucet, window, door, whatever and once installed, it does not work properly, or fail’s and causes injury or damage to the customer and/or their home. Who is responsible if the contractor simply installed the customer purchased toilet and it leaked overnight causing thousands of dollars in damage to your home? Typically, whoever buys the product is responsible. Why would you hire a fully licensed and insured contractor only to assume all of the risk? That’s akin to buying car insurance, getting into an accident, and then paying all of the claims out of your own pocket. What was the point in having car insurance if you were going to assume all the liability? That’s a huge waste of money.
I hope this information is helpful when asking the question “Who Buys the Materials?”
If you would like more information on “Who Buys the Materials?” or on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience, call DAD at (949) 380-0177 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free in home consultation (DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California including Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo).