Alistair has been working in home improvement for ten years.
Where Should I Start With The Home Depot?
Everyone begins differently, but eight years ago, I was 24 years old and entirely too enthused to be cashiering. In my six months as a cashier, I handled plenty of angry contractors and elderly ladies. Initially, I made $0.25 above minimum wage as well.
As much as I enjoyed cashiering, better opportunities are plentiful at the Orange Box. From there, I was approached by the merchandising execution team, known as MET. I transferred into their command structure at $9.75 and am up to $15.62 as of 2021.
Home Depot Wages: How Much Will I Earn?
To maintain its competitive edge in the over-saturated marketplace of retail employment, The Home Depot has continually raised its entrance minimum wage. Where I live, the minimum wage is $8.25, yet Home Depot hires fresh recruits at a robust $11.00 an hour.
For students as young as sixteen and retirees into their seventies, this retail chain will do well for earning pocket cash. In general, managers make more than sales associates. That's common sense, no? The managers tend to get a one-dollar pay bump for entering the lowest level of the elite ranks. Deserving or not, you can be the spectator. Any further elevation requires becoming salaried. Rates can be in the high $30k/yr range on up to $60k/yr. Store managers tend to make around the $100k/yr plateau. Depending on your store manager, it may seem too high or too low. Not all are created equal.
Vacation and Heath Insurance Benefits at The Home Depot
|Employee Benefits||Available to Part Timers||Available to Full Timers|
Employee Stock Purchase Plan
Long Term Critical Illness Protection
Short Term Critical Illness Protection
Vacation Day Accrual (first year/second year)
Vacation Day Accrual (third year/fourth year)
Vacation Day Accrual (fifth year to fourteenth year)
Vacation Day Accrual (fifteenth year to nineteenth year)
Vacation Day Accrual (twentieth year onward)
Sick Day/Personal Time Off Accrual
2 hours per month
4 hours per month
Promotions: Will They Promote From Within?
It's generally a good idea to go with companies that promote from within. I've worked at many other places in the retail world that bring in outside management and corporate. Home Depot almost always promotes its own cashiers, lot attendants, sales associates, and sales specialists to management positions when the time is right. Sure, there is plenty of training for a budding manager, but all of it is provided in-store and on company time. This can come at the detriment of those vying for positions outside the company without having first served in a lower capacity within the company.
Home Depot will hire from the outside, but in my years with the company so far, I have only seen two employees hired from the outside. One, a department supervisor, served for four months and then moved out of state. The other, hired initially as a department supervisor, has made his way up to store manager. In four years, only two individuals. That's pretty spectacular and serves to highlight the emphasis our company places on promoting its day-in-day-out sales staff before anyone else.
Learning and Improvement at The Home Depot
You absolutely will. When I started with the company, I knew next to nothing about home improvement. As a merchandising associate, I work alongside sales associates, managers, and home improvement professionals for 40 hours a week. Some of our associates have been working in their respective departments for upwards of 43 years! That's dedication. If you think you can't learn from someone who has been doing retail for that long, you just aren't paying attention.
One of our associates, I'll call him Jimmy, has been working plumbing in our store for 21 years. He knows every single plumbing product we carry over the span of seven aisles and what each and everyone does. Not only this, but he can diagnose how to connect showers, toilets, faucets and any other plumbing contraption you can dream up. He has been a fount of knowledge for me and is only one such associate in our store.
When customers go to a store for home improvement advice, they go to Home Depot. We have the best and most knowledgeable associates. If you come to work here, you can be that person who wows a customer with all the right answers as well, given time, of course.
Will They Work With My Busy Schedule?
If you need your hours adjusted for school or because you can't get daycare during the day, they'll work with you. If you need a weekend off to go visit your grandmother in another state, they'll work with you. The HR supervisors and management, in general, are very flexible and understanding when it comes to personal situations.
There is, however, one caveat. If you aren't a very good worker, as in you don't show up for your shifts or don't make any effort to learn your position, you won't be given such preferential treatment. And yes, that's understandable. The lazy, underachieving, sickness-prone need not apply within.
Will I Be Treated Fairly Due to My Personal or Religious Beliefs?
Religious beliefs, yes. Personal beliefs, no. You can believe the moon is made of pizza, but there is nothing that the Orange Box must do to accommodate that. Religious beliefs such as attending your Mosque, Temple, or Church is absolutely something our dedicated Human Resources associates are trained to take seriously.
On the other hand, in 2016, a young lady posted to Facebook herself wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat while on the job. Political ideologies are not to be entertained while on the job. There are plenty of other things to discuss in the meantime, such as how handsome I am. Wait, what?
Downsides to Working at The Home Depot
Yes, sir and ma'am. One cannot simply make an entirely glowing article about their company and expect to be taken seriously. There are plenty of negatives to be had.
- Lazy workers are not officially reprimanded.
- Lazy managers are not officially reprimanded.
- Problem workers are reshuffled into other departments to limit the harm they can do.
- Some harassment claims have been swept under the rug due to hearsay evidence.
- Favoritism exists.
- Yearly evaluations are governed by managers who may or may not directly know who you are.
- Promotions can oftentimes occur without any explanation as to why higher qualified associates were not selected.
Why Should I Work Here and Not Elsewhere?
Have you seen the job market?
Sheesh. It's rare to find a company that respects you as an individual yet challenges you to expand your skill set. The Home Depot isn't perfect, but it's better than the competition. Believe it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Alistair Torrance