FAQ

Q1. How Do I order a Sample?

Click “ORDER SAMPLE” Button. (and follow the process, thank you!)

Q2. How do I get a shipping/product quote and Checkout?

Number 1Step 31: Enter the quantity needed paying attention to the line above that shows you the “order quantity” in this case you can see the order quantity is ‘square feet’.

Number 2Step#2: As we go through this you will not believe how easy it is. Click the “shipping calculator” and then it will provide fields to enter your shipping details.

Number 3Step #3: Enter your shipping details and then click ‘Apply’. Then you have your complete quote.

Number 4Step#4: Click Checkout to proceed.

Enter email address

Enter a good email address to get a confirmation. If you enter a gmail.com or a yahoo.com because you are worried about us sending you emails forever please do not.  You will only get tracking, shipment notifications and a follow up asking if all went well. We do not send any other emails, we do not share your email, we will not tell you about new products, we will leave you alone.  We are people to and hate spam!

Check your order

At this point the order has not been paid or sent, this is your opportunity to check everything.  Please do so. Shipping 2,000Ls of marble to Springfield, IL went you meant it to go to Springfield, MA is an expensive mistake and one that we do not and should not have to pay for.  This is your mistake (I know the world lacks personal responsibility but please lets not bring it here). So please check this page. Mistakes are painful but they are just mistakes hopefully it will just cost a couple of hundred dollars to get it turned around.  Depending on the distance involved and when the error was caught. Please do not be angry at us.  We did not do it.

Confirmation Page

Then you get a confirmation page with an order number.  The last 5 digits mean the most to us.  Save a copy of this cut and paste it, convert it to a PDF file.  It will be emailed to you as well.  But again if you used gmail.com or yahoo.com it will be in the spam folder.  This really is a painless process.  Then we ship in 1-2 business days and send you tracking.  Really easy!

Q3. How are your prices so cheap?

This was a really common question 5 years ago but not so common now as consumers have become used to the lower prices that the internet has to offer.  Although this might be true, this is a question worth answering. I will try to be brief, which is not easy considering how many areas of business and economics this question touches on, but by the end of reading this, you will have the understanding of what our company’s goal is.  Companies hate the word “cheap”, well not companies but marketing execs, they like inexpensive or good value – no matter what we call it the question is still the same.  How can we sell a product for 50-60% lower than everyone else and because of that is it inferior?

First lets remove the “cheap” issue with an example.  We sell brick metal 1.5″ x 3″  for $14.95SF; however, boutique retailers sell the same exact product for $50SF.  Metal has a high “price feel” to it- it looks expensive and is relatively new so retailers will charge what they can (marketing 101 if it looks expensive make it expensive). The reality is this is not the case while it is not as cheap as ceramic technology has driven down the production costs of stainless steel mosaics. Additionally, traditional boutique retailers have 2-3 steps in their supply chain process-each one adding 50% in which the pice rapidly rises. Our company method: we ship directly from the factory to our warehouse and then from our warehouse we ship the product directly to the consumer. With this method, we skip 3 steps in the supply chain and pass the savings along to you.  This explains how we can sell for $15.00SF.

Second,  “quality” (related to cheap) – here is a  brick metal mosaic product installed in a $2m house click here to see or a number of incredible room scenes.  Cheap does not get installed by professional architect firms (this metal backsplash is one of many examples we have). Then there is the marble product that our company has to offer to the consumer.  Italian Carrara and Calacatta Gold are top of the line products that we have imported. Our company imports directly (strategy #1) taking out 3 steps in the supply chain that our competitors the ‘boutique tile and stone retailers‘ have to suffer and in the end just makes there process more complicated than it needs to be.  Why do these companies have to suffer an inefficient supply chain?  Answer:  a retailer cannot buy 28 pallets of 6×12″ Italian Carrara at a time – he does not have the ‘wholesale’ sales to support it.  This goes back to our logical and efficient way of processing: we import the product directly, and then the product is simply shipped straight to you.

In our company, it is necessary to make a profit, yet we are no where near the same as a tile store.  The reason for not needing a higher profit is we operate a low cost business (Strategy #2).  Without the complicated extras, marketing is our mantra-pictures taken with a iPhone = no advertising cost.  We are promoted in magazines and on the DIY network, but we do not pay for this. The value of our products is all top of the line quality at an affordable price that makes sense to the consumer (or cheap) in which our customers want to tell their friends, TV shows wants to tell their viewers, and magazines their readers.  Our company operates with minimal staff (so you feel as if you have more of a personal relationship with the company in which you are getting your product from), so minimal that answering the phone can be sometimes be a challenge (sorry I know that can be frustrating).  I could go on but you get the idea.

Direct import, minimal operational costs and premium products (word of mouth is our marketing).  As the buyer, these products do not always come to us cheap; however, it is out goal to offer one of the best deals that can top any competitors pricing-so good we understand the skepticism. To help alleviate the skepticism, we offer a variety of samples for you to physically see, so it can make the process easier when you know exactly what you are buying. Not only  do we offer samples, you can also get more information based on the reviews online from EBay and Amazon.  We are a company that is proud of what our business has been able to accomplish; we wanted to create something new and like no other and that’s exactly what we brought to the market.  In our company, we receive a constant stream of pleased and content worthy emails from our grateful customers who create an enchanted looking bathroom buying $4K worth of marble and adding $15K in value back into their home price.

We are probably one of the few online products that offer an instant profit once purchased and installed. I hope I have answered the question and did not go off on too many tangents.  If I failed please let me know david@thebuilderdepot.com if you liked it please let my boss know sales@thebuilderdepot.com. Thank you :)

Q4. Are the products per square foot or per piece?

This is on the product page right below the ‘sales price’.  For example, on the 3×6″ you would get eight tiles, the 3×8″ you would get six tiles, on the 6×12″ you get two tiles as the tiles get increase they work the opposite way.  For 12×24″ you get half a tile per square foot – please do not let this be a concern, just order what you need and we will round up to the nearest 12×24″ tile.  Our company will not cut in half and send you half a 12×24″ tile. Keep in mind, the mosaics are all sold per sheet. we try to make this process pretty self explanatory- on the 2″ Hexagon unlike most other suppliers our 2″ Carrara Hexagon is larger than a square foot.  The 1″ Carrara Venato Hexagon is 0.96SF per sheet, the Basketweave are all 1SF (it is easier on square tiles to be exact) the same for 1×1″ Square, 1×2″, 2×4″, and 2×2″ Square.  The trims are all sold per piece. Every trim is 12″ long so technically it is also sold per linear foot (a term used by many contractors).

Order Quantity

Q5. What does the packaging look like?

The packaging is quite impressive considering we are all about lowering the cost. Although this is true, in order to ensure that the marble makes it in all in one piece from Italy, then to Savannah,  and then from there  to our warehouse directly to your home, retail store or warehouse, we have taken some steps to take further care over the packaging. We are considerate not just for our warehouse workers, but for the end user packing almost all our products in boxes of 5SF.  This ensures the boxes are manageable and can be lifted easily (especially lugging it upstairs to the bathroom).

Bianco Carrara Stella Long Octagon Packaging (5SF to a box)

Q6. How long is the sample and order shipping time?

Estimated shipping time of your sample and actual order.  For faster shipments place the order online, then in the comments write please send me cost of 2-Day and Overnight shipping.  Or email your order confirmation to quick@thebuilderdepot.com to speed up your shipment leaving our warehouse (if possible).  Do not delay on order placing.  For complete orders please read this post about freight and ground shipping times.

Please wait until you receive the product before you arrange any contractors or installers to work on the products you have purchased from us. There are many variables in shipping we cannot control (weather for example and if we could believe me, we would not be selling marble) which may lead to potential delays. We make errors as well (they happen). Please wait until you have the product at your home, residence check it and then arrange a day with an installer.

Q7. How much additional product should we order?

Take a look at this scenario: you received your product four weeks ago.  It is now time for the installation process.  Your installer has found that cutting the Herringbone mosaic is trickier than planned, perhaps he/she drops a box of 6×12″ and now you need more product.  Paying for shipping is fa headache in itself, but if we run out of stock or we do not have the matching dye lot then that takes things to a whole new level of frustration.

To avoid this nightmare scenario just say you want to consider adding 20% extra to your order.  10% is for the cuts and waste on the immediate job.  The other 10% is insurance (we’ll explain that in a moment) may lead you too an overload of the product. In this situation, save it.  Something may happen in the future and you may need that matching tile.

The remaining 10% is for insurance.  If we were a “fly-by-night” company and had no plans to stick around, then this would be irrelevant. Having done this for decades and will continue on for decades, we have customers best needs at heart, and they continuously come back after years asking us if we have 10 square feet of 6×12″ that is from the same lot as their previous order.  They had to replace a shower head or some other minor change.  This resulted in tiles getting broken.  They need the 10 square feet to replace the damaged area.

This is YEARS ago.  I can guarantee you 100% we do not have a match. Times are changing, and it is our job to move ahead with that change.  Factories re-tool the marble cutting machines.  The dimensions of even the tile itself change by +/- 5mm.  At this point, the only chance of getting a perfect match is to get into the De Lorean and with the flex capacitor (I just wanted to say that “Marty, I’m sorry, but the only power source capable of generating 1.21 gigawatts of electricity is a bolt of lightning”) go back 5 years.  Read this post and order 20% extra :)

Every time the above nightmare scenario occurs (at least two times a month) for some reason we are somehow to blame.  We ask customers to order another 20%, not because we want to increase our sales by 20% but because we do not want the this terrible scenario to occur.  Our company has yet to fail anyone and we do come up with the matching product; however,  it does add time and additional shipping cost.  PLEASE ORDER 20% ADDITIONAL TILE WHEN PLACING YOUR ORDER.  Then you are covered and so are we from another panicked, “I didn’t order enough” email. Our company does put into consideration at all times what is best for the customer, and this is why we want to bring this forth to your knowledge.

We know this is counterintuitive to human nature.  The primary objective is to reduce costs.  Ordering more is paying more.  Our prices are incredible compared to the well-known premium retailers.  You have saved a lot already.  Ordering extra for insurance is a great insurance policy on your new bathroom.  If you do it will save us both a lot of time and heartache and also avoid the awkward email, when we say “we cannot match your marble from 10 years ago.”  Which no doubt will mostly result in anger.  Probably at us :(

A helpful answer?  Remove the Back to the Future quote?  Let us know your thoughts faqs@thebuilderdepot.com.  We are not journalists and without spell check we would be lost.  Any changes grammatical or otherwise are welcomed comments :)

Q8. How are your products shipped?

Samples are shipped USPS or UPS, either way you are provided a tracking number.  Your main order is shipped either freight LTL (Less than Truck Load) or UPS ground in boxes (roughly 10SF in a box).  Usually orders less than 60 to 70SF ship UPS ground, orders with more than 70SF ship freight.  (Wood Look Tile orders are an exception to the rule they can be shipped direct from 24 locations with the closest local shipper being used for example in Northeast/Northwest it maybe Pitt Ohio Freight).  The freight process is on a truck with a powered lift-gate to lower your shipment to ground level.  We break the freight process out for those not familiar with freight deliveries into more detail with a step by step guide here.  (A refresher course is always a good idea too).

Q9. How do I make a return?

Good question and so is looking at the return policy before buying anything.  We have it broken out into more detail with a “making a return guide” blog post.  (Just click the link).  As always any questions, comments or help with grammar :) (let us know).  Thank you!

Q10. What is the difference between Honed and Polished?

Honed is not as shiny as polished and lacks the reflective qualities that polished marble has.  To the touch, it is velvety and has a satin-smooth appearance.  Honed is more scratch resistance as it does not have a gloss finish like polished piece of marble.  This property was created because honed marble does not have the reflective surface like polished, consequently when light hits it the marble, scratches are more difficult to notice.  This is also true for watermarks and smudges- this makes it an overall lower maintenance product.

Polished looks incredibly regal or palatial.  The polishing process brings the full character and charm of the stone to the surface.  It gives the veining clarity that the honed does not have.  Polished marble has a smooth shiny surface almost mirror reflective with its glossy finish.  The polishing does create a level of protection (though the sealer should be doing this) for spills and liquids.  It still must be sealed.  Now should the sealer wear in places without you reapplying, you will get more resistance from the polished than you would the honed.

Q11. Do you have a Showroom?

We do not have a showroom and this is no accident :)  Showrooms add significant cost to the business and as with any business that cost is passed on through the cost of the product onto the consumer.

You can get an idea of how much cost by going into a traditional tile and stone retailer.  For example Basketweave Carrara (and I mean the real stuff from Italy) can cost twice as much as ours.

The other issue with a retail store is the catchment area, for over 90% of our customers (especially those overseas) coming to the showroom is not realistic the distance is just too far.  It is not fair that all those customers pay for a showroom that they would never visit. Given this and a strategy to offer the lowest price we have decided against having a showroom.

Being ‘local’ does have advantages, you can pick up your order, place a sample order online and then once you decide on your order place it online.  You can pick up the order from our warehouse (which is in a great spot), just select “local pickup Alpharetta” (picture of how to do it at checkout below) when you checkout.  We are friendly and helpful and you can look through the order before taking it home.

Local PickupHow to select local pick-up when ordering.

Q12. Does marble need to be sealed?

Yes, all natural stone polished or honed needs to be sealed.

Q13. Can the shipping be expedited?

I know, somehow the order was placed the last minute now you need the product tomorrow. What we can do is

  • if the order comes in before 10am EST ship it same day (assuming all in stock)
  • Ship in next day.  We will do all we can that we can control!

Then it is pick up by the freight company and not in our hands.

The products we sell are heavy.  A 50SF of mosaic can weight two hundred and fifty pounds and that would ship freight.  (A 20SF shipment could still weigh one hundred pounds and cost $500+ UPS next day air, so I am sure that is not an option either, otherwise you you would be paying $50.00SF from a local retailer).

If we are the only option (like you need a couple of matching pencils trims) please email us before 11am EST and we’ll get a overnight rate.   If we get it before 11am EST you can get the excess shipping charge paid, we can wrap it well can catch UPS that day.

Now back to the larger freight shipment that you need faster. Freight companies like UPS do not offer an expedited rate.

The only other option I can think of would be for you to hire a dedicated carrier, you can go to companies like uship.com and see what they will charge to pick up and drive the product to you.  My guess it would be over $1,000.

For us our freight option has one speed, UPS and R&L are the quickest (some can take 3-4 days longer) and this map is a good guideHowever there are a few things you can do to speed up the delivery to yourself:

Here is where you can get a jump on things and speed it up. There is a person sat in the terminal that waits for the shipments to arrive at the local terminal.  They then have a stack of paperwork/shipments to go through in the morning (every morning, every day) and call each customer to arrange delivery.  Where will you be on that stack – no idea? (Me neither). Will the person calling, wait until they have had a few cups of coffee, perhaps a doughnut, as you know some people are just not as motivated as others

If I wanted my shipment faster I would call the terminal (once the tracking number shows me it is getting to the terminal or at the terminal).  That phone call would jump me to the font of the line (I would also be super nice). That would then give me priority over all the other people waiting for their call.

I am sure you get the point. Please note shipment times are estimates.  If this shipment is “super time sensitive” whereby its delay will cost thousands or even hundreds of dollars, please do not order, do not put us in that position.  We have had this product in stock for over 10 years.  It could have been ordered weeks ago.  If it is really, really time sensitive buy locally where you are in control and can pick up the product yourself.

Q14. Can I recreate a HGTV or Magazine look?

Yes you can!  Today it is amazing we are bombarded by images of perfect bathrooms and Kitchens. Carrara bathrooms can add $35,000+ to the value of your home with a $5,000 investment in product and even with an installation cost can pay for itself and then some, there is even a show about it.  It is a great investment and you get to enjoy it as well.

But please note.  These perfect bathrooms were not created by ordering the exact amount of marble.  They significantly over order.  We worked with DIY Network and then over ordered by 30-40%, this allows them to pick through and remove any tiles that does not fit “the dream”.  They lay the tiles out before installing, step back and look, then they move some pieces around.  They do this until it looks perfect.  They number the wall and then number the back of the tiles.  Then they install.  They take a huge amount of time but the end result is perfection.

If you hire a non-certified marble installer (or a ceramic installer) he will just throw it up box to box and all over the place.  If you plan to hire that guy then you better get a comfy chair take a seat and micro-manage. Also be upfront with him, he will have priced the job as a ceramic throw on the wall in 2 hours and walk away job.  Not dry run, move things around creating a piece of art job (which marble is) that is why if you get quotes on installations they will be varied significantly.  Check if they are certified by the Institute of Marble of America, you have done well, saved a fortune on the product.  Do not let the installer destroy it, it is complex to install requires everything to be correct, you can read this blog and just one mistake and things changed so badly: http://www.dwellings-theheartofyourhome.com/2013/01/bath-remodel-good-ugly.html

The products we sell are so much lower than the local tile retailer, so if you want the perfect look you have to over order.  There will be waste.  You will discard tiles that do not fit the look you are going for.  Do not install box to box.  Lay it out, create the picture and then install.  This is part of your cost of the product, do not think of the 3×6″ Subway Venato as $7.00SF think of it as $9.00SF as you will have built in product to throw away.  Obviously the less perfection you require the lower the cost.  Please bear in mind, once installed no one ever looks at ‘1’ tile, they see a marble bathroom, they do not look at it 2″ from their nose like a sample.

Finally buying online is not for everyone (gasp….  I will be fired, don’t tell anyone I said that).  It is true.  This company was not created for everyone (just 80% of the $300bn market).  You cannot see a picture on Traditional Homes and Kitchen (unless it was one of the metal tiles which actually are on there that are the same overtime, glass tiles is another example) of a Carrara Bathroom, go online without a sample or asking for pictures and just order.  Then when it shows up and be surprised it is not exactly the same as the picture in the magazine. Or worse…  order it, leave on vacation and let the ceramic guy install it according to the “Plan” that was made.  That is like a General explaining the battle plans to a new recruit and then going off to the Bahama’s on the eve of battle, then being surprised upon your return to see it did not go as planned. Marble is never the same, that is the beauty of it, your bathroom even from the same quarry in Italy will be different to someone else’s they are all unique. It is not a fabricated product, for that you need a Carrara Porcelain.  Where every tile repeats 1 in 8 times (that would drive me nuts a big spot the difference/matching pairs game).

If you examine every tile 2 inches from your nose, require water jet cut edges, have ‘OCD’ (you know who you are) then go into a retailer. One of the very expensive ones where you can pay the $50-100 a Square Foot price (just for the products) and then hire their designers to create your masterpiece according to your exact specifics.  Yes be prepared to hand over tens of thousands of dollars. Increasing or decreasing depending on your specs.

If you are in this group buying online is not for you, if you are one of these people but can get to Alpharetta then you can buy it, pick it up and before taking it home look at it.  Many do every week without issue, this customer picked up her 3×6″ polished Venato backsplash and it is spectacular, it could not be better.

Q15. What are the top 5 mistakes people make?

Please note these are in no particular order:

#1. Setting up installers before getting the product.  People sometimes see the shipping time and book the installation “Team” to be there on the ETA provided by UPS Freight.  The three letter abbreviation of ETA is ‘Estimated Time of Arrival” and Estimated is the key.  It does not mean it is showing up on that date.  Anything can happen during transit.  Weather.  Traffic.  Any number of uncontrollable events can impact your shipment.  Wait until you have it.  Then check it, then call for the “Crew” to install.

Otherwise the “Crew” could be sat around on that day of the “ETA” with nothing to do and you would have to pay them.  Please do not call us demanding that we pay your crew because it was not on the day of the ETA, it is an ETA.  If we could control all aspects of the roads, weather, etc and get it to you on an exact date none of us would be here.  Because we would have just invented a new and very clever machine.  Teleportation.

#2. Not being there. Order the tile to be shipped to your “summer home” have your guy who does not deal with tile receive it.  Have your installer show up (an unqualified marble installer) and go by the plan you and he sketched out a month ago.  You need to be there, you need to be involved.  Do not then after winter arrive at your “summer home” to find things not as you expected.  The Hexagon that was supposed to go on the floor is on the ceiling for example.

#3. No sealer used.  You have to seal all natural stone. A lot of tile guys have just had enough when they have completed the job, they want the rest of their money and they want out.  The pub is calling :)  It is an exhausting job.  The thought of sealing all the tile is not a nice one. You cannot see a sealer very well.  So they just skip it. Or try and tell you it is polished and polished tile does not need sealing. This is a lie.  They just want to make it to Happy Hour. Natural Stone must be sealed.

This is how I approach it. “I went online and found this sealer called Bullet Proof by DuPont it is really well rated and one that I will have to use again in 3-5 years.”  I have never sealed tile before.  Would you mind awfully if I watched how a professional does the sealing.  You now solve two issues A) You get to secretly micro-manage the sealing and B) You will know how to do it when it is your turn.  Do follow the instructions on the sealer.

#4. Not ordering enough. This tile is no doubt about it, is a fantastic deal. Incredible prices, so much so we had to write how we are able to do it. But do not take it as an opportunity to try and order the ‘exact amount’ and not over spend by $1.00. Do over order.  Consider 15-20%.  It is still a great deal.  Save the extra.  Many customer come back years later after installing a new glass door or changed something and tile has cracked.  They need the matching lot, from five years ago.  We do not have it. You at the time of ordering had the chance to have it nicely stored in the attic. Carrara bathrooms can add $35,000+ to a property value, investing a few extra hundred dollars in some back up tiles is a great insurance policy.  For you or the next home owner (how about that for a nice sales feature when you come to sell your home, just incase you wish to make any changes we have the exact lot of 30SF in the attic).

#5. Wrong ship to address. Amazing the number of people that order 3,000Lbs of stone and do not check the ship to location.  I need not go into detail on this one, but the percentage is very, very high.

And finally I am just putting this one in call it #5.5. Not blending the tiles or doing  dry run.  The fastest way for the installer to do his job, get paid and get on to the next job, is to just go from box to box and throw it down. No, no, no…..  you want to pull from different boxes, do a dry run, make sure it looks right before you stick it down.  Not after. Blend the tile my young Padawan. Take your time. Be a Jedi of marble installation. Or at the very least install marble as it should be. You should have been paid to install marble tile. Not ceramic tile. You were paid more because the job is incredibly more complex and requires more skill. There are certifications. A number of steps that must be done. If these are skills you do not possess please do not take the customers money. (If the installer is really cheap this is a red flag).

Need More?  We have a movie…..

5 Responses to FAQ

  1. Pingback: Herringbone with Wood Look Tile | the builder depot

  2. Linda Graham says:

    Do you have a showroom in GA or TN?

    • Hello and Thank you for your question.

      We do not and this is part of our lower cost strategy. This is answered partly in “how are your products so cheap”. We estimate that a showroom would cost us/you (our customers) an additional $5.00 to $10.00SF onto the cost of the product. With insurance, renovation, etc.

      We have found our customers prefer to order a sample for $5.00SF and pay $10.95SF for an mosaic instead of seeing it in a showroom and paying $20.95SF. Any questions please let us know questions@thebuilderdepot.com

  3. Pingback: Happy 4th of July! | the builder depot blog

  4. Pingback: Carrara Venato Bathroom – Customer Pictures | the builder depot blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,074 other followers

%d bloggers like this: