Happy New Year, everyone! I am claiming that 2015 would be a happy, blessed year for all of us.
We start our year in TMM with a post about shopping for home construction materials. January is not only a popular wedding month. It is also the time of the year when many soon-to-be homeowners are anxiously awaiting their home’s groundbreaking.
Below is a list of random shopping lessons I learned while our home construction was in full-swing and from our design team:
HOME DEPOT DISCOUNTS
Home depots offer standard “contractor’s discount” at varying rates to architects, civil engineers, contractors, interior designers. I learned though that a contractor’s discount may also be extended to individual homeowners.
Specifically, at Wilcon Builders’ Depot, you can avail of a 3% discount when paying for your purchases via your credit card, 5% when paying in cash.
Ace Hardware, on the other hand, used to offer a friendlier contractor’s 10% discount. A few months prior to turnover of our home (which was in December 2013), however, Ace Hardware revised the policy. A minimum spend of P 30,000.00 for said discount to be applied is required.
I believe CW Home Depot also gives discounts for cash purchases, but I do not recall spend requirements. I only bought from them their San Fernando, Pampanga branch a few times, out of necessity. Their customer service is the worst!
Floor Center likewise accords clients a 10% discount for tiles paid in cash.
Note that these discounts were never voluntarily offered to us when we were shopping for home construction materials. I had to speak to the store managers to inquire about store discounts and how I can avail them. Apparently, discounts are “standard”, but you have to be in-the-know to enjoy them. Also, as a caveat, discount policies of these stores may have been revised or are no longer extended to individual homeowners within the months I have not visited so, it is best to confirm.
BUYING CEMENT IN BULK
Aside from the home depot discounts I mentioned above, buying in bulk and directly from cement suppliers would save you thousands of pesos. Buying cement in bulk, however, means buying a truckload of cement, to be delivered to your site straight from the factory. We decided against this despite the savings due to storage and wastage issues. If you have a huge bodega for your construction materials, consider purchasing directly from cement suppliers.
We also negotiated directly with a trucking company owner that quarries, supplies, and delivers filling materials. From the initial estimate of P 5,000.00 per truckload by the contractor, we were able to source ours for P 2,100.00, which increased to P 2,400.00 during the later part of our home construction. We saved at least P 180,000.00 for about 70 truckloads of filling materials (computed at P 2,400.00 per truckload). Yes, we hoarded filling materials!
Of course, as all good shoppers know, you have to patiently wait for sales. We scored most of our best deals during SM’s 3-day sales, where during the first day, SM Advantage cardholders get 10% off on top of the usual 10% item discount, if you shop within their “2-hour special”. Often, if you use your BDO credit card for payment, you get an additional 5% rebate for your purchases. In sum, you can save as much as 25%!
Some items we got from these SM 3-day sales were:
The secret to not stressing over finishing shopping within their 2-hour window is to visit the day before the sale and reserve the items you intend to purchase the following day. Come the day of the 2-hour special sale, you just pick up your cartful of items and pay for them. Smart, eh?
When buying tiles for your floors, kitchen splashboard and countertop, or accent walls, ensure that the store has enough for your requirements and allocation for an additional 10% (of total tile requirement) for wastage. Our designer, Georgina, reminded us to make sure the tiles are from the “same batch”. Tiles are from the ” same batch”, as I understand it, if they were fabricated in the same lot or machine run. Tiles from different batches, although of the same kind/model/code, would not have the same shade and/or grains. Thus, beware of tiles with marked down prices as their stocks would certainly be limited. You might end up with tiles of different shades! We. Do. Not. Want. That!
My personal formula for buying tiles though when we were still building our home was this:
TILE REQUIREMENT + 10% ALLOCATION FOR WASTAGE + 10 EXTRA PIECES.
The 10 extra pieces were for wear and tear. True, they were additional expenses on our end, but I’d rather spend on those extras than end up with a mismatched tile later on. I cannot, for the life of me, wake up to the sight of a lone tile that does not match the rest!
Spell O-B-S-S-E-S-S-I-V-E C-O-M-P-U-L-S-I-V-E.
Another lesson from our designer that resonated to me when we were canvassing granite slabs for our kitchen countertops was this: “Ate, walang difference ang China at Italy na granite. Basagin mo ‘yan, pareho ang loob. Lahat naman halos, galing na ng China.” Price points differ greatly though. An “Italy” slab costs twice as much as a “China” slab.
We got an “Italy” slab for our kitchen countertops
and “China” ones for our bathrooms.
A year later, both “Italy” and “China” granite slabs are without stains, chips, or cracks – selling points for “Italy” granite slabs.
CANVASS, CANVASS, CANVASS
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of shopping around. When you shop around, you will be able to examine all your options, compare price points, and haggle for the best deals. When you are building a home, cliche as it may sound, every centavo you save goes a loooong way.
BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GO-TO HOME DEPOT’S PEOPLE
Finally, it is imperative that you cultivate relationship with your go-to home depot’s store manager and salespersons. I found this really helpful when:
1. We needed some materials soonest possible time. I learned that the salespersons can personally pick up items from suppliers for you, especially if purchases are in bulk. They can also facilitate earlier delivery arrangements, if requested;
2. We had to return defective items that were not under warranty or with misplaced receipts;
3. Certain items we needed were out-of-stock, hard-to-find, or available in another store. My favorite salespersons helped me source them. They called every branch to check stock availability or contacted supplier offices/warehouses to know where I may find them.
There goes my list! I hope you can pick up a lesson (or two) from it. Happy shopping!