& Worst Places to Buy Carpet & Flooring
By Alan Fletcher- Carpet Expert & Consumer
to buy New Carpet?
over 30+ years of hands-on experience in the flooring business, I have
compiled a list of Carpet & Flooring businesses who I think may or may
not be worthy of your business.
Locally-Owned "Family Run" Carpet Store
With a few
remnants stood up along the back wall, some in-stock rolls of carpet on
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 a special list of "hand-picked"
owned carpet stores that I am proud to recommend. See
who I recommend near you
or BIG-BOX Carpet Retailers
corporately owned conglomerates blanket the airwaves with repetitive TV commercials, radio ads,
billboards and bus stops! They have stores located all over the country
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
fall into this category because they
use private labels, 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. 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!
My Article: "Should I Buy Carpet Lowe's, Home Depot, Empire Today or Costco?"
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. 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 purchase falls upon you.
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. 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 waste.
you can save money if you buy from an
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
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.
Franchised Carpet Resellers
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 carpet local 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. Most co-ops do
not provide installation so you will have to locate a good 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.
Carpet from a Carpet Layer
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
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
at a very special price, you need to understand that they have a limited supply of
those materials and 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. Still, you can find some real bargains this way.
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.
Shop-at-Home Carpet Retailers
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
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
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.
carpet franchise opportunities.
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
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 $8.99 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.
to Hire a Qualified Carpet Installer
why do you ONLY recommend locally-owned Carpet Dealers?