Free Carpet Information and Buying Guide
By Alan Fletcher - 30 Yr Carpet Expert / Consumer Advocate - I do not sell carpet. ABC
Best and Worst Carpet Retailers Revealed
Where NOT to Buy New Carpet? On this website, I explain all the various types of carpet and flooring businesses I prefer based on my own unique perspective amassed from over 30 years of hands-on knowledge and experience.
Take your time! Read all my free articles and information and decide for yourself who you should buy new carpet or flooring from! Always get several free estimates and measures from local flooring dealers and compare bids and estimates side by side! Only buy from an honest and reputable locally owned carpet retailer! See who I recommend near you! Learn more about Carpet Cost and Comparison
Why Trust My Carpet Advice?
I am on your side! No matter who you choose to buy new carpet or flooring from, I won't make a dime from your carpet or flooring purchase! You must decide who you want to buy from! Use all my free unbiased carpet and flooring information to make a wise and informed choices! Here is my take on which carpet retailers I prefer and why. My Carpet retailer ratings are based on my personal experiences from over 30+ years in the carpet business.
1. Locally-Owned "Family Run" Carpet Store
5 Stars (Best Bet)
With a few remnants stood up along the back wall, some in-stock rolls of carpet on display, a neat and tidy showroom and a good selection of brand name carpet samples, this is my favorite choice, hands-down! These long-standing neighborhood retailers buy first-quality carpet directly from the carpet manufacturer.
I firmly believe locally owned carpet dealers provide the best customer service, the best prices and are most knowledgeable. Should you ever have a problem, concern or complaint they will do whatever it takes to make sure you are completely satisfied. I have created a special list of "hand-picked" locally-owned carpet stores over the past 12+ years that I am proud to recommend. See who I recommend near you
2. Nationally Advertised or BIG-BOX Carpet Retailers
These corporately owned conglomerates blanket the airwaves with repetitive TV commercials, radio ads, billboards and bus stops! They have stores located all over the country and they seem to grow bigger and bolder every year. They do sell a lot of carpet and flooring but they also tend to get a lot of consumer complaints and negative reviews.
I think home improvement warehouses like Lowe's and Home Depot fall into this category because they use private labels on their samples, they farm-out their installations to other companies, they require 100% payment upfront at the time of purchase, and they may even charge you a fee just to measure your home. Should you have a carpet problem, they may just refer you to the installation company or have you contact the carpet manufacturer directly to seek a remedy.
In many cases, if you have a problem, no one is willing to step up and accept responsibility for your problem or complaint and you could be left holding the bag with a carpet that you are unhappy with. It amazes me when homeowners tell me they are going to buy from a home improvement warehouse just because they want to use the store's credit card that offers a 10% discount. Don't fall for those free or reduced cost carpet installation specials they advertise!
3. Carpet Wholesalers
These are carpet and flooring peddlers who will send you small carpet samples through the mail. They want you to buy their carpet virtually "sight unseen" (other than a small swatch) There are no refunds on discounted carpets so you really have to be fully aware of all the fine print before you sign the check.
You can save money if you buy from a reputable carpet wholesaler as long as you know exactly what you are buying and fully understand how the entire carpet buying process works and what is expected of you, especially with the delivery of the carpet and what you must do if you need to return a roll of carpet. Some carpet outlets stores are reputable and some are not. The burden of being knowledgeable about your Carpet purchase falls completely upon you.
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4. Online Flooring Retailers
Need Hardwoods, Ceramic Tile or Laminate Flooring? These online companies move a lot of product and can be a smart way to go if you are careful and do your homework. The biggest problem I hear about is the poor quality of the materials they offer.
For example: If you buy hardwood flooring that is a low grade, it can be very difficult to install and the amount of unusable or damaged product can be significant.
Buying first-quality hardwoods is much more costly but the outcome is much better than if you buy a "cabin grade" product and have as much as 25% waste. It's hard to know how much material to order when you have no Idea about the amount of unusable product they will be sending you. It can be a real nightmare when you have to re-order more materials because you did not have enough to finish the job due to the amount of unforeseen material waste.
Yes, you can save money if you buy from an online flooring wholesaler as long as you know exactly what quality or grade you are buying and know how the entire buying process works from start to finish. Even so, you are taking your chances because you must trust what the salesperson tell you.
Shipping costs can be high too and if you are not happy with the product you may have to pay to ship it back and also pay a hefty re-stocking fee. Some online flooring retailers are reputable and some are not, and knowing the difference is the hard part. Even if you succeed in buying quality flooring at a discount, you still have to arrange for your own installation or do it yourself if you are so inclined. You need to be aware of the possible issue with moisture. If your home has a moisture problem and you do not address it and correct it, then your new flooring may end up being a costly nightmare!
5. Franchised Carpet Resellers
These nationally advertised carpet dealers are often locally-owned but are hooked up with a national carpet distributor or co-op to increase their buying power and decrease their shipping costs. They usually use private labels to prevent you from comparison shopping at other local carpet stores. It is often much more difficult to get carpet specifications from these resellers, and it makes it much more difficult to comparison shop their products. Even so, you can still negotiate a fair deal if you know what you are doing and don't rely on their salespeople to make choices for you.
Many co-ops do not provide installation so you may have to locate a good carpet installation crew and pay them separately. You will have to work a bit harder to schedule and orchestrate everything, and may end up paying a little more buying from a franchised flooring dealer. but they usually have a list of local installers for you to call and they do offer a wide range of quality flooring products. Beware of strong-arm sales tactics and over-measuring scams. Always get more than just one bid/estimate and compare quotes side by side.
6. Buying Carpet from a Carpet Layer
Some carpet layers have longstanding relationships with local carpet dealers, or may have a way to order new carpet and padding at near wholesale prices from local suppliers. Carpet layers often end up with sizable leftovers from bigger carpet jobs because carpet so many salespeople over-measure their jobs.
When there is a lot of carpet leftover the installer may take it home and try to sell it on Craigslist or in the local newspaper. If you find an installer who has some leftover carpet or other flooring materials available at a very special price, you need to understand that they have a limited supply of those materials and may have no way of getting any more of the exact same color or style. There is no manufacturer's warranty on these materials whatsoever and no recourse if you end up unhappy with the performance of the carpet.
Still, you can find some real bargains this way. If you plan to hire them to install your carpet, I suggest you check references, verify their contractors license and business liability insurance to make sure they are all current and up-to-date. This might be an inexpensive way to go if you are just doing one or two rooms or if you need to replace carpet or flooring for a rental property.
7. Shop-at-Home Carpet Retailers
Many people love the convenience of not having to travel from store to store and prefer having samples brought to their home. It makes matching colors easier in your own home. Many locally owned carpet dealers are now offering shop-at-home services and this can a good way to go for those who don't want to drive all around town.
There are a few nationally advertised shop-at-home flooring dealers that I do not recommend because they tend to sell inferior products, have unreasonably high prices and have high-pressure salespeople. I believe that in-home carpet shopping is a wonderful service for folks who have a hard time getting around and don't mind paying a bit extra for the convenience.
There are reputable carpet dealers that offer quality products, knowledgeable salespeople and reasonable prices but they are hard to find today because the shop-at-home concept is just getting started. For those who are looking for the absolute best carpet deal, a shop-at-home service will not likely be the lowest cost option you are seeking.
8. Local Carpet Warehouse or Outlet Store
These local guys are doing their best to be consumer friendly and offer low prices and feature rolls of "in-stock" carpet. They tend to cater to homeowners on a tight budget, landlords and property managers and DIY homeowners. They offer plenty of inexpensive, lower-quality or second-grade goods. They may buy carpet in sufficient quantity to get some good deals on better grades of carpet in limited quantities styles and colors.
Check their guarantee carefully and get everything in writing before you sign on the dotted line. Once you buy it, you own it. They may offer in-house installation or they might just give you a list of local installers for you to call and hire on your own.
If you want to do-it-yourself, create a detailed diagram of your home with all the room measurements and bring your truck, rope and a tarp! If you have to arrange for your own installation you must negotiate with the installer and pay them directly.
In the end, if you pay just $15 per yard for the carpet, don't expect it to last for 10 years. Even though you can get a great deal on discounted carpets, always remember that there was some reason why it was not able to be sold as first-quality goods. Learn more: How to Hire a Qualified Carpet Installer
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