I recently went on a Home Depot store tour in Madison, Wis., with Renee Swanson, Home Depot regional Pro Sales manager for the Northern Plains region, and one of the Madison store’s pro account representatives, Jack Hindert. They showed me the services Home Depot offers its contractor customers through First for Pro, a program initially launched in 2010 but one the company is continuously improving and expanding. First for Pro is available in all of Home Depot’s nearly 2,000 stores nationwide and caters to professionals involved in remodeling, homebuilding, painting and other construction trades.
Swanson says pros make up 4% of Home Depot’s customer base but account for 30% of the company’s sales. First for Pro is designed to save the company’s best customers time and streamline their shopping experiences. “Our pro customers tell us they want to work with store employees who know them and their businesses,” Swanson says. “But most importantly, they want fast service. Time is money, and they want to be in and out.”
The initiatives offered are in response to customer feedback Home Depot received through more than 72,000 “voice of the customer” satisfaction surveys. Some of the First for Pro services:
- Pro check out. Dedicated pro check-out staff works the pro area every day, developing relationships with repeat customers and offering speedy, professional service.
- Pro parking. Pro users can take advantage of under-canopy parking at the designated pro entrance for easy loading. There are also special “Pro Parking” spots in the lot near the Pro entrance.
- Pro loader. A full-time employee is available 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. to help pro customers load purchases into their vehicles.
- Order call in. With a 2-hour lead time, contractors can call, email or fax in an order, and Home Depot employees will pull the order and have it ready for payment and pick-up when the contractor arrives. Home Depot employees can also process payment in the parking lot with a credit card.
- 'Buy Online and Pickup In Store.' BOPIS for short. Pros can order and pay through a mobile app or computer and pick up at the store.
- Delivery. Orders placed the previous day will be delivered within a designated two-hour window.
- Tool rental and repair. Most Home Depot stores have tool rental centers, which also offer small equipment repair by in-house technicians.
- Free coffee and water. A nice perk for contractors on the go.
The majority of Home Depot’s Pro customers are associated with the property improvement and remodeling industries, although there are products and equipment for other trades like painters, roofers, landscapers and even concrete contractors. Just a few of the available products concrete contractors will find at Home Depot include woodworking tools and dimensional lumber for form building, Marshalltown hand tools, Quikrete materials, safety equipment and PPE, power tools, and diamond blades.