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Working as a Lowes installer

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  • Working as a Lowes installer

    I was at lowes and they were advertising the need for installers of various products. As many of you know I am starting my own business and was wanting some in put from anyone who has ever been or thought about being an installer for lowes. Tell me the pros or cons of doing this and if you would recommend it. Since I am just getting started I see it as work, until I get my name out. Thanks
    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a cannot be done.
    If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run.
    And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.
    There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell for a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only, are this man's lawful prey
    JOHN RUSKIN (1819-1900)

  • #2
    Re: Working as a Lowes installer

    Ash: Don't know too much bout Lowes = only a few of em here in Southern CA... I can give you just a few pointers on my 2 years expereince with THD back in the early 90's = some of the best and worst stories of my 25 sumthin years in the door/carp trade were during those 24 months = I warn ANYONE who wants to get into the Big Box Install deal to talk personally with many of the Subcontractor Owners who work that box... and get em to tell you the truth off the store grounds.

    From my experience, you will find severals facts:

    1. The store will lie to any and every customer about what you can/cannot do, or will/will not do... perhaps not with malice, but I dealt with those lies over&over&over&over... could not stand the anger from the Cust who was told a fancy story and then I get to the home and then they find out and then all hell breaks loose...

    2. The customer is always right. At least to the boss doofus at the store... bust your ass - do everything conceivable right - show up right on time and do everything possible: you will get 5's for tips the same day as you get another Cust who wants you arrested for criminal conduct.

    3. Charge-backs = the Cust didn't like something you did or did not do, or the way you treated them, or the poor made-in-china quality of the products: they'll complain and the store will not pay you. See rule #2.

    4. You are no longer in control of "the deal". You are at the control of the deal the store makes and the deal the customer thinks they have made with the store. You are now an "installer" and no longer the professional you may think you are or want to be.

    Best advice for your area = go talk to the Dept head of the "products" you want to install and ask that person for names/numbers of references of their Install Contractors and talk to them. If they're reluctant and scared or offended or stoopid or otherwise, at least you'll hear that from people who work the area you are in.

    And when I say "get references", I mean it. Your cust's will likely want ref's from you, and you want the same of people yer going to trust your livelihood to.

    Best regards!!

    T Moore
    Active Door


    • #3
      Re: Working as a Lowes installer

      A Lowe’s installer told me that Lowe’s and HD take 40% of the price they set for the installations.
      Any extra charges that the installer pulls out of the job are his. That’s what I was told.

      They give you lots of work and you will need helpers to be able to handle all that work.

      You will be required to be bonded and insured big time to cover their butt more than yours.

      For what I heard being an installer for any of those two places is not for someone starting out but for someone well established who knows how to run a business.

      In a good sense you will become an employee of Lowe’s. The will call the shots not you.

      That’s all I’ve heard about them.

      Being an installer for any of those places sounds to me like a deal full of frustrations.
      Good luck.


      • #4
        Re: Working as a Lowes installer

        Check with other installers. My experience has been they will pay such a small amount that you will be under paid or doing sub-standard work b/c your in a hurry. I have been approached numerous times at Lowes to be an installer, you get a fixed price site unseen. They will tell customers, sure a door install will bee $250, you get there and realize there are many issues changing your simple install to a project and you'll have go back to Lowes to get more money.

        Having said that I have had many former Lowes clients calling me to repair/redo the work. THe best example is I was installing a floor in a duplex; Lowes was installing next door. THe nieghbors were friends and long story short, after my flooring job I was next door repairing the floor and signing a 5K contract for other work. The lady had a horrible exp. I know this is only regarding one store but that is my 2c.

        I am just starting out in a new town and I know it is tough, I would hold out and try other options b4 committing to Lowes - they will fill up your schedule but you'll be working for them.

        Good LuCk
        “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
        Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)


        • #5
          Re: Working as a Lowes installer

          I worked for a HD installer for about two years in 1996-97. I remember he had alot of problems with scheduling and damaged products. In that time, HD had their own measuring guys. They would go out and measure what needed to be done and when we got to the job things would not fit or they simply would not have been delivered even though we checked at the store and they said everything was all set. He would get a ton of work orders sent by fax, probably 10 per day, and couldn't keep up and was always stressed. He tells HD to slow down the orders but they don't. He is, however, still doing the same thing. He now has six guys working for him and apparently the system has changed considerably for the better. He has to do all his own measurements. He will do a weekly pick up of his installs using a trailer and will then transfer the goods to his warehouse (three bay garage) for the installs for the next week. He says he installs around 90 doors a week. He likes it and makes plenty of cash but he is the type of person who can take on any kind of stress that comes his way. So like another post said, you should talk with other contractors working for the Big Blue and see what they say. The problem I have with it is that you are still working for somone else. Good Luck.

          Aaron Keathley
          Keathley Building & Remodeling


          • #6
            Re: Working as a Lowes installer

            If you do a search on this site, not just the finish forum, you will find some great reading material. I, for one, won't type it again, nor will I ever work for Lowe's again.

            I think Tom said it pretty well!
            Take Care



            • #7
              Re: Working as a Lowes installer

              I worked as an installer for Lowes for part of last year. I'm sure that your experience will depend on the installed sales manager at the store you work out of. My experience was not good.

              Al brought up a few points, but most of them are incorrect. The price is set by the store, but the percentage that you get varies by product. You can charge the store for extras, but I don't know (or care) if they collected it from the customer. They provide lumber, caulk, shims, insulation, etc. when needed.

              My problems came from the organization and reliability of the installed sales manager. The store went through 3 of them in the 8 months I installed for them. You are supposed to let them know ahead of time what you have scheduled when and they are supposed to have materials ready for you when you get there in the morning. Many times I would have to arrive at the store at 6:30 to make it to an appointement at 8:00. It would take 25-30 minutes to find the installed sales manager, 30 minutes to pull the materials, and 30 to find a manager to sign off on things.

              To make decent money I would have to work a 12 hour day which got old really fast. I never had a customer mad at me for the work I did. Many times however they were mad at Lowes for sending out the wrong door etc and I had to be the referee. The store I worked at didn't pre measure unless the door was bigger than 36", so that created problems when the customer measured wrong. If you do a good job and clean up after yourself there is no reason for anyone to be upset.

              By the time I told them to stick it, they were revamping the installed sales system they had. They asked me to come back several times, but it just wasn't worth the money they paid. I got to the point that I could install 4 storm doors in a 10 hr day easily, if everything went right. But it never went right. There was always something that needed to be corrected before I could start.

              I was asked several times to install a normal storm door on a mobile home. If you know anything about mobile homes, you know it won't work, but that didn't stop them from selling the door and installation to the customer.

              Having said all that, I am glad that I had the experience. I think it is a good way for someone to start out. You have got a steady stream of work, without any marketing. I learned alot about running a business and customer service. I was able to get leads for a few other small jobs, but not what I was hoping. Most of the customers are shopping on price (they wouldn't have bought an installation at Lowes if they weren't), so they often thought my prices were too high for other work.

              They just opened a new HD here in town. I was contacted to install for them. They asked me to submit a price list to them. Based on my experience with Lowes, I doubled or tripled Lowes installed price and sent them my list. Its been three weeks and I haven't heard back. I wonder why???

              You are welcome to contact me privately if you have any more questions.



              • #8
                Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                I know myself and most of the guys on this board try to separate our services from the likes of a big box installer. I can't tell you how many storm doors I've fixed that were originally installed by big box installers in a hurry. To me, anyone customer that walks into a HD or Lowes and WANTS them to install a product is definitely NOT the customer I'd want because they are shopping on price alone and they have NO clue about quality or what's technically correct.

                Remember, YOUR truck will be in the driveway with YOUR name on it when you are forced to do a day's work for $75. In order to protect your own reputation, you'll be forced to eat a lot of expenses and time you will never get paid for.

                If you are desperate for work, it might be a solution, but trust me, there are a ton of other ways to make money and not have to deal with those dopes (on both sides).
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                • #9
                  Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                  I assume by now you've dropped the idea, but I'll add my thoughts. As I've mentioned on other posts, I hate Home Despot (BLowe's isn't here yet, but they're about to open). I think they are terrible for the trades, lousy for the communities they are in, and that the people who work there are generally poorly trained and don't know enough about the products they sell. Support your local yard - we'll all be in big trouble when they disappear.

                  As others have said, if you install for them, any leads you generate for yourself will be, by definition, poor-quality customers. And you probably won't generate many leads, anyway - the customer will remember Lowe's, not Ash construction.

                  If you want to do installations, I'd contact the closest Pella, Marvin, etc. showroom, and ask about subbing from them. They will have better customers, who will expect good quality work and products and are willing to pay for it. And probably are more likely to be remodeling their kitchen, building an addition etc. then the Lowes' ones.

                  And again, talk to your local yard. My salesman has gotten me (and other contractors) many jobs - several times he has filled last minute holes in my schedule because someone calls the yard, asks about a product, and asks for a referral. Much better all around - the lumberyard gets the business, you get a referral that is all yours, and the money stays in your town.


                  • #10
                    Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                    There seems to be a Southern business ethic (or lack of business ethics) that believes in John Edwards' (a Southerner's) "Two Americas", the money flows to the top, and screw the people who do the work, this ethic dates from slavery days, and they just can't seem to understand that we fought a war over this issue, people should not be enslaved, and making people work for slave wages is de facto slavery. Wal Mart and Tyson are Arkansas, Home Depot is Florida, Lowes is Virginia, Southwest Airlines and Enron are Texas, I could go on and on about the way Southern business are trying to "Bubba-ize" the rest of the country.
                    Posted on Sat, Apr. 23, 2005

                    The South going to experience tough growing pains

                    By Kathleen Parker


                    CAMDEN, S.C.

                    TIDINGS OF new growth coming one's way invariably are presented as good news. Just as invariably, I sink into immediate despair.

                    I know I'm supposed to be happy as politicians reiterate the positives: the boost to local economies, an expanding tax base, jobs. But as a native Floridian, I've traveled this freshly paved path before and know where it leads.

                    Put it this way: Where once there were oceans of orange groves stretching to the horizons, today there are salt flats of trailer parks and RV "resorts."

                    Now I read the terrific news that the South's population is about to explode.

                    "Look out, y'all!" begins a Cox News story. In 25 years, nearly four in 10 Americans will live in the South. That's 40 percent, folks, or nearly half of all Americans coming to a cul-de-sac near you.

                    These projections come from a new Census Bureau report that predicts the South's population will reach about 143 million by 2030, compared with just 92 million for the West, 70 million for the Midwest and 58 million for the Northeast.

                    The South is defined as Georgia, Florida, Texas, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

                    This population-shift projection has spawned a cottage industry of other prognostications -- what it means for the culture, for politics, for literature. For the SEC?

                    We hear, for example, that such growth will be good for the Republican Party, which these days has a lock on the South.

                    With more people come more congressional seats and presidential electoral votes, concentrating the red states and diffusing the blue.

                    For Democrats, that will mean embracing all that's Southern if they've any hope of capturing national office.

                    Watch for an explosion of Faux Bubbas, as cartoonist Doug Marlette long ago named the trend -- a new generation of politicos who just love NASCAR, pickup trucks and banjos. (Note to wannabes: Confederate flags are so last century, and "y'all" is used only when addressing more than one person.)

                    The new growth also is predicted to create a new Southern literature. What, no more abused children of raging Irish alcoholics sorting through the emotional detritus of lost causes and Southern guilt?

                    Apparently, O'Connor, Conroy and Percy soon will be yielding to a new generation of literary immigrants with names like Wong, Cao and Perez.

                    Finally, more of the world will learn to love grits, sweet tea, collard greens, crawfish, boiled peanuts, mustard-based barbecue sauce and cornbread.

                    Whereupon real Southerners roll their eyes and throw another pine nut-encrusted grouper in the saute pan.

                    Those same Southerners, historically maligned as ignorant good ol' boys and gals -- remember Howard Dean's evocation of the region's preoccupation with gays, guns and God -- soon will be absorbed by outsiders who love the region's cheap real estate and old houses, but who have no appreciation of the authentic culture they'll quickly supplant.

                    Just as the Disney company built the faux small town of Celebration in central Florida, in imitation of real small towns that thrived in pre-Disney times, the Old South will be refurbished and reproduced in shinier, chicer, richer form. This has happened already in spots, of course.

                    Old houses left standing because post-bellum Southerners were too poor to tear them down and rebuild have been purchased by wealthy Northerners for whom "winter" is a verb.

                    Mansions along the city's famous Battery overlooking Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, are often dark and empty as their owners only visit occasionally between stopovers at other second (and third) homes.

                    Meanwhile, those who grew up in Charleston, in family homes that often featured peeling paint and creaking boards, can't afford to live there. Prohibitive taxes (so much for that expanded tax base) have sent natives -- black and white -- to the 'burbs, while their homesteads are gentrified to accommodate their nouveau owners.

                    So goes progress, and there's no stopping it. We're migratory creatures, and aging boomers are drawn to warmer waters and lusher climes. There's no arguing with the logic of moving where real estate is affordable, the weather mild and the people friendly.

                    But something inevitably gets lost in this cross-fertilization. Once half the country moves south and all things Southern become diluted and commodified, the authentic South will be lost again. This time forever.
                    I think we all ought to stop patronizing Southern businesses, they are ruining this entire country, and we're all going to end up living in an Appalachian-like country. John Edwards is right, and he ought to know! Am I becoming prejudiced against Southerners, Yes, they are destroying this country, I read the other day that every Wal Mart employee is costing the State of California and it's counties something like $2,100 per year in public benefits which Wal Mart teaches it's employees to obtain to subsidize their low wages, and I'm sure Lowes and Home Depot must do the same.
                    Last edited by Dick Seibert; 04-26-2005, 01:56 PM.
                    You will ask what goal the U.S. is pursuing? .... their external debt is huge, and ruining other countries is their customary method. Even ownership of the global 'printing press' is no longer helping. Nor is full control over NATO, None of that if enough for the 21st century colonizers. They don't just need to preserve the dollar as the only global currency but also to get their hands on the economic wealth of other large powers and regions. - Sergei Naryshkin


                    • #11
                      Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                      Not trying to start anything but Lowes is based in NC, I think western NC near Ashville. Home Depot is based in Atlanta, the CEO that built the company into a national company is now the owner of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team.
                      Last edited by Hoover; 04-26-2005, 08:20 PM.


                      • #12
                        Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                        Ash = after reading a few posts here, ya still wanna work for Lowes??? :) Big Jim Eggert and more than a few here want to help with our opinion and maybe a few pointers, but you can see you've touched a hot button...

                        Best regards!
                        T Moore
                        Active Door


                        • #13
                          Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                          Between southerners and anyone looking for a check on Friday, I would say you have insulted about 99% of everyone in this country. Alo heard there were some strong offshore eartquakes your way today so if youre not posting here we'll know what happened when the big one hits.


                          • #14
                            Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                            its a nasty situation playing the box store installer. it can be done i believe but its not fun. high insurance is required everywhere so that isnt much worse than normal.

                            me and my partner were ran out of a company that was bought out by one of the top 5 homebulilders in the country.. gee , imagine they are based out of atlanta..

                            quality doesnt matter to the big corps. its all fast, cheap, and no liability on their end.

                            between illegal labor and big corporate wannabe contractors.. the legitimate contractor/carpenter has few options if things get slow . either get lowballed by the big chains for the overhead and idiots that dont know what theyre doing or get lowballed by the idiots that dont speak english and are just happy to be here for 10 bucks a day.

                            im a white guy and im not racist by any means but its a tough gig out west when your competing against a bunch of happy people that dont mind working for free.

                            ok im now officially off topic i assume but hence the problem for the cheap prices and crap workmanship being acceptable lies with lots and lots of happy people from down south that just get a big kick out of working for 6 bucks an hour.

                            next time ill post something more upbeat but thats the sad truth.

                            the box store game can be played if you do yer own measures and like to play middle manager for free.and dont mind yer pay being held for a month.

                            this is a great forum and usually just lurk. later


                            • #15
                              Re: Working as a Lowes installer

                              I didn't mean to make anyone mad or offend anyone I was just asking. I thank everyone for posting their opinions and I read everyone of them. I have alot to learn about the business end of running my own business. Thanks again for posting. I am sure there will be a few more questions in the future.
                              The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a cannot be done.
                              If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run.
                              And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.
                              There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell for a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only, are this man's lawful prey
                              JOHN RUSKIN (1819-1900)