What Home Depot Employees Won't Tell You

According to ToughNickel, international home improvement superstore Home Depot is known for its pretty great working conditions, as far as retail goes. This is because the chain offers higher pay than most other retail outlets, paid vacation for part-time workers (which is almost unheard of in the sector), as well as a friendly environment for most employees with lots of opportunities for advancement within the company.

The store is also famous for its varied selection of items for purchase. According to The Family Handyman, you can purchase anything from paint to spruce up your living room's walls to coyote pee to keep pests off of your property. The retail giant holds many untold truths and has seen its fair share of employee scandals, missteps in public relations, and even mismanagement of natural disasters. It's easy enough to learn about the scandalous history of Home Depot online, but when it comes to the little-known secrets of the home improvement superstore, things get a bit tricker. But don't worry, because we've found out everything that Home Depot employees won't tell you.

They can actually price match anything

Did you know that Home Depot will actually price match anything? If they sell it and you find it cheaper anywhere else, you've just stumbled into some significant savings. According to Architectural Digest, all you have to do is bring written proof of the price into the store. This could be anything from a screenshot of the other store's website, an email or printed newsletter, or even an ad in the local paper if you're really old school. Take the proof to a guest services representative, and you'll be given an additional 10% off the price for having to go through all the trouble.

Price matching can be a little trickier when shopping online, as you can't just type in "I found it cheaper at Lowe's" as a coupon at checkout. You'll need to reach out to customer service and provide proof digitally. For online price matching, the store will not give you the additional 10% off, but they will cover the entire cost of shipping, which we still think is pretty great.

Keep your receipt for any plants you buy

If you don't really have a green thumb but still want to give the whole garden thing a go, then Architectural Digest recommends that you keep your receipts for anything you purchase from Home Depot's garden center that's alive. That's because the store has a one-year warranty on most plants and flowers. So, if you somehow manage to kill a succulent, or your flowers never really take root at home, don't worry.

If you can manage to bring in the tattered remains of your beloved plant and your receipt, then you'll at least get your money back for up to 365 whole days. You can use the refund to reinvest in your garden and hope that things go better this time, or perhaps take on another DIY project that doesn't involve live plants. Whatever you decide, you can rest easy knowing that starting a home garden with the help of Home Depot is a relatively risk-free endeavor.

You don't have to buy equipment for projects

Picture this: You're moving out of a rental property and desperately need your carpets cleaned in order to get back your security deposit. Or maybe your Homeowner's Association has sent you another nasty letter about mildew on your home's siding. But you don't own a carpet cleaning machine, nor a power washer, and it's not really in your budget to buy one just for this one chore. If you can't borrow one from family or friends, what are you supposed to do?

Well, the great thing is that the Home Depot corporate website has all the terms and conditions for renting heavy equipment on a case-by-case basis. You'll just need to be over 18, have a state-issued ID, and a credit card to cover the deposit. So there is never really a reason to buy one of these machines unless you anticipate frequent use. If that's the case, you can also seek to purchase an older model used for renting at a lower price. It's not always the case, but you can save some significant money by asking.

If the lumber is marked purple, it's basically free

If you need lumber for a project but have a small budget, there is no need to worry. Home Depot employees will never actually tell you this, but according to The Krazy Coupon Lady, all you have to do is find the lumber section of your local Home Depot, then look for a bin that's usually towards the back of the store. When you find it, the wood should all have purple paint marks on it. These pieces are typically up to 70% off, so depending on your project, it's a great deal.

Not every single Home Depot location is likely to have this bin. Additionally, because it's filled with miss-cuts and other bits of unwanted wood, its contents can vary greatly from day to day. So, to really get the best deal, you might need to be patient and make multiple trips to the store to see what is available. But for such a great discount, it's definitely worth it.

You don't ever need to pay full price for paint

Home Depot has an entire section of returned paint. Maybe the paint was not quite the right tint, or perhaps the customer picked the wrong finish, but whatever the reason, it can no longer be sold at full price. This is because the paint is technically custom-made, so Home Depot puts it in a section called "Oops!" and sells it for significant discounts.

According to Hunker, the process of getting your hands on one isn't difficult at all. All you have to do is ask at the counter in the paint department. They might have it there, or they will direct you to a nearby shelf where you can pick out your favorite color. Like the lumber bins, the inventory in this section will vary greatly depending on the time of year and the climate of the local DIY market. But it's worth checking out the Oops! section to see if there are any colors you might like before buying anything full price. This is because you can get a gallon for as little as $5 and a pint for just $1. You aren't going to find those prices anywhere else.

They're actually authorized to give you up to $50 off

The squeaky wheel always gets the grease, and Home Depot employees will never tell you this, but in this case, the grease is up to $50 off your purchases. So, the right amount of charm might net you a great discount. According to Toni Rose, a Quora user who worked at the store, many don't know this discount is available, but it's still important not to abuse it. You can't just say at the checkout, "Hey, give me $50 off, please."

However, if there is any damage to the products you are trying to purchase, you're making a return and have had to really go out of your way, or if something has otherwise gone terribly wrong, then you are within your rights to say something. Instead, you can ask something like, "what can you do for me here?" while holding in your mind that they can actually "do" about $50.

You can even get a post-sale refund

While it's always a great idea to keep an eye on ads that Home Depot and other home improvement stores run to make sure you get the best price possible, you don't actually have to be that vigilant if you are a faithful Home Depot shopper. According to Consumer Reports, if something goes on sale after you buy it, you don't lose out on any savings. All you have to do is take your receipt back to the store to receive the difference.

However, there are a few restrictions on the policy. You'll need to report most items within 90 days, so if it goes on sale after 91, you're out of luck. For appliances, that number is just 30 days. The deal also doesn't apply to things that were on clearance (if it's further marked down, you just miss out), seasonal items, and anything that you had custom-made.

You can save more by not shopping in person

Home Depot employees wouldn't point this out, but if you keep a close eye on the store's website, you can actually score better deals than in-store. The Special Buy of the Day is a short-lived online-only supersaver event. According to the store's website, every 24 hours, Home Depot chooses a certain item to receive a steep discount. The item will change the next day, and the deal will be gone forever.

It's easy to find the deal. You just need to navigate to the Special Buys section of the store's website and make your final choice before midnight PST. Because the deals are so good, there are purchase limits on the number of each item you can get with the deal, normally up to two. Past deals have included small household appliances, vacuums and other cleaning products, as well as small hardware items, like faucets.

Your kids can learn DIY skills for free

You might not know it, but if you get down to your local Home Depot early enough on the first Saturday of the month, you can get a free kiddie construction set. According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, you'll need to check with your local store to ensure the exact schedule, but most stores begin passing out kits as early as 9 am, and they are so popular that they are typically out of stock by noon.

Some Home Depot locations also offer the workshops live and in person, in which case you can contact your local store to arrange a spot for your child. If you miss out, whether online or in person, and you still would like a chance to build the likes of a wooden lawnmower and other fun toys, you can keep your eye on the Home Depot website. The kits are typically available for purchase later in the month, after they have had a chance to be restocked.

The Home Depot will actually cut your lumber twice for free

If you are building a shed in your backyard, a crib for a new addition, or need some wood for a hobby of yours, according to FeltMagnet, Home Depot is here to help. The store's lumber section team is authorized to cut your lumbar up to two times without incurring any charges. In some cases, if you ask nicely, they'll even give you three shots. This is a great option if you don't trust yourself with a table saw and want a professional to look at things.

However, something to keep in mind is that the main purpose of the Home Depot wood cutting service is to help you get things started on sizing your lumbar, as well as making the beams small enough to fit into your vehicle for transport. The fine detailing might need to be done at home.

Sales at Home Depot are actually really predictable

If you're trying to get the best deal on items from Home Depot and don't feel like going through the hassle of getting the sale price refunded after the fact, you're still in luck. According to Groupon, Home Depot has plenty of sales throughout the year, and they are nearly the same each year. So, depending on what you want to buy, it's easy enough to time your purchases accordingly if you have the wiggle room to plan ahead.

For example, Christmas and other winter decorations always go on sale on December 26th, so if you need something new for the following year, you can play the long game and get a great deal. It's the same for the rest of the major holidays throughout the year, like Memorial Day, Presidents Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. To stay in the know for what's on sale and when, you can subscribe to Home Depot's email newsletter, or receive local ads in the mail, too.

They can give you free moving boxes

If you check Home Depot's website, you'll see that the retail chain sells boxes of all sizes. They aren't that expensive and usually run a few dollars each. However, you don't actually need to buy any. That is, if you are good at asking for things nicely. According to Unpakt, if you want boxes to help with your big move, or even to store items in the basement, all you have to do is ask.

Whether or not you come home with any is a different story depending on a few things. If they've just got a shipment in and have unloaded the truck already, then it's likely the store will have plenty to spare and have no problem passing them along to you. However, if the truck's still full or hasn't even come in yet, the store probably won't have many spares lying around. It also depends on the attitude of the employee you speak to and their willingness to help. Since Home Depot has multiple locations in larger cities, you can also try your luck with asking at different stores if you really want to.

They actually have a secret pricing structure

Home Depot employees would never let you in on this little secret, but the inventory of the entire store follows a very specific pricing structure that gives you lots of insider information about the product. For example, a former employee using a fake name told Rather-Be-Shopping that if a price ends in .06, there are about six more weeks until the item's price drops again. These price tags are easy to spot because they are typically bright yellow.

The store also has other pricing codes too. If a price ends in .03, it means that it's already been lowered from .06 and didn't sell, so now it has about three weeks before it's either put on clearance or removed from the floor altogether. These lower prices are also printed on bright yellow paper, making them relatively easy to spot. However, if it's an item you want that ends in .06 or .03, don't pass it up because if you wait too long, somebody else might snatch it up.

Anyone can use the Pro Desk

The Home Depot Pro Desk is not actually as intimidating as it might seem. That is because, contrary to popular belief, it's not just for general contractors and their teams, but for the use of the general public, too. According to Scorpion, if you are working on a project at home that might require any sort of purchase in bulk, you are losing money by not signing up.

The program runs in three tiers: bronze, silver, and gold. While private homeowners are less likely to need the benefits above bronze, if your project is big enough, it's still possible. You can get access to bulk discounts of 10% on any purchases over $2,000 at the bronze level. The savings just keep piling up after that. If you are a gold member, you can get up to 20% off purchases over $7,500. The Pro Desk also has a private check-out line, better delivery options, and support purchasing for hard-to-find items that Home Depot might not typically carry. So, depending on the size of your project, as well as the frequency with which you shop at Home Depot, it can definitely be worth it.