There are two basic types of local stores, the independent paint dealer who carries paints and stains from several manufacturers, and the manufacturer-owned store that primarily carries its own paint and stain products. Both types offer several advantages to the consumer over shipping at a big box store:
- You'll receive professional guidance on the best product to buy for your project - and your budget.
- Expert color matching by a trained, experienced professional. Color matching machines are far from perfect and should be considered a starting point only. It often takes the human eye to finish the job. (See my post on Tangible vs Digital Color.)
- Expertise in diagnosing and solving problems.
- Information about the latest products.
- Referrals to qualified contractors.
- Feedback from customers about how products perform enables the staff to guide you to better purchase decisions.
- Knowledge of resources and how to access them, such as specialty products and suppliers.
- The staff in your local store has a more personal interest in you, and they truly value your business.
- They're more likely to make a site visit if there's a problem.
- They can serve as your liaison with the manufacturer in the event of a product failure.
- The money you spend at your local paint store has a magnifier effect that benefits many others in your community.
Most people think of price as the main reason to buy at a big box store. They don't realize that their local paint store has a range of products for every price point, and that they might find something there that meets their needs and is as good or better. Now that you know some of the advantages, start at your local store the next time you have a painting project. You'll get far more than you pay for.