The Home Depot FIRST for Pro

By Todd Fratzel on Building Materials, Product Reviews

FIRST for Pro – Program Designed To Meet Needs of Pro Customers

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting my local Home Depot store to visit with the store manager and a Regional Pro Account Representative to learn more about their FIRST for Pro program. The Home Depot only has about 4% of total visitors that are Pro’s yet that small 4% purchase over 30% of the annual sales. With numbers like that The Home Depot started a new program in 2011 called FIRST for Pro. The program is set up to meet the needs of Pro’s and make The Home Depot a competitive alternative to other building supply companies.

FIRST for Pro Offers Pro’s What They Expect

Being a contractor I can tell you first hand that there are several key features that I look at when it comes to a building material supplier. I’m looking for ease of use, competitive pricing, product  availability and knowledgeable sales people. The Home Depot is listening to us contractors and this new program really seems to be hitting all the targets I would expect. For more information you can always visit Homedepot.com/Pro – The Place for Pros

The FIRST for Pro program offers several key benefits:

  • The Home Depot FIRST for Pro program addresses pro contractors’ biggest needs – understanding what they do, getting them in and out quickly and giving them the best possible price.
  • The Home Depot FIRST for Pro Power Hours feature extra staff on the floor during the morning rush, including dedicated loaders, to get Pro customers in and out fast.
  • To make Pro shopping even quicker, The Home Depot FIRST for Pro program offers two-hour pickup – call in an order and The Home Depot will have it ready to go within two hours.
  • If you can’t make it to the store, The Home Depot FIRST for Pro program can arrange free on-site delivery for paint and appliance shipments via Pro Direct, or even help coordinate large shipments directly from the vendor.
  • Pro shoppers at The Home Depot can take advantage of volume pricing, with quantity, bulk and large item discounts.
  • Where permitted, The Home Depot offers FIRST for Pro dedicated parking areas close to the store.
  • Dedicated Pro associates at The Home Depot are designated to deliver outstanding customer service.

Other Notable Pro Programs

In addition to FIRST for Pro I also learned about several other interesting programs designed to help Pro’s be more competitive in the market place.

Managed Account Program – This is set up for contractors that have annual sales in excess of $125k or for individual purchases over $1,000 which qualifies for the Volume Program Pricing. This program includes up to 0.5% cash back based on register receipts, an additional 10% discount and access to the “Bid Room” or volume program pricing.

REIA (Real Estate Investors Association) Program –  This program allows buyers in the program to receive 2% back on purchases at THD.

BOPIS (Buy Online Pick UP in Store) – This program allows you to order and pay for materials online. After the order is placed a THD Associate will pull the order and call when it’s ready for pickup. This obviously can save lots of employee time searching for products.

HD Commercial Credit – The Home Depot offers a variety of credit options for small and large businesses. Orders can be tracked by purchase order numbers or customer name.

OPTIC (On Property Total Inventory Control) for Managed Accounts – This is a VERY cool program and one that makes total sense for large apartment complexes, commercial buildings. The Home Depot will set up a mini Home Depot on site in a basement or extra room. It will be stocked with items that are most used in day to day maintenance of your building. The Home Depot supplies all the shelving, stocks the supplies as they are ordered and drastically cuts down on the number of trips to the lumber yard.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my visit last week to The Home Depot. They have clearly gotten the message from contractors and builders that customer service is an extremely important feature. By assigning account managers and constantly striving to understand the needs of the contractor The Home Depot appears to have positively transformed the professional sector.

I know for me personally I’ll feel a bit more confident going to the Pro Desk now knowing that their focus is on Pro’s and helping us do our job better. If you haven’t tried the Pro Desk as your local HD then I recommend you give it a try.

 

 

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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