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Home Improvement Store Sales Gimmicks

By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate



Home Depot & Lowe's FREE Carpet Installation?

You can buy carpet at Lowe's or you can buy carpet at Home Depot. They both certainly want your business and advertise heavily to get it. That's because there are high profit margins on carpet and flooring products. There is so much money to be made selling carpet they can offer you carpet installation for $39 or less! Why do you suppose they offer carpet installation at such a low cost? 


Both Lowe's and Home Depot contract out all their flooring installations to an independent installation company and they in turn hire subcontractors to do all the work. This means that you have no way of knowing in advance who is going to install your carpet until they show up at your door with your new carpet. Are they really qualified? Will they do a good job? And what if something goes wrong and your carpet is installed poorly? Who do you call? Who will accept responsibility? Can you get a quick remedy or will it take weeks of calling and calling?


I've heard from many homeowners who ended up with a poor installation job and their horror stories about the runaround they got when calling the store to get a remedy. I don't want this to happen to you. If you have a problem with your carpet or installation you need to get a quick remedy. But if you only pay $39 for 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? 


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....


Have you watched those quirky shop-at-home for carpet 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 totally respect carpet and flooring installers. Most work very hard to earn their money by providing an honest days work, often implementing strenuous physical demands and following strict legal state licensing and insurance regulations. Installing carpet or other residential or commercial flooring is very difficult and time consuming and requires significant hard work and attention to detail. I think flooring installers are often taken for granted, underpaid and under appreciated. 


Whole house installation for $39.00? No professional carpet installer is willing to work for free or is willing to install a house full of carpet at a huge discount. Surprise! Your carpet installation will likely NOT fall within their "basic" guidelines so there WILL be some extra fees and charges and you should expect that from the big box retailers who lure you with this 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 cost me $250 less than the home improvement warehouse!" 


What is covered under Home Depot's "basic" installation? 


Does "basic carpet installation" include removing the old carpet and padding? What about Dump fees, Haul away fees, and Recycling charges? Are transitions, tackless strips and floor preparation included too? 


In most cases, none of these services are included in their definition of a basic installation and you will be charged extra if these items are needed. Extra for measuring, extra for delivery, extra for removing the old, extra for stairs, extra for transitions, extra for tackstrip, extra for just about everything. This is how they make up for their low-priced installation.


It seems obvious that they make up for the low-cost of basic installation by charging you extra for every little thing AND inflating the price of your carpet and pad too? Do you know how much they mark-up carpet and pad? There is more profit in carpet and padding than most people think. Home Depot and Lowe's make their profit from the sale of carpet and padding. The installation company makes their money by charging you extra for every little item or service your installation requires. 


Some retailers even charge for measuring your home, but this should be included with their free bid/estimate service and not an extra charge. I would never agree to pay for measuring because plenty of local carpet dealers offer free estimates and measuring. There is a lot more to learn about getting an accurate measurement of your home. How to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps



Standard carpet installation from a reputable carpet dealer


When you buy new carpet from a local carpet retailer, it is customary for them to arrange installation for you. They usually have several installation crews that they have been doing business with for many years. Some of their installers may be subcontractors and some may be employees of the dealer. In any event, if you are not happy with your carpet install, you can always call the dealer and they will do whatever it takes to make it right. 


The average going rate for standard carpet installation in the USA is about $4.25 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 installing carpet on stairs and for furniture moving, but that's about it. So the cost for a standard installation of 100 yards of carpet will be about $425. 


Why I Only Support Reputable 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 periodic discounts on carpet, padding or offer discounts on installation similar to the big box stores, but without all the fine print! They offer a discount that is real, a true discount that is a reduction of their profits, designed to entice you to buy from them, to get the chance to earn your business, to eventually be able to sell to your friends, family and co-workers so long as they do a great job for you, because you will be compelled to recommend them to others who you know and love. This is how a reputable business becomes successful, and this is the main reason why I only recommend a select few locally-owned and family-run carpet dealers to my readers. 


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 a special 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 should 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 AND after the sale! 


Read my answer to the question: Should I buy carpet from Lowe's or Home Depot?



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It's getting harder every day to find honest & reputable Carpet Dealers to recommend to my readers! That's why, since 2008, I have been building my own special list of hand-picked carpet dealers who have passed my requirements and provide first-class customer service; are locally owned; give free estimates;  have knowledgeable sales staff; and use qualified installers. Don't take chances... See who I recommend near you!

Alan's Recommended Carpet Dealers Visit for more free Carpet information.  

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