Builders’ General vs. Big Box Stores

Why Local Suppliers Win

When it comes to sourcing building materials, choosing between a local supplier like Builders’ General and national chains such as Home Depot and Lowes can significantly impact the quality of your project.

Whether you’re a seasoned contractor or a homeowner who wants to DIY your next project, quality and service are critical. Here’s why Builders’ General stands out as the superior choice.

Quality of Materials

Builders’ General specializes in premium, locally sourced materials and maintains high standards through close relationships with regional manufacturers, offering products well-suited to local climates and building codes.

In contrast, Big Box Stores provide a wide variety of materials from national suppliers, which may lead to varying quality and inconsistencies; these materials are designed to appeal to a broad audience but may not always be ideal for specific local conditions.

Builders’ General

  • Offers premium, locally sourced materials.
  • Ensures high standards by working closely with regional manufacturers.
  • Often stocks materials that are better suited to local climates and building codes.

Big Box Stores

  • Tend to carry a broad range of materials but with varying quality.
  • Often sourced from national suppliers, leading to inconsistencies.
  • Stock materials that cater to a broad audience which might not be ideal for local conditions.

Customer Service

Builders’ General is known for providing personalized service aimed at building long-term relationships, ensuring staff understands specific project needs for tailored solutions, resulting in high customer loyalty thanks to exceptional service.

In contrast, big box stores often deliver impersonal service due to high staff turnover and limited interaction. This leads to a more transactional experience, where the quality of service can greatly vary depending on the store and staff.

Builders’ General

  • Provides personalized service with a focus on building long-term relationships.
  • The staff takes the time to understand specific project needs and offer tailored solutions.
  • High level of customer loyalty due to exceptional service experiences.

Big Box Stores

  • Service can be impersonal due to high staff turnover.
  • Limited interaction time, leading to a more transactional experience.
  • Service quality can vary significantly depending on the store and staff on duty.

Number of Services Offered

Builders’ General provides a variety of in-house services, including customized millwork, blueprinting, construction estimates, and expert delivery for both small and large projects.

Big Box Stores offer a wide range of services but may lack the specialization and customization available at Builders’ General. They often rely on third-party vendors for additional services or do not offer them at all.

Builders’ General

  • Offers specialized services, including Direct Millwork, Blueprinting & Construction Estimating, Expert Delivery, Showrooms, and more.
  • Provides support for both small and large projects, ensuring each customer’s needs are met.

Big Box Stores

  • Offer a wide range of services, but may lack the specialization and customization.
  • Generalized services that might not meet specific or advanced project requirements.
  • Additional services are often outsourced or managed by third-party vendors or not available at all.

Staff Knowledge

Product and service knowledge is invaluable to customers when shopping for building materials. This helps ensure that the materials purchased are of the highest quality, suitable for the local environment and building codes, and meet the project’s specific needs. Good service, characterized by understanding the client’s project and offering tailored solutions, improves the project’s overall success.

Sourcing materials from suppliers like Builders’ General, who prioritize product knowledge and customer service, can lead to excellent results in construction quality and project satisfaction.

Builders’ General

  • Employs experienced professionals with deep knowledge of building materials and construction practices.
  • Staff frequently undergo training to stay updated with industry standards and innovations.
  • Can provide expert advice and troubleshooting for complex project issues.

Big Box Stores

  • Staff knowledge can be hit-or-miss, depending on individual experience and training.
  • May lack the depth of expertise needed for intricate or specialized projects.
  • Often rely on general training programs that may not cover specific regional needs.

Value of Local Market Knowledge

Local knowledge is crucial when making decisions about purchasing building materials for your projects. Choosing a local business like Builders’ General over a national big-box store offers significant benefits deeply rooted in a comprehensive understanding of the community’s unique needs.

Local suppliers have an innate grasp of regional building codes, climate considerations, and specific material requirements, ensuring that the products they offer are optimally suited for local construction practices. This expertise enables them to provide insightful recommendations and material solutions that are tailored to the local environment, ultimately contributing to the success and durability of construction projects.

In contrast, national chains may lack this nuanced understanding, offering standardized solutions that might not always meet the specific demands of the region, potentially compromising the quality and efficiency of construction endeavors.

Builders’ General

  • Deep understanding of local building codes, climate considerations, and regional preferences.
  • Ability to source materials that are optimal for local construction practices.
  • Can provide insights and recommendations that are specifically tailored to the local market.

Big Box Stores

  • Operate on a national scale, often lacking the nuance of local market conditions.
  • Standardized inventory and advice that may not consider local factors.
  • Limited flexibility in adapting to regional building trends and regulations.

Benefits for Contractors & Do-It-Yourselfers

Because Builders’ General is a collection of experts who pay constant attention to what’s happening in our industry, it would be biased and unfair to say that there aren’t advantages to both options for contractors and do-it-yourselfers.

Below are lists of advantages both Builders’ General and big-box stores offer to contractors and homeowners.


Builders’ General

  • Reliable supply chain ensuring timely delivery of high-quality materials.
  • Professional-grade tools and materials suited for large-scale projects.
  • Dedicated account managers and special pricing for bulk purchases.

Big Box Stores

  • Convenient for quick, smaller purchases.
  • An extensive network of locations for easy access.
  • Competitive pricing on common materials, though quality may vary.


Builders’ General

  • Expert advice and guidance for homeowners, ensuring success and safety.
  • Access to high-quality materials that might not be available in big box stores.
  • Personalized service to help with project planning and execution.

Big Box Stores

  • One-stop shop for a variety of home improvement needs.
  • Wide range of products for DIY enthusiasts.
  • Frequent promotions and deals for budget-conscious consumers.


Choosing Builders’ General over big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes offers numerous advantages, from superior material quality and personalized customer service to specialized services and knowledgeable staff.

Both contractors and homeowners can benefit from the local market expertise and tailored solutions that a local supplier like Builders’ General provides. When it comes to building and improving, going local with Builders’ General is the smarter, more reliable choice.