Renovation Mythbuster: Are Physical Stores More Reliable Than Online Stores?

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When finding a contractor to entrust their homes with, more traditional-minded consumers, especially those who do not shop online often, tend not to trust online businesses. And let’s not forget the Luddites, to whom the internet is the stage of all evils in the world.

Some home owners feel that in case a project goes awry, it is easier to straighten things out when the contractor in question can be reached in an actual, physical place where they can visit and talk about issues.

In other words, in some home owners’ eyes, the presence of a physical store seems to ensure a high degree of accountability. At least you can find them and talk to them face-to-face, right?

But for online stores, they seem to be dodgy because they are virtual.

Based on what we’ve heard from our users and students at Deco Academy, let’s bust this myth once and for all.


When a project goes awry…

Say, you’ve purchased a relatively expensive type of tiles for your home.

The installation work done by your contractor absolutely ruined that intricate design. It could have looked so beautiful when assembled in a well-planned and thoughtful way.

On the phone, the contractor in charge was so full of excuses, so you’d decided to pay them a visit at the physical store.

There are so many possible outcomes, and not all are pretty. A better one would be they charge you a fraction of the original cost to redo the work, and you get your beautiful tiled floor.

Here’s the worst scenario. You approach the store manager, they act irresponsibly and kick you out for their store for ‘harassing’ them and causing a disruption on their business.


What’s good about contractors with physical stores?

Renovation Mythbuster: Are Physical Stores More Reliable Than Online Stores?

The only advantage of hiring a contractor with a physical store is that a business with an actual store is less likely to shut down out of the blue.

But this does not mean that you will have an easier time asking for touch-ups and compensation.


The unexpected ‘virtue’ of online businesses

Thanks to social media and the invention of ‘tagging’, the internet can in fact play a role in increasing the transparency and openness of online trading.

For contractors whose main source of customers comes from online recommendation, they have to maintain a reputation on the internet. This is because information about their reputation is readily accessible to potential customers.

Moreover, negative feedback is hard to silence or block, and all reviews are circulated 24/7. Contractors who have successful Facebook pages and are rarely reviewed negatively should speak of a consistent quality of service.

Quite unexpectedly, online contractors tend to be accountable and responsible when practising their business.


How to make sure you’re hiring an accountable contractor?

Of course, ascertaining a contractor’s trustworthiness takes more than a few isolated observations. The following points of consideration are helpful guides. But remember, always do your own research.

  1. Having a physical store where the contractor meets customers
  2. Having an online store which is positively reviewed over its course of business development
  3. Reviewed by renovation platforms and have been maintaining business relations with these platform


The take-home message is that accountability is the necessary trait of a reputable contractor company.

While the three points above ensure some degree of accountability, consumers should always be patient and thorough with their research before making a decision.

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