The closet experts at Closet America want everyone to find the perfect closet solution for their home. In our Ask a Closet Expert series, we answer questions from local DC-area residents about their storage issues, providing insight from our years in the industry.
Today, we answer a question from Kelly in Ashburn, Virginia. She asks:
“I’m thinking of remodeling my teenage daughter’s closet, so I’ve been researching companies. I’ve found a couple of local ones, and some large chains, and it seems like they’re all equally capable of doing the work I need. So I’m wondering: are there advantages to using a locally owned company?”
This is a great question, Kelly. Thanks for asking! We’ve found there are benefits to going with a local company, although part of your choice boils down to personal preference. We’ll try to touch on the most important factors here.
Reviews From People Like You
Any established company is bound to have online reviews, but the nice thing about a locally owned and operated company is that they’re more likely to have done work in your area for people with similar needs.
You can check up on generic information, like whether the build turned out well, whether the workers showed up on time, and if they were pleasant, but you may also be able to see how local companies addressed region or county-specific issues. For example, Fairfax requires all companies to obtain a Fairfax County business license before doing any work, and a remodeling company based out of Northern VA is likely to already possess this.
Another benefit of a local company is that they’re often very invested in building rapport within the community. Most companies will want to do good work, of course, but a local company may be willing to go the extra mile because they rely on that word-of-mouth reputation.
Timeframe and Environmental Concerns
When you’re choosing a company for a remodeling project, their estimated timeframe is often a factor. It’s possible your job will take longer if you work with a company that manufactures materials in a location across the country. Those materials must be shipped to you, which could add days or weeks to the time it takes to complete your job.
If you look for a company that manufactures locally, you may find they’re also more flexible about design changes. In your case, Kelly, suppose your daughter decides at the last minute that she really, really wants additional shoe shelving or shoe fences on those shelves. A local company is more likely able to make revisions on the fly, perhaps even having the addition cut to size the same day you make your request, and maybe even get it to the job site by the next.
If you’re environmentally minded, you might be extra keen on the idea of cutting back on shipping. The US Department of Transportation tells us that there is “heightened concern” over the environmental impact of diesel fuel burned by freight trucks, which may make a local remodel an even more attractive option.
Craftsmanship, Options, and Quality Concerns
Another factor? Many locally owned and operated companies have more control over quality. If you work with a company that handles your entire remodeling project in-house, they can troubleshoot issues with installation, design, or materials more quickly than companies who are dependent upon third parties. This can also be a bonus down the road if you ever need to make a warranty claim, since your company will be able to address the problem directly rather than passing it to someone else.
The one potential drawback of having work done locally is that you may pay more out of pocket (although reduced shipping costs may help offset this). It’s up to you whether the extra peace of mind is worth the investment.
Support Your Local Economy
Lastly, there are real economic benefits to contributing to companies that do all of their work locally. When you have work done by small or medium sized local businesses, you’re investing in your community’s economy, since that money will be re-spent at other businesses in your area.
This may seem like a minor consideration, but it’s nice to know that your remodeling job can give an indirect boost to your own neighborhood, helping to keep areas like Ashburn such great places to live.
Our View: Go Local
For all those reasons, Kelly, we support going local. The decision ultimately rests upon your priorities, though.
If you do decide to go local, remember it’s not just about finding a company with local ownership and local installers. Be sure to check that the company also manufactures their products close by. And if they offer it, get a free design consultation and exact price quote from the company you choose before you agree to have any work done. You should know how the finished product will look, what the cost is likely to be, and how long the project will take well before any work begins. Best of luck!
Lead Image Source: James H Dunning (CC by 2.0)