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10 reasons to buy from smaller businesses.

Home improvement buyers are naturally drawn to the larger companies, thinking that they are safer buying from well-established companies. ‘Know, like and trust’ are important factors in consumer buying decisions. Recognising a name gives a false sense of trust. You cannot assume that because a company is national, you can trust them any more than a small local company.

There’s a misconception that big companies are cheaper because they manufacture or have better buying power.

This misconception comes partly from the salespeople. They tell you this as part of their patter to stop you from bothering to get other quotes. It also comes from the high discount marketing which leaves you thinking that their prices are lower.

Make no mistake, those discounts are false. They are created by inflating the prices first.

I was personally at the meeting when Everest announced their half-price sale. They then exchanged out pricelists for ones that were double the price.

Some consumers are brain-washed into thinking these large discounts mean lower prices but £10,000 with 50% off is still the same as a genuine price of £5,000 with no discount.

Feedback from companies like Trustpilot shows that the ‘know, like and trust’ factors generated by a familiar brand name, are false emotions.

While feedback is not entirely reliable for good reviews, bad reviews are usually genuine. If they are not, they are removed. When you consider that the good reviews are actively solicited, it begs the question, would the percentage of bad reviews be higher.

This is written from the point of view of someone who has worked for several of these large companies so the problems written about are known. Of course, not everybody has a bad experience with a big company and small companies can make mistakes too. The point is that you can save yourself a lot of stress and heartache, not to mention time and money, with the result of a purchase that you truly love, if you just take a little more time to consider the options.

1. Smaller companies usually have more flexibility.

Large companies must run by tight procedures so they can be quite strict about what they do or don’t do. Their processes must be understood by computerised systems and don’t allow for deviation from that.

2. Responses are normally quicker.

Before buying from a large company, try calling their customer services line. While the phone is answered quickly if you call a sales number, reports of waiting over an hour on hold with a large company are not uncommon. Small companies are rarely encumbered by automated systems and you are more likely to be answered by a real person within a few rings.

3. The salesperson that you see is accountable.

In a small business, the person that visits you or provides a consultation may be the owner of the business but if not, is only a few steps removed from the owner and will have constant contact. Anything amiss will get back to the owner very quickly.

4. Small business owners tend to have a wider knowledge of the market and products available.

If your solution isn’t obvious, they may be able to source an alternative. A representative from a large company cannot give you unbiased advice as commission depends on selling only the product lines that they produce.

5. Continuity.

You will build a relationship with the people involved in your installation and have continued contact with the person who sold you your products. In a large company, you are unlikely to see the salesperson again and will then be handled by the head office, which can make you feel a bit lost in the system.

6. Originality.

You are more likely to be able to buy something a little more original than the standard fare offered by large companies. Not just with the main products but also with the finishing touches. This is particularly true of fitted furniture. You will struggle to find a large company who can give good advice or products such as lighting and interior fittings.

 7. If there is a problem, you are more likely to have it fixed quickly.

Mistakes do happen and if they do, you want it resolved quickly. A simple problem like an item missing from the order may be resolved on the day of installation without you even knowing if the company is local and can access it quickly. With a large company, these problems go back into the system and wait their turn. It could be weeks before it can be rectified meaning you have to book another appointment to complete the job.

8. An employee is more likely to install your purchase.

Almost all of the large companies use sub-contractors for their installations. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s the nature of the trade that financially it makes sense for installers to be self-employed. In a small company, if a sub-contractor is used, they are more likely to be well known by the business owner and work with them regularly.

9. You are helping the local economy.

It feels good to be part of the community and know that your purchases are helping to provide jobs locally. Every local business that disappears has an impact on other businesses in the area, especially the high street. Your purchase from a local company has a wider impact than you know including providing wages to local people who in turn spend locally.

10. You are helping the environment.

Can you imagine if everyone shopped locally, how many travel miles would be reduced? Salespeople from large companies typically travel up to 50 miles to an appointment with surveyors and installers travelling even further. When you shop locally, you reduce the carbon footprint of your purchase.

 

Bonus Reason. Number 11.

The most obvious reason for buying from a smaller business.

You are less likely to be manipulated by false discounts and pressured into making a decision based on deals that are only available on the day.

 

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