Learning CenterOur quality standards are among the highest of all natural stone manufactures. At The Builder Depot, shopping is risk-free because you've come directly to the finest premium natural stone tile and mosaic available. We use only the finest materials to create our Carrara Bianco and Venato collections with exceptional craftsmanship, focus to a clean white base and limited variation. We're confident that you won't find a better Carrara marble selection for quality and price and to back it up we are with the Better Business Bureau BBB and ranked A+.
Conducting business through the Internet helps The Builder Depot keep their overhead low. At Builders Depot we do not sell cheap products we are just focused on efficiently running our business, reducing cost in the supply chain, offering the lowest possible freight rates and then passing the savings onto our customers. The Builder Depot takes premium products directly from manufacturers and then sells them to our customers for the lowest possible price.
Besides the savings offered by reduced overhead, customers save even more money at the Builder Depot because there are no middlemen. Builders Depot only deals directly with the largest and most respected manufacturers in the world. Because of our buying power, combined with our nationwide distribution network, Builder Depot has a major advantage over the competition our product lines are focused and our sales volume on niche product lines is over 100 times larger than the average retail outlet so when it comes to pricing no other online retailer can offer the same quality for less.
#2. The installer asking for installation help. Erm..... They should have been on courses. Installed this type of flooring or wall tile hundreds of time. They are qualified by the National Tile Contractors of America. Have pictures on social media because they are proud of their work. Craftsman. You do not expect to get on a plane flight and the pilot announces "Does anyone know how we go forwards or a manual, does anyone have a manual?" (That would be followed by a nervous cabin crew laugh). No because they are "Trained". The installation guide we have online is for you the consumer. To cover yourself. To make sure they seal it and then waits the required cure time. If it is marble make sure he super seals it for a dark grout. Make sure they back butter the tiles so water cannot get trapped behind and then change the color of the tile and then you ask us "Why?" We will then ask for the details of the person who "Actually" installed it not the builder. The builder simply hires a subcontractor. Then adds on his margin and pays the subcontractor. The builder makes a profit for finding a subcontractor. If he pays peanuts to his subcontractor the installer will be a cheap one the builder makes more money. However you get what you pay for. You think you are paying a lot. No you are paying the builder a lot. He is paying the subcontractor by the hour and not enough hours to dry lay it or do the job correctly. The install guide is above and it is for you. Not the installer.
#3. Not being present during installation and sealing. Not asking for the bottle of the sealer used so you know how to clean it without removing it. Otherwise what was the point. It is sealed you clean it with a cleaning agent and in 7 days the sealer is gone. The marble changes color. That is because the the chemicals in the bathroom and with whatever it is being cleaned with is changing the stone. Remember this stone is over a million years old. It has been cut into a 4 ton block. Left outside for a few more years, then fabricated in to tiles. Millions of years pass. Then within a few months you turn it yellow, green or blue. That is not our fault nor the tile. That is something you have done to it. (We have had Blue and the color of their shampoo..... Blue!) It would have changed color at some point hundreds of thousands of years earlier, not wait until it got into your bathroom :)
#4. Hiring a Ceramic installer as he was cheaper, not checking references, similar to previous point, but worth making twice, leaving town for "vacation" to find things stuck in the wrong places (yes this has happened).
#5. Wrong ship to address. Entering the $5K order so quickly that paying attention to where it ships was not on your list of priorities. This is vital. We do not enter the ship to address you do. This is transmitted to UPS. So what you enter is where it is shipped. This system does not make up addresses. Remember the contractor maybe the best in the world. But they will not be the actual person installing your tile (he maybe) but in our inexperience they are not, they hire cheaper labor, this is how profits are made. A ceramic installer, a cheaper installer. If you are using a contractor ensure you ask for the qualifications of the person actually doing the install. Do not let them send some slapdash as fast as possible, box to box installer. Then come back to us an complain it does not look right.
#6. Using a gmail.com account or yahoo.com account (your sort of nonofficial back up account). This will put all tracking and info into spam (also the confirmation email which is vital as you can then check the ship to address one more time). Then you will wonder where your order is as all emails we send to you, you are not getting. We will not pass your email onto anyone, after your order is completed it is destroyed along with any credit card information. We do not keep information (Do you know why? We do not have to deal with hackers, we have nothing to hack, that is the simplest solution to any big company, don't keep information on file. No one will have any incentive to hack you. Genius I know!).
#7. Not dry laying the tile. There can and always will be variations in natural stone. Some customers may not like. This can really be evident in mosaics as shade variation can be caught in a mosaic. The rules of Tile Installation are.... ALWAYS DRY LAY THE TILE FIRST. See anything you do not like. Swap it out. Then stick it down. Do not install box to box.
#8. Not calibrated either on sizes smaller than 6x12". Sizes like a 3x6" or 4x8" are considered mosaic sizes. Small tiles are not calibrated.
#9. Booking the installer before the shipment arrives or based on some 'ETA' that is crazy, it is an Estimated Time of Arrival. Receive the product, check it and then book the installer. I know this may add a few days but better than an installer you have to pay for a days work of doing nothing.
#10. Finally read the product description. Do not assume 24x24" is sold by the piece when you want the 3x6" to be sold by the square foot. When you do the math you can see that would make the 24x24" four times less expensive and the 3x6" the correct cost for you. For some reason no one ever does it the other way round. Every product has quantity on one side and then the unit by which it is sold on the other. For the bigger tiles we even had to put this in Bold and Blue to ensure this point was clear. This is brief, the FAQ's on the blog we go in more detail on the Top 5 mistakes, but thought I would cover ten here. If it helps just one customer then it has been worth writing.
At 85 square feet, it is close to four hundred pounds of tile. The driver will not risk lifting it and throwing their back out. So they leaves it alone. Also it will not shift in transit and can only be moved by a pallet truck. That is what we want and believe me, what you want. You do not want broken tile showing up. This is not just some random policy but after over two decades of shipping this product we know exactly what happens and what is done in transit.
#2. Long Answer: Hello and Welcome, you have most likely found this page through a link from a sales person. That link was a redirect from an email where you are interested in buying a quantity of marble subway tile or field tile that is less than the minimum order amount. As you read this please note we would love to sell you our marble and it is not that we cannot ship small orders but certain product have shipping issues that make it just too risky.
90% of visitors to this section are here because they want less than 85SF of 3×6” or 100SF of 12×24″. They need it for a kitchen backsplash. So we will focus on that.
In this example you need 40SF of 3×6” Carrara Venato/Bianco Subway Tile. You have either emailed us an enquiry or your order did not go through when you tried to place an order for your 40SF. The issues:
#1 Shipping: Why can you just not ship the 40SF? How do we ship it to you? I apologize for answering a question with a question. Ground or Freight are the options.
Lets explore ground shipping. We can ship 40SF of mosaics easily ground, it is also cost effective to do so. It costs anywhere from $1.20SF to $2.50SF to ship each mosaic sheet. Mosaics are pieces of stone attached to a mesh, the mesh is not only flexible but most importantly the tiles are stuck to it and cannot bash together. If they cannot bash together then damage is considerably less.
The 3×6” tiles are loose tiles, loose in the box. While there will be packaging in the box (UPS will throw the boxes, they are not gentle) the tiles will hit against each other, leading to chips and breakage. Unfortunately all ground shippers see 'Handle with Care' labels as a suggestion.
If we ship ground you would open your box and be “shocked” about the damage and rightly so – we have lots of examples of field tiles shipped UPS ground and other ground companies (it is amazing how many small pieces that a tile can create). UPS would not allow a claim (we have been through this before) as it is considered an item that should not ship ground (as they have discussed this with us already) and if it did “damage is to be expected”. We would have to respond to you and ship more tile “ground” which would be damaged. Round and round we go. You get the point.
The other option would be to ship Freight. Shipping freight allows the product to be secured to a pallet. Breakage is very unlikely. However freight has a minimum cost. For example, 50SF of 3×6” shipped to Dallas, TX would cost a minimum of $265.00. Who would pay $265.00 to have 50SF of 3×6” shipped to them? That is over $5.00SF in shipping cost. Even if they did want to pay, there is no weight – not enough anyway. That will mean a risk of the pallet sliding around. Not just the risk of sliding either. Drivers will stack it, they will tip it on its side and stick it between two crates (drivers will do what they can to get as much freight as they can on their truck). Then when other objects are out of the way just let it fall from a 90 degree angle, crashing onto the track. It needs to be heavy enough so it cannot be moved by hand.
You see the problem, neither ground nor freight provides a good solution. The only real solution I can think of is to buy smaller tile orders locally, then you pick it up and also you can see it before you take it home.
To avoid these incredibly lengthy explanations, we simply say “minimum order required”.
#3. Why a minimum order on the porcelain tiles? It is a lighter product and we want the best possible price. To get suppliers to this price point they require a minimum order. For their company shipping 100 Square Feet requires the same energy and cost as 400 Square Feet. But not the profit they need to justify the price point.
Additionally for us. Weight creates a safer shipment. This is not a product that can EVER be shipped ground. The reason above explains it, as the same mechanics applies.
Minimum orders do not apply to local pick ups. As there is no shipping person for us to try and anticipate their mood and what will happen to the shipment. Quite simply by picking it up you are the freight company and will not damage your own shipment (in theory).
#2. There is no Free Shipping. Remember, just try and think back. Your father or Grandfather would have said at some point “nothing in life is free”. Then along came the internet and with some snazzy marketing convinced an entire generation that their Parents and Grandparents were wrong. No, No, No. Granddad was absolutely correct. Think about it logically and we are discussing products (not intrinsic items such as Love). Every cost has to be passed onto the consumer one way or the other. Unless the company is a non-profit you are buying from and even then they have to pay wages, so there is a cost. They simply do not make “Profit” does not mean the owner cannot earn $10m a year ensuring no profit (but that is another issue).
Back to the illusion of Free Shipping. “It is an illusion”. Your product you buy online let’s say it is shipping UPS Freight on a Pallet. Do you think the UPS Driver would get up in the morning, before leaving to go to work (as his kids and wife are finishing breakfast), say goodbye to his family and as he walks out of the door would say “Oh…. I forgot to mention please do not buy any food and the electric will be cut off today. I am working for FREE. I am going to use the last of our savings to fill up the UPS truck and just work for FREE. I expect no pay ever again. Because there is “Free Shipping”. UPS delivered record profits in 2015 of $2.2 Billion. If there was free shipping. It would not have charged anything. It would be FREE and could not have made a profit.
I believe there are only three plausible ways and reasons for Free Shipping two are bad one is good.
Option A. Increase the product cost to cover off the Free Shipping. Take our marble for example $7.00 a Square Foot on the 3x6” Subway Tile. If we want Free Shipping on this, we would perhaps increase it to $9.00 a square foot. Let’s imagine you are a consumer and required 200 Square Feet. At $9.00 a Square Foot and Free Shipping you would pay $1,800.00 for that product to be delivered. Now the second method Al’La Carte where you see the shipping cost. Product cost on 200 square Feet is $1,400.00 and the shipping is approx. $250.00. Your total cost for the second option is $1,650. (Do I need to go any further….)
You just paid an extra $150.00 for FREE SHIPPING, it was not free do you see how it is done? (Rhetorical Question).
Option B. Lower the product quality to cover of the Cost of Free Shipping. Italian Marble is imported. You can get different grades. In fact you can get quality grades on almost anything. If the supplier can lower the cost by $1.50 a unit then he can provide FREE SHIPPING. But it is not free the product has been changed. Let’s take out Bianco 2” Hexagon Honed Mosaic. It has forty two (42) pieces of 2” Hexagon to a sheet. The competition will have Thirty Six (36). So they have reduced the amount on a sheet. So now you are buying a smaller sheet by about 11%. Secondly they will most likely make it 8mm thick. We as members of the Marble Institute of America stick to their rules of the thickness of tile and it is 10mm or 3/8 of an inch. Once they reduce the quality they offer “FREE SHIPPING”. But it was not free the competition lowered the price quality to cover the shipping cost.
Option C. This is a good one. Companies may launch a new product line in a big market. Our Glass Tile is an example of that. We are entering this market against massive conglomerates. So we are aggressive. Willing to sell at almost cost to gain market share. Get room scenes back, pictures in the field and grow via word of mouth. It is not a long term offer. It is simply in place to launch the product. If you happen across this opportunity then congratulations. You have found a bona-fide reason for free shipping. Market Penetration. A known marketing strategy. Funding most likely by the factory and the retailer to grow. That is what we are doing with our Free Shipping products.
Any company offering “Blanket Free Shipping” is probably not offering FREE SHIPPING! They are offering option #1 and #2. I am not saying these are BAD options. They are options. You are the consumer. You can weigh up the factors. You decide, maybe you are flipping a home. Not living in it. Have no plans for it’s long term use. Then perhaps lower quality may be your hallmark and work.
But what I think is important is people are not “tricked” and people still understand nothing in life is for “Free” (that is a product). As all costs, debt, shipping, employees, etc. These are fixed and variable costs can only be covered one way if a business plans to survive and that is through the product.
#3. Product Pictures. Ensure you are buying from the source. You should buy from a company that has access to the Carrara. By that we mean direct access. Not sitting in a cube somewhere in Shangri-La or in another country when you call. A US based company that can take direct pictures before your order ships. You need to know the person you are speaking with on the phone is the person looking at the products, particularly marble. That they can touch it, can take a snap with their iPhone and send it on. Otherwise how do you know what “lot” or particular look you are getting. How can you do a quick background check by yourself? Look at their Instagram account. See pictures of marble in pallets and boxes open in a warehouse? That is a good sign.
We are changing this industry. It is a $50bn market. It is hard work. But we will change it. The change is so drastic from a price perspective we even how to create a white board video to help explain the lower costs in our “About Us” section are even possible as this was the most asked question of 2015.
#4. Look them up on Google and the BBB. Today you can use Google Earth and get down to street level of where you are buying from. If it is someones house. Then you may wish to re-consider, I have checked our competitors, one is a house, I was quite surprised. Try and ensure the company has a Bona-Fide warehouse and has pictures of the employees. Who you are dealing with and can be found on the Better Business Bureau like us. Do your due diligence, especially when spending over $1,000.00.
#5. DIY Bloggers. Make sure they have Product Pictures Room scenes should be easy to find on their blog. If there are no room scenes then why not? It is most likely that no one was thrilled enough to send any in. How can you check? Go to their blog. Check to see if they have a section for “Room Scenes” if they are proud of them it will be upfront. Bloggers are a great resource. Some of the room scenes should come from independent bloggers. There are thousands of DIY blogs today. If the online store you are buying from has not been in a single blog. Then that is quite an accomplishment. They must have gone out of their way to avoid them altogether. Look for room scenes by bloggers who are good photographers and they can also provide DIY tips as well.
Simple tips to buying online and you can avoid some of the headache reviews and stories we hear everyday from other customers. If they are not Google Trusted. Why? If they cannot send pictures then they have no access to the material and that means you have no idea what lot or look or veining you are getting! If they are not in any DIY blogs, how?
We are not saying you need to buy from thebuilderdepot.com. We are not trying to sell anyone anything. We simply provide pictures, samples and prices. Then the decision to buy is up to the retailer, builder, contractor, designer, homeowner. We are not salespeople. We simply provide the facts on our products. We treat people as we would treat our family. If we can find a better option elsewhere then that is where we will suggest. For many customers this concept is met with shock and disbelief. But it really is a simple concept. We are acting like your neighbor or family friend. If there is a better option then we need to improve our game, it helps you get what you need and us get better.
As the first Google Trusted E-Commerce supplier of Natural Stone Collections and a product member of the Marble Institute of America we come from a position passionate about the integrity and future of Natural Stone as it moves online.
**Please note. I am not a Journalist. (The grammar here is unlikely perfect (or even close. Mrs Baker, My English teacher I apologize, you are correct I am not a great writer). Why are you only hearing about this sort of information from us? Probably due to the money involved in supporting the illusion. It is like the illusion of buying from a Stone & Tile boutique retailer. They pre-set the standard: We will work with you and create a wonderful bathroom, but you should only expect a 70% return on your investment when you come to sell. (So they are saying you loose 30%!). That is just "Hogwash!" You are simply paying too much and that additional margin is being used up by inefficient supply chain. You can choose to fund this ridiculous and archaic system of supply or join us as we find ways to do more with less and save money for our customers.