Hacks That Will Change The Way You Shop At Menards

Menards prides itself on customer service, but they are first and foremost a home improvement store. The signature green logo once indicated a place to merely purchase lumber and other building materials, but the business has expanded over the years to now offer a little bit of everything in various departments, according to Menards. Flooring, plumbing, cabinets, electrical, and paint are all at your fingertips if you're working on a home improvement or a DIY project. But don't let the comparison to Home Depot and Lowes sway you. Menard's range of products even include jewelry, books, groceries, and decor.

The store is known for discounted prices and pays special attention to customer service. The family-operated business has come a long way since opening, and the stores are so big now that they can be somewhat overwhelming. Follow these hacks and you'll be an expert the next time you stop in a location, or browse Menard's website. There's a lot to explore and even more ways to shop smarter.

The history of Menards

The whimsical bubble letters and the bright green color haven't always been part of the company's brand, but in the past 60 years, the store has become recognizable and well-known for its low, discount prices. According to Forbes, Menards was first created by John Menard in 1958, and in 2020 brought in approximately $11.8 billion in revenue. The first location was in Eau Claire, Wyoming, but there are now over 300 stores in the U.S.

Mendard started the company as a way to bring in money while he was attending school, but the business quickly expanded (via Menards). After John graduated, the business began to really take shape. Customers were looking for a place to buy lumber and building materials at the time, and Menard took advantage of the demand. Menard Cashway Lumber was born and would ultimately become the home improvement store, Menards, we all know today.

Understanding this home improvement store

What separates this store from its many competitors are its wide range of products and their low prices. The company's slogan is "Save BIG Money," and the word big is always in all-capital letters. The catchy and appealing slogan is known best in the center of the country, from Wyoming to Ohio, where the stores are prominently located (via Menards). If it doesn't sound familiar to you, then you probably live outside the Midwest. Despite the many stores that are already located throughout the area, there are still new stores popping up every year, and you never know when one could open near you.

The company embodies a start-to-finish attitude when it comes to service. Customers love Menards for their high value items, but the store also offers several services that help its buyers plan and design their projects, calculate their budget, and more. The website hosts how-to videos and buying guides for big and small home improvement projects that are free for everyone, and stick to the ethos of great customer service.

Use their project center tool

If you are a frequent shopper, or if you want to take advantage of the design guides that Menards has available, then you should create an account and utilize the Project Center portion of the website. The "Design & Buy" section has several options in varying departments for designing your projects from start to finish. These free tools are convenient, and if you create an account, you can save your ideas, make buying lists, and come back to it all later. The Project Center resource offers advice and help related to building, decks and fencing, landscaping, doors, windows, cabinets, countertops, garage doors, engineered wood projects, and more. It also provides information about the helpful in-store programs. Menards kiosks can be the first step to several estimates.

Visualizing is important with any project. It can help you to get the feel for what the end result will be, to save money, avoid mistakes, and to just get good old inspiration. Use the roofing and siding visualizer to evaluate your curb appeal and choose the right style for you. The color visualizers can help you match and choose colors. Be careful not to get overwhelmed though. If you think the Menards store has a lot of options, the visualizer has even more, and that can be a lot to take in. The kitchen designer is another awesome tool, but once you see what your kitchen could look like, you might find it hard to limit the possibilities.

The Menards buying guides and what you need to know

There are endless articles online today about home improvement and DIY projects, but the Menards buying guides are specifically geared toward Menards shoppers. That means that once you decide on a project, you can learn how to accomplish it and know exactly what supplies you'll need. For example, if you're shopping for appliances, you can compare and contrast prices, learn about the different styles, the many features available, and the most common brands — all before you even hit the store. These educational materials contribute to the team's commitment to customer service.

From professional to personal, there are guides for nearly every aspect of home improvement. Whether you fancy yourself an expert, or need to start with the basics, the buying guides cover a lot. The building materials guide offers a drywall section that breaks down different options and explains the additional materials you'll need to install drywall (via Menards). Just a few clicks away, there's a roof truss guide, a panel buying guide, and you can learn how to repair your walls as well. The comprehensive collection of info is ideal for most buyers. Lastly, the website also offers printable buying guides for convenience. Carry your print-out with you as you shop and while you work on the project. Everything from handy checklists to how-to instructions and videos are right at your fingertips.

Getting a Menards card

There are various credit cards to choose from, according to Menards, whether you're the average buyer, a contractor, or a commercial builder. The three different cards are suitable for three different types of buyers. The BIG Card is geared towards everyday shoppers, and can earn you a 2% rebate on purchases, or grant you access to various financing deals. Additionally, you'll get a 1% rebate for certain brands of gasoline. Buyers are required to earn at least $5 in rebates before their account is in good-standing.

The Menards Contractor card can also earn you a 1% rebate on particular brands of gasoline. With this card you'll qualify for 2% rebates on store purchases, which are granted as merchandise certificates. Airfare benefits are also available, but you'll need to provide valid information about your legal business to get approved.

The Commercial Card is for business needs, such as authorized employee purchaser cards, managing your account online 24/7, and there's no annual fee. This card is also has perks designed specifically for commercial businesses. Payment options for this card are decided up front and cannot be changed individually based on the transaction.

Visit the Surplus Store for extra savings

If you're not shopping at the Menards Surplus Store, located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, then you're missing out on some big savings — especially on commercial and industrial equipment (via Menards). If you're lucky enough to live close by, this could be an essential stop on your list of things to do. If you're located somewhere else, it may just be worth a trip out of town. The Surplus Store is an extension of the business, and it offers a wide selection of used and new products. Power tools, plumbing, office furniture, forklifts, HVACs, commercial lighting, cleaning supplies, and more can be found for a discounted price at the store.

The Surplus Store works on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is no easy way to browse what is available online. The items move quickly and nothing is guaranteed at this location. The store is also full of sample items that are subject to prior sales and there are no returns or refunds on these deals. Shop mindfully and take advantage of extra savings, but be wary of tempting sales on items that you don't need. 

Shop Ray's list and save even more

Ray's List is another opportunity for big savings at Menards that you don't want to overlook. This section of the company's website is similar to the Surplus Store or the clearance aisle, but better. According to Menards, on Ray's List, you can sort by the store located nearest to you and find everything from unclaimed special orders, store display models, and even slightly used items that only have minor flaws (but still work great).

The List displays all of the in-store bargains, but you can do it all from the comfort of your home while watching TV, or while on the move. The List often has appliances, bath items, electrical products, decor, kitchen items, paint, and much more. The best way to use Ray's List is to browse it occasionally for great savings, or simply check the List before you hit the store. This will lead to great deals, easier shopping experiences, and big savings. What's great is Ray's List is easy to navigate with ways to sort the products available. Search by price discounts, brands, product types, categories, and availability options too. For example, some items are only eligible for in-store pickup, while others can be shipped to a store near you or directly to your home.

My Project Gallery and how to apply

My Project Gallery is the perfect inspiration for builders, buyers, and home improvers. According to Menards, you can easily upload photos of finished or in-progress projects to the My Project Gallery section of the website. In addition, each month, the site displays the winning project, and if you qualify, you can be in the running for a $100 Menards gift card to fuel your next project. The monthly winner is eligible if the person is 18 years or older and a U.S. resident. Businesses and commercial projects are not eligible for this program. Unfortunately, your project is not guaranteed a coveted spot on the website and homeowners can only win once every twelve months to keep things fair. My Project Center is meant to highlight the materials, programs, and other resources available at Menards. This was designed to help future designers and builders the same way a buying guide does. You can browse the projects based on the room or area of a home, or you can explore by contest winners.

Submitting a project is easy via an online portal that requires only a few details. You'll need to include some personal information, and then answer a few questions about your project, the materials you used, and what makes your project stand out. From there you can upload pictures and wait to hear the results. Don't forget to upload several pictures of the project. You should include before and after shots, as well as pictures of the different stages of the process (via Menards).

Take advantage of weekly sales

Each week, Menards releases a comprehensive sales paper that is great for ideas and inspiration, as well as price information. According to Menards, the paper covers nearly every department in the store, breaks down special sales, and displays clearly and concisely what is on sale and for how much. There's also a convenient feature section that lets you know at first sight what to expect each week. In addition, you can save even more if you combine other sales and promotions with the weekly rebate (via Weekly Ads & Sales). The rebate discount is only valid when you shop in a physical store, and it must be used on products that are in-stock and cannot be used in conjunction with other special offers, coupons, or discounts. Propane, delivery services, rental items, and KeyMe are also excluded, so you should double check all exceptions prior to using the rebate. Some sales run for several months or are even extended for longer than originally planned. In short, if you plan to shop at Menards, make sure to visit the weekly ad page — this will guide your shopping and lead to some big savings! 

Upload your blueprints and take your project to the next level

Menards is geared toward customer service, and that means supporting a builder's project from start to finish, especially related to roofing and flooring truesses. That's where Midwest Manufacturing comes in: The company's headquarters are also in Eau Claire, WI, and they've partnered with Menards to assist with building and home improvement projects. Their unique option to upload your blueprints is ideal for getting quotes, assessing designs, and getting overall feedback about your project or design.

The process is simple. Once your blueprints are ready, you visit the Menards website. Locate the Help drop down option, and from there, find Blueprint Upload — you'll then be directed to the Midwest Manufacturing site. The platform is easy to use and requires you to upload your digital blueprint files, or you can bring your paper documents to a nearby location. Then you'll need to fill out the request form, which covers roof and floor trusses, I-joists, tall walls, and metal roofing. You'll need to provide some details including information about energy heels, spacing and dimensions, bearing walls, and more. Once you specify the project you're working on, the form is easy to follow and will gather all of the information necessary. You can email or upload the form and Midwest Manufacturing will get back to you shortly with a quote and details about your specific project.

UCreate makes your renovation simple

Exclusively at Menards, there's a program called UCreate that is free and can assist you during your cabinetry-related home improvement project. The program allows you to enter exact dimensions, the shape of your space, any windows and doors, and then build your cabinets with those precise details. This is great for preparing measurements and materials, but it also allows you to visualize the project before making any purchases. Test out different styles and colors to bring your project to life on your computer screen. 

The process of designing a room is helpful, but it can be time consuming and frustrating if you aren't precise. The best way to start is with the basics, like the shape of your room, and from there, enter in the dimensions and easily add fixtures such as posts, soffit, bathtubs, toilets, and other appliances. The next step is to choose a brand, which will depend on whether you're working on kitchen cabinets, closets, or storage. Choosing the cabinet color and the door style is an easy next step because of the detailed photos that represent each option on the website. Once you've chosen your style, you can really get into the details of trying out each individual section of cabinets and pieces. Easily move them around the room, explore the dimensions, and know the price as you go. If something doesn't fit, you will be met with a bright yellow warning message that will show you in detail what isn't working. You can also view the room from different angles, remove and add features, rotate the cabinets, and find model numbers in the program.

How to navigate local utility rebates at Menards

The local utility rebates available on the Menards website are another way to save big. The site filters items in your area and displays mainly larger appliances that are close by and eligible for rebates. Use the website to see what is available and what savings are expected. Then browse the product page — which may take you to a third party site — to learn more about that individual product. Find everything from installation requirements, proof of payment requirements, claim-by dates, and the price before you submit online. Once you're sure the product is a good fit, you can click the green Submit Online button, which will take you directly to the website that is offering the product. You will then need to apply or submit more information before you are approved. The rebate program allows buyers to save more money. This applies especially to larger, more commercial items that are expensive and complex equipment, such as water heaters, broilers, fireplaces, furnaces and more.