How to Find a Qualified Carpet Installer

AbcCarpetPro.com Carpet Professor

The Best Carpet Installers rarely need to advertise to find work because of their great reputation.

Top-notch carpet installers can be difficult to find. Getting your carpet installed quickly may be next to impossible as the best installers are booked up weeks in advance.

For this reason, you would be wise to start your search for a qualified carpet installer before you order new carpet.

The best way to find a good carpet installer is by word of mouth.

Carpet retailers are often reluctant to give carpet installer recommendations to you because they would prefer to keep their best in-house installers to themselves.

You can call around to see if any carpet store has suggestions for you, but you still need to be cautious. Make sure any installer you hire is experienced with your type of carpet installation.

Check references and verify required licensing with the state. How to Verify a Contractor’s License

You can also call local carpet installation supply companies to get a recommendation for a good installer.

These companies provide all the products that carpet installers need including tools, seam tape, tackless strips, transition metals and adhesives.

The people working in the warehouse know which installers are active and use quality supplies. Often they have a cork board on the wall where installers can place their business cards.

A Google search for Carpet Sundries will show businesses that you might call to ask about a carpet installer recommendation.

You could visit one of these businesses early in the morning, before 8 am and speak with installers who are picking up supplies for their day. Here in Portland Oregon, I got my supplies from T & A Supply.

Most carpet retailers provide installation as part of a package deal.

Local carpet retailers have their own carpet installation crews. When buy new carpet and padding from them, installation is automatically included in the deal.

Installation is a part of the package deal. You have no say as to who is installing your carpet or know anything about their level of experience. A reputable carpet retailer uses qualified installers.

The benefit for you is that the retailer stands behind the installation and if you ever have a problem, they will answer the call and make sure all your concerns are addressed.

Carpet Installation Warranties

Many carpet stores offer a installation warranty of more than one year. Some even offer a lifetime carpet installation warranty.

The typical carpet installation warranty provided by independent carpet installers is one year.

If you hire an independent carpet installer and have an installation problem you would have to contact the installer directly.

In most cases this is not a problem and the installer will come back and fix any concerns you may have.

If you do have a installation concern, act fast… before the installation warranty expires.

“If installed wrong, your new carpet could lose more than half of its intended lifespan!”

Finding and hiring a qualified carpet installer can be challenging.

The best carpet installers charge a little more and are often very busy, but is well worth the wait if you need to get top-notch installation!

Some carpet installation jobs are more difficult than others and require that you hire a well experienced installer.

For example, installing expensive carpet in a custom home requires much more expertise than does installing apartment-grade carpet in a rental unit.

Not all experience is good experience

Of course everyone wants their carpet installed correctly, and hiring an installer with minimum of 5 years experience is where I would draw the line with a simple installation job.

So, if you buy a more expensive carpet or your carpet job is quite large, more difficult or tricky, than you should find a carpet installer with more years of experience.

I personally believe that it takes at least 10 years before any flooring installer can truly begin to master their trade, and that’s only if they have the desire to become the best of the best.

Should I Hire an Untrained installer?

You don’t have to go to school to be considered a trained installer. I was mentored by several master craftsmen who took the time to teach me the tricks of the trade.

Unfortunately, many carpet installers NEVER become anything more than a poor-quality installer because they either lack training, or don’t have the ambition to become a master of their trade.

Some installers prefer to install low-quality materials and make just enough money to get by. They prefer to work “under the table” and ask to be paid in cash. They may offer you a discount if you do.

These are not the type of installers you want to hire because you cannot depend on them to do a good job or show up on time. That’s why everyone refers to them as fly-by-night installers.

Bear in mind, if you pay in cash and don’t get a written receipt with their name and contractors license information, then you will have no recourse if something goes wrong.

You will not have any recourse when they leave town, disappear and cannot be contacted if and when you have an installation problem.

If you have a problem with your installation it may be hard to get them to come back to fix the problem.

Incompetent carpet installers usually are easy to spot. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of a less-experienced carpet installer.

  1. Advertise on Craigslist or the local Thrifty Nickel Newspaper, 
  2. They typically have an older pickup truck or van with stuff piled up on the dashboard, 
  3. Have a wife or girlfriend that does the driving,
  4. They wear tattered and mis-matched clothing,
  5. Wreak of stale beer and cigarettes. 

How to Verify a Contractor’s License

What type of experience does this Carpet Installer have?

Some carpet installers can charge more because they are more experienced in doing custom homes and commercial work. Some charge less because they are used to doing rentals or property management work. (apartments and rental homes).

You need to determine what level of expertise your job requires and then hire an installer according to their level of expertise.

If you are just carpeting one or two rooms with an inexpensive carpet, you don’t need to hire the best and most expensive carpet installer in town.

Carpeting your whole house with expensive carpet with a challenging layout would demand hiring the absolute best carpet installer you can find.

Learn more about Carpet Installation Cost

4 Levels of Carpet Installer Experience:

  1. Property Management Carpet Installer  

Carpet installers with this type of experience is obtained from installing low to medium grades of carpet in unoccupied apartments or rental properties.

  • They have limited experience with installing carpet on stairs, and limited experience with difficult or tricky installations.
  • Use lower quality installation products (glues, seam tape, tack-less strips, transition metals) in order to save money. 
  • They charge less per yard because the job is less demanding and they are able to install more yards in a day.

Installers who do apartment or property management work are generally paid the least amount per yard of all installers.

Many young people have become carpet installers as a result of being hired as a carpet layers helper. Few are formally trained or have completed an apprentice program.

This is not to say that you should not hire them, but you need to be aware that many may lack the experience to perform all types of carpet installations.

  1. New Home Construction Carpet Installer   

Installers with the bulk of their trade experience from new home construction will have increased knowledge of installing different types of stairs. (carpet can be very difficult to install on some types of stairs)

  • They will have more experience working with various styles, types and grades of carpet as well. 
  • Have to satisfy the builder and the new homeowners with their performance, which makes them pay closer attention to detail.

Builders usually pay less than the standard rate for this type of installer but there is usually a greater volume of work available to the installer.

  1. Residential Remodel Carpet Installer
    These installers are well seasoned and are paid quite well. You can count on them to do a great job for residential remodeling applications. They command higher than normal fees and are booked weeks in advance. They
  • Always show up on time, have a newer vehicle and are neatly dressed.
  • Look professional and they have good answers to all your carpet questions and concerns.
  • Regularly install carpet and flooring in upscale homes and condos and may even do commercial work.
  • Are licensed, bonded and insured.

Be prepared to pay above the going rate for this type of carpet installer in your area, but also expect the job to be done right the first time.

  1. High-End Custom Homes Carpet Installer

Carpet Installers who are more experienced are paid the highest fees.

  • Usually booked months in advance with custom home builders and million dollar realtors, and may not be willing to take on smaller projects.
  • They can be quite picky about the jobs they accept. Their installation fees can be quite high, but you can expect installation perfection! 
  • Have been licensed, bonded and insured for a long time, and carry a Worker’s Compensation Policy for their employees.

If you are able to schedule them, you will receive first-class carpet installation and excellent  customer service. You may have to wait several weeks before they are available to install your new carpet.

Think their prices are high? Wait till you see the price of hiring a lousy carpet installer!

Learn more about free or low-cost Whole-House Carpet Installation Advertised Specials from Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Next up: Carpet Installation Cost

AbcCarpetPro.com Carpet Professor

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