Carpet Professor

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By Alan Fletcher - 30 Yr Carpet Expert / Consumer Advocate - I do not sell carpet. ABC



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Tempted by Home Depot and Lowe's FREE Carpet Installation?

You can buy new Carpet and Flooring at Lowe's or you can buy new Carpet and Flooring at Home Depot. They both certainly want your business.  


They spend millions on TV advertising to try to convince you to buy new Carpet and Flooring from them. That's because there are high profit margins on new Carpet and Flooring products.



Carpet Buyers Beware!


Both Lowe's and Home Depot use independent installation companies to handle all their flooring installations and they in turn hire subcontractors to do the work. 


This means that you have no way of knowing in advance who is going to install your new carpet or if they are qualified to install your new carpet or flooring.


Will they do a good job for you? And what if something goes wrong and your carpet or flooring is installed poorly? Who do you call when you have a problem? Who will accept responsibility and come to your rescue? Will you get a quick remedy or will it take weeks of calling and calling? You know the answer...


I've heard from so many homeowners who ended up with a poor installation job and their horror stories about the runaround they got when calling the store to try to get a remedy. I don't want this to happen to you. If you have a problem with your carpet or flooring installation you need to get a quick remedy. 


But if you only pay $39 or less for carpet installation and you are not satisfied with the outcome will you just get a $39 refund? That's how much you paid for the installation, right?





Retail Carpet Sales Gimmicks


Many new carpet sales gimmicks have been offered up lately by the big box warehouses and some nationally advertised "shop at home" flooring retailers. 


Their claim of deep discounts on carpet or installation are designed to lure you into thinking you have a chance at getting a really good deal. No matter what their current sales gimmick is, their goal is to make you think they are giving away the farm. If it sounds too good to be true....



TV commercials that offer next day installation? 


Did you know that their salespeople are independent contractors? They are paid solely on commission and are basically free to charge you as much as they think they can get away with. That means if you live in a nicer home and have an expensive car in the driveway, you might be quoted a higher price. 



And what about the products they sell? Are they well made and as durable as you might expect? You will not be happy if you buy a cheaply made carpet at inflated prices. You must decide for yourself if this is the way you want to go. 


I suggest you do a quick Google search on any carpet retailer you are considering to see if they are reputable, and see what their previous customers have to say. It could open your eyes! Even if you are tempted to buy from a big box retailer, you would be wise to get several bids to compare prices on similar carpet, pad and installation. 


There is no standard markup for carpet and pad. An identical carpet can vary in price at every carpet store you visit. Any dealer can price their carpet, materials and labor any way they want. How Much Does Carpet Cost?





Carpet Installers and Extra Fees


I respect hard working and qualified carpet and flooring installers. They work very hard to earn their money by providing an honest days work, often enduring hours of strenuous physical demands and follow strict legal state licensing, bond and insurance regulations. 


Installing residential or commercial flooring is very difficult and time consuming. It requires significant planning, execution and attention to detail. I think flooring installers are often taken for granted, underpaid and under appreciated. 




Whole House Installation For FREE? No professional carpet installer is willing to work for free or is willing to install a house full of carpet at a huge discount. If any installer is willing to work for less, then you should question their qualifications. 


Your carpet installation job will likely NOT fall within their "basic" guidelines so there WILL be some extra fees and charges. You should expect that from all the big box retailers who lure you with the free carpet installation sales gimmick.



Recent email from a reader:


"I just had (a home improvement warehouse) give me a measure and quote for carpet.  The basic installation is $99, then it is an additional $195 for tack strips, and an additional $85 because it is a mobile home. I've called other carpet installers and they charge less for padding ($3 vs. $5.65) and more for installation ($4/yard), and it will still cost me $250 less than the home improvement warehouse!" 





What is "Basic" Carpet Installation?


Does the price include removing the old carpet and padding? dump fees? haul away fees, recycling charges? What about transitions, are they included? 


Home Depot and Lowe's charge for measuring, but I think this should be a part of their service and not an extra fee. I would never agree to pay for measuring because plenty of local carpet dealers offer free estimates and measuring. 


Why pay extra for measuring, extra for delivery, extra for removing the old, extra for stairs, extra for transitions, extra for tack strip, extra for just about everything. 


It should be obvious to you that they hide the added cost of low-cost or free installation by charging you extra for every little thing AND inflating the price of your new carpet and pad too? 


Do you know how much they mark- up new carpet and pad? There is more profit in new carpet, padding and other flooring products than most people think.





Carpet Installation Cost


The average going rate for carpet installation in the USA is about $5.25 per yard. It's a little higher in the northern states and a little lower in the southern states. 


There is almost always an extra fee for stairs, furniture moving and transitions where the carpet meets vinyl, tile or hardwood flooring. Home Depot and Lowe's have a long list of added fees for services that do not fall under their "basic" installation description. 


Is this really true? If you think I am making all this up, take two minutes and do a Google search of "Carpet Complaints' and see for yourself. You will have plenty of reading to keep you busy for awhile. When you are done reading all that, come on back and let me help you learn the tricks I've learned to help you make wise and informed carpet and flooring choices. 



Why I support Locally Owned Carpet Dealers

Some carpet installation specials are a really good deal for consumers, especially those offered by locally owned and family run carpet retailers. 


Reputable carpet retailers may advertise discounts on carpet, padding or specials on installation similar to the big box stores, but without all the fine print!


But be careful who you buy from, it's easy to fall prey to a carpet scam these days and that's why I have been compiling my own handpicked list of locally owned carpet dealers for my preferred carpet dealer directory. Take a peek and see if I have a preferred carpet dealer near you.


For these reasons and many more, I would never buy carpet from Home Depot or Lowe's or recommend that you do. I think you need to buy from a reputable locally owned carpet retailer that has your complete satisfaction in mind and will treat you right from to start to finish, before AND after the sale! 



Read more: 

Should I Buy Carpet from Lowe's or Home Depot?

When is the Best Time to Buy New Carpet?

How Much Does New Carpet Cost?

Berber Carpet - How to Choose Wisely



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