I buy plenty of items from home improvement stores like home Depot and Lowe’s and I shop every week at Costco. They have a good selection and some good deals on many household items I need. However, I would never buy new carpet or flooring from any of these retailers. Here’s why…
Homeowners often make simple but costly mistakes.
It is extremely important that you select the right flooring materials for your project. Aside from the cost, choosing the right grade or quality level is challenging enough and your selection should not be left to chance.
When shopping for new carpet or flooring, having a knowledgeable and experienced salesperson readily available to answer your product questions and installation concerns is more than important. The problem is, you don’t get that level of service when you shop for new carpet and flooring at warehouse stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s or Costco.
Too many unsuspecting homeowners make simple but costly mistakes that are easily avoided. Shopping at a reputable, locally-owned flooring store is how to choose wisely and avoid installation problems.
New Carpet From Lowe’s or Home Depot?
Many nationally advertised Carpet retailers use OTHER privately held companies to handle their carpet sales, carpet measuring or carpet installation services. You never know who you are really dealing with.
That means if you ever have a carpet problem or complaint, you may have a hard time knowing who to call, finding anyone to answer your calls and locate the right company responsible for making things right.
Should I buy Carpet From Lowe’s or Home Depot? What about Empire Today or Costco?
Did You Know…
- Home Depot, Lowe’s and Costco contract out all their measuring and installation services to various privately-held companies.
- Empire Today REQUIRES all their salespeople to form their own CORPORATION so they will be Independent Sales Contractors
- Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free basic carpet installation if you meet certain purchase requirements. Anything your job requires beyond their limited definition of a “basic install” will incur additional hefty charges and fees.
- Costco members can grab a brochure with a number to call to start the in-home Carpet Consultation Process – provided by another privately-held company. Costco is just a referral program and take their share of the profit right off the top of your carpet purchase.
What does this all mean to YOU the homeowner? With so many fingers in the pie it is not too hard to figure out that you might end up paying way too much for your new carpet if you buy from a nationally advertised company.
Carpet Sales from Lowe’s, Home Depot or Empire?
These nationally advertised conglomerates take a large chunk of the profit right off the top. Then let other privately held companies and independent sales contractors each have a shot at making more money from your new carpet purchase.
From costly measuring fees to needless carpet and padding upgrades, from carpet and padding removal and disposal fees to extra unnecessary and costly installation add-ons.
There are plenty of ways they will try to make you fork out more money before it’s all said and done.
- The Lure of a Great Sounding Deal…
- Get Three Rooms for the Price of One!
- Get 60% OFF New Carpet
- Free Basic Installation!
- Free Padding!
- Low Price Guarantee!
Do these advertising sales gimmicks sound familiar? Get out your magnifying glass so you can read all their fine print regarding these unrealistic sales tricks and gimmicks.
Carpet Installation from Lowes
Their advertised free carpet installation deals are designed to attract unsuspecting homeowners who would like to save money on new carpet and flooring but don’t know how to go about doing it.
Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have been trying to lure-in unsuspecting homeowners for years by offering low-cost or free “basic” carpet installation.
They make up a portion of this sales gimmick by charging more for the carpet and padding and by greatly increasing the added cost for anything extra you might need to complete the job.
Lowe’s Carpet Installation Free?
Lowe’s offers free carpet installation if you spend enough on new carpet and padding. Then they add on extra fees and charges for anything and everything that is beyond their limited definition of a “basic” installation. Their limited definition of a “basic install” seems to vary from time to time so their free install offer is always subject to change.
Their so-called “free” carpet installation that lures many homeowners in, may not be totally free once their farmed-out measuring estimators and sub-contracted installers get a good look at your home and discover what extras are needed to complete your project. Don’t be surprised if there are numerous extra fees & charges tacked-on.
Lowes Carpet Installation Extra Charges?
Lowe’s and Home Depot require that you pay for the entire carpet job IN FULL before they will place your carpet or flooring order. But that doesn’t include any unforeseen costs, add-ons, and extra fees and charges.
Your final bill comes on the day of installation when the carpet installer determines that your job requires additional labor for various things like moving heavy furniture, special transitions, floor prep, repairs and extra material and labor fees.
You never know what problems they might uncover after removing your old carpet and padding. I’ve seen a lot of dry rot and other forms of sub-floor damage lurking underneath old carpets.
There are hefty charges tacked on for anything considered beyond their current limited definition of a “Basic” carpet installation. They have to recoup the cost of free installation somehow.
Carpet From Lowe’s or Home Depot? These extra fees and charges can easily add up to hundreds that you were not forewarned about. That is, unless you took the time to read all their fine print.
Home Depot’s Low-Price Guarantee?
They say they will beat any competitor’s price by 10%, but according to their fine print, that’s only on identical in-stock items.
That makes it virtually impossible for anyone to substantiate because they put private labels on all their carpet samples.
Sneaky Carpet Sales Tactics
The Big Box home improvement warehouses have been charging homeowners a measuring fee just for coming to your home and sizing you up. The fee may be refundable if you agree to buy from them.
This is designed to add more sales pressure on you. They want to prevent you from shopping for carpet at other local stores.
Somewhere in the back of your mind, you think that if you don’t buy carpet from them, you will be forfeiting the $75 to $125 measuring fee have already paid.
Accurate Carpet Measuring?
From what I have been told by industry insiders, their licensed & certified measuring specialists they contract with, are required to measure your home using a “special method”.
Does that mean they add another 5, 10 or 15% of material to the total? Likely so! They are not going to tell you how many square feet your home needs. When they are all done measuring they leave to do all the calculations back at the office.
Carpet Measuring From Lowe’s or Home Depot?
You will never know if their measurements are accurate. Even if you get several bids / estimates from other local carpet dealers. Why? Because they don’t give you anything you can use to verify their measuring. You will just get an estimate based on “one-price” to do the whole job.
Basically, they want to make darn sure there is more than enough carpet or flooring material to work with. That way, they never have to worry about running short of material during installation.
That might translate into you paying for a lot more for new carpet & pad then you might actually need. Just adding an extra 10 yards of material could easily add $300 or more to the total cost for your carpet job. Ouch!
Empire Strikes Back?
Empire Today likes to attract customers by airing repetitive TV ads featuring unbelievable sales offers with next day installation.
If you call their 800 number, they will send a salesperson to your home who will show you flooring samples and try to “close the sale” in just one visit. Questions you need answers to are:
- Am I getting a fair & square deal on the total package deal?
- What is the price for the carpet. padding and installation separately?
- How long will this carpet last in your home?
- What fiber is this carpet made of?
- Are they selling you a Polyester carpet and say it’s just as durable as a Nylon Carpet?
These are just a few questions that you need solid answers to before you should commit yourself to buying from any shop-at-home flooring retailer.
What are Private Labels?
They intentionally change the names of all their carpet styles and colors to make it nearly impossible for you to comparison shop.
The exact same carpet might cost a lot less at the local carpet store down the street, but with different names how would you know? You would have to lay out carpet samples from both stores side by side to compare.
Lots of carpet retailers use private labels on their samples. It’s almost the norm these days. Home Depot’s low-price guarantee sure sounds good until you read all their fine print. Can you say the word “exclusions”?
What do I suggest? Homeowners need to avoid unscrupulous carpet retailers and only buy from locally owned, honest and reliable carpet stores.
Private Labels Make It Hard To Comparison Shop
All these giant retailers all use private labels on their carpet samples. Most farm out the measuring and installation of their products to other privately help companies. Some even have other companies do all the selling too. What does this mean to you?
- If you have a complaint, you may have to deal directly with the independent contractors to seek a remedy.
- Have a Carpet defect? You’ll have to contact the carpet manufacturer and have them inspect your carpet.
- Have an installation problem? You’ll have to contact the carpet installer. No one likes getting called back to deal with a homeowner complaint.
- If you can’t get a suitable remedy for your issue, you may have to file a claim in small claims court. The problem is, who is actually responsible for making things right and how can you prove that in court?
Costco Executive Members?
Costco members were once shown a small display with miniature carpet samples. Lately they have been taking their displays with samples down. Executive members are offered some extra benefits that may be of interest to some folks. Like a longer warranty?
If you grab their free brochure you will be provided with a phone number to call to start your in-home Carpet Consultation Process.
Be sure to read all the fine print very carefully to see what added benefits you might qualify for, if any.
“An independent flooring consultant will bring samples to your home and be happy to write up your order and arrange for installation.”
While they do carry some good quality carpet, be prepared for sticker shock when you see what the total cost will be.
Again, you can’t comparison shop easily because they change the carpet style names and colors to thwart you.
To compare carpets, you would need to take their carpet samples with you into other nearby carpet stores and compare both identical samples side by side. It’s definitely not easy to do.
They know you probably won’t take the time and trouble to do this, and it is unlikely that they would leave their carpet samples with you anyway.
Don’t Forget About Carpet Padding Types and Cost
Is There a Better Way?
Not all carpet dealers are honest and reputable. If you are in the market for new carpet or flooring of any kind, I think you should consider getting a free estimate from one of the carpet stores that I have listed in my Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory.
It’s taken me years to locate, investigate and identify these locally owned and family-run businesses.
I suggest you visit several flooring retailers near you, get several free estimates and be sure visit a carpet store that I recommend if you can.
You decide for yourself who to buy from
When it’s all said and done, I think you will agree that my preferred carpet dealers are knowledgeable, reliable and reputable!
You’ll be treated with respect, get a fair & square deal and get great customer service… Before, during and after the sale.
There’s a lot more you need to learn before you head out to shop for new carpet. Learn more: Best & Worst Places to Buy Carpet?
It’s hard to find an honest and reputable carpet store these days! That’s why I created my own special hand-picked list of locally-owned carpet and flooring stores. They give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and use qualified installers. Are there any recommended Carpet Stores Near Me?