A century ago, in North Carolina, a small hardware store opened for the first time.
It was called North Wilkesboro Hardware and it continued along successfully until the death of the owner, Lucius Lowe, in 1940.
After his son took over, the store eventually grew to several locations in the region during the construction boom post-WWII.
By the 60s, Lowe’s went public and was traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
During this period, Lowe’s grocery stores were also lumped in with the hardware store.
With such a storied history and access to those building supplies, Lowe’s seems like an interesting place to work.
We’ll find out here as we explore the pros and cons of working at Lowe’s.
Pros of Working at Lowe’s
To begin with, Lowe’s is a fantastic place to work if you find yourself particularly handy.
Got a project at home you’ve been working on?
Enjoy a 10% discount on supplies as an employee at Lowe’s.
The discount doesn’t stop there.
Several times throughout the year, the discount gets much deeper.
This is great money-saving but also is a great way to learn more about the products at the store.
Aside from health insurance, other benefits include adoption assistance, tuition reimbursement, and domestic services.
2. Competitive Pay
Lowe’s strives to be the industry leader in more than just home improvement.
While not everyone in any business will be happy with what they are getting paid, Lowe’s has a majority of content employees.
This is another smart way to keep good workers around for longer.
If you are treated right and paid fairly, you’ll be less likely to leave for a similar brand.
This positive feeling toward pay comes from the retail workers up through the corporate offices.
3. Advancement Opportunities
Someone who gets their foot in the door as a cashier, for example, has the chance to explore a multitude of job titles during their tenure.
Lowe’s encourages employees to follow their interests.
Thanks to Lowe’s University, learning is accessible and helps you move around.
The opportunities don’t end at Lowe’s.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of working at Lowe’s is the partner apprenticeship program.
If an employee finds a particular interest in a skilled trade, Lowe’s will pair that person with a local business so they can learn in real-time.
Talk about opening doors.
The goal in a retail space is to have managers that are part of the group.
When the front end is backed up or when there’s no one in a department to help, managers should jump in to assist.
On busy days, everyone at every level treats the situation as all hands on deck.
This isn’t the case at every store but it is something that Lowe’s tries to push as part of company culture.
Another positive of the management is that they routinely offer feedback.
The higher-ups want the retail space to be a supportive environment where employees can trust their managers to listen.
5. Flexible Schedules
If you have special schedule needs, Lowe’s is a great place to be accommodated.
The store is typically open 12 hours a day.
So, if you need to work mornings and leave early to pick up children or take a family member to appointments, there’s flexibility.
If you have classes in the morning, students can work in the afternoon and early evening.
The best part is, even if you work the late shift, you won’t be working all night.
There is still plenty of time left in the evening to get homework done, spend with family, or just enjoy free time.
6. Customer Service Skills
If there’s anything that most definitely will improve during a career at Lowe’s, it’s customer service skills.
There’s nothing like a stint in retail that will give you a new perspective on people as a whole.
For whatever reason, customers at Lowe’s tend to be on the more reasonable side, in comparison to a home goods store.
Maybe that’s because people going to a home improvement store are there for a very specific reason.
More direction and less arguing is the way to go.
Either way, you get to broaden your understanding of patience, listening, and being helpful.
7. Break Time
In retail, break time is sacred.
Everyone needs short intervals to decompress throughout the day, especially on weekends and busy seasons.
There are many stores out there that gladly skip over breaks for a variety of reasons.
Lowe’s is not one of them.
For every four hours, employees are entitled to a 15-minute break.
So, if you’re working a full eight-hour shift, you’ll get an hour lunch break plus two 15-minute breaks.
It’s easier to feel refreshed throughout the day when there are pockets of freedom to look forward to.
Cons of Working at Lowe’s
1. Corporate Too Removed
Corporate has placed many helpful policies in place to make working for Lowe’s great.
However, it does seem that sometimes they overstep.
For store employees, some of the policies aren’t conducive to hands-on work.
It seems like the people making these changes have never worked in a retail setting in their lives.
Getting directions from executives who are out of touch is not only annoying, but it has a negative impact on morale.
2. Lack of Help
One of those directives is for store management to be conservative on the number of employees at any given time.
It’s understandable that companies want to stay within budgets.
It’s insane that they want to do that by not hiring enough employees to keep things flowing appropriately.
A big pitfall is a weekend.
From Friday through Sunday, the store is overrun with people looking to find materials for home projects.
This is different from the business during the week, which often consists of construction professionals.
Having fewer employees will ultimately leave customers frustrated.
3. Long Hours
Another negative about Lowe’s not hiring as many people as they should be is that it bleeds back onto current employees.
The schedules aren’t worked out in a way that makes sense and it often ends up stretching staff too thin.
Full-time workers end up working longer work days to cover the gaps between shifts.
Those gaps wouldn’t need to be there if more of the time on the clock was covered.
This is another part about the store that executives haven’t experienced, but should.
4. Little Training
The irony of this con is that there is an entire Lowe’s University at the employee’s disposal.
Training could be leaps and bounds better.
Problems are more likely to start when a new employee comes on.
Perhaps due to the lack of floor staff, managers don’t have sufficient time to spend going through everything.
So, a little too quickly, new hires are left to figure many things out alone.
5. Sales Pressure
You know those pesky store credit cards you can’t use anywhere else outside of those stores?
Lowe’s is definitely part of that club.
Higher-ups are big on wanting every customer possible to have one.
That responsibility is placed firmly on the retail workers.
They are supposed to be pushing that card on every employee for every transaction, even after the customer declines.
6. Part-Time Employees
The hours are long and schedules can be wonky for some.
For others, part-timers, it can be especially tough.
To keep part-time, employees can’t get over a certain number of hours.
That includes when the hours are clearly there to give.
Benefits and other perks come into play more for full-time workers, so it can be tough for part-timers to move to full-time.
This could help the shortage, but it’s all about numbers, right?
7. Technology Needed
Lowe’s is about hands-on projects.
Maybe that’s why they have bypassed upgrading the technology.
Devices used by floor staff are slow and not as up-to-date as they need to meet the customer’s demands.
This includes technology in the offices and beyond.
Equipping workers with better technology might help alleviate some of the other problems as well.
14 Pros and Cons of Working for Lowe’s – Summary Table
|Pros of Working at Lowe's||Cons of Working at Lowe's|
|1. Benefits||1. Corporate Too Removed|
|2. Competitive Pay||2. Lack of Help|
|3. Advancement Opportunities||3. Long Hours|
|4. Management||4. Little Training|
|5. Flexible Schedules||5. Sales Pressure|
|6. Customer Service Skills||6. Part-Time Employees|
|7. Break Time||7. Technology Needed|
Should You Work for Lowe’s?
Working at Lowe’s can be a great way to share a handiness skill as well as expand upon it.
Discounts never hurt, either.
However, before applying for any position at Lowe’s, it’s important for candidates to examine what they want out of a career path.
For some, working in the store would be a dream.
For others, corporate work is the perfect place to use their education.
While there are plenty of aspects the management can work on, there is good growth and staying power at Lowe’s.
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