Buying Carpet From Lowe's, Home Depot, Empire or Costco?
©2021 by Alan Fletcher - 30-year Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
Before You Sign the Check for New Carpet...
The last time I checked, all four of these Giant National Carpet Retailers use OTHER companies to facilitate their carpet sales, in-home measuring and installation services.
They just sell you the carpet and take the lions share of the profits right off the top! Why do you think they require you to pay for the entire job in-full upfront?
Once they have all your money and have their profit from your sale, you may have a hard time getting anyone to help you or take responsibility for making things right, if anything goes wrong! This means if you ever have a carpet problem concern or complaint, these big box retailers are already done doing business with you.
They will simply refer you to the carpet manufacturer, the carpet installation company or the padding manufacturer for you to seek a remedy. Of those three, it is unlikely that any will want to accept responsibility for you complaint. They will all blame the other guy.... Until you get tired of calling and calling... Sound familiar?
This is why you need to buy from an honest and reputable, locally owned carpet dealer! Let me tell you why...
What Every Homeowner Needs To Know...
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 or flooring purchase.
These four nationally advertised conglomerates take a large chunk of the profit right off the top and then let all the other privately held companies and independent sales contractors each have a shot at making more money from your purchase.
From costly measuring fees to needless carpet and padding upgrades, from carpet and padding removal and disposal fees to costly installation extras and add-ons, there are plenty of ways they will make you cough up a lot more money before it's all said and done.
Are You Tempted by Great Sounding Carpet Deals on TV?
New Carpet TV Ads, Free Installation? Big Box & Corporate Sales Gimmicks You Should Avoid!
Do These Common TV Advertising Claims Sound Familiar?
Before you sign your hard-earned money away on the dotted line... Get out your magnifying glass so you can read all the fine print on these great-sounding, but deceptive TV offers.
These commonly advertised TV ads are designed to attract uninformed and unsuspecting homeowners who would like to save money but don't know how to go about doing it wisely.
Unfortunately, these four major carpet and flooring retail conglomerates I mentioned, advertise heavily and have only one thing in mind: Getting more of your hard earned money!
Don't fall for these TV Advertisements! You need to buy from locally owned, family run carpet and flooring retailer! Why? Because you will get a fair deal and they will stand behind their products and installation!
Don't Fall for those "Whole-House Carpet Installation" Gimmicks!
Both Lowe's and Home Depot have been successful at luring in unsuspecting homeowners by giving away free "basic" whole house carpet installation specials.
Their TV commercials advertise free or almost free carpet and flooring installations if you buy a certain amount of flooring materials. Please don't fall for this common retail rip-offs. I guarantee you can do better in the long run if you buy from a locally owned and family run Flooring dealer, that is, if you make sure you buy from an honest and reputable carpet retailer. See who I recommend near you!
They make up a portion of the so-called "free" installation costs with increased carpet and padding charges. Then they increase the installation charges for anything and everything that is considered beyond their limited definition of a "basic" installation.
Their so-called "free" carpet installation that lured you in, may not end up being such a good deal once their sub-contracted measuring experts and installers get a good look at your home. They will look for, and find many other ways to charge you more and more. In the end, you are likely not getting a fair and square deal that you hoped for.
Just for fun... As Gomer Pyle would say... Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
It's very likely you will be faced with numerous extra fees & charges tacked-on to your final bill. What do you mean...a final bill?
Yes! They always require that you pay for the entire carpet job in full before they place your carpet order, bu then the final bill comes on the day of installation when the installer determines that your job requires additional labor, unexpected add-ons for moving furniture, or any forgotten extra labor costs, extra fees for handling of materials, or anything that they consider beyond the limited definition of a "Basic" carpet installation.
This extra cost can easily add hundreds to your final bill. Get ready to hear this: We need you to write us a check or give us your credit card before we can begin installing you new carpet or flooring!
These costly increases or extras can easily add up to hundreds you must pay for whether you know it or not! Learn more about: Whole House Carpet Installation
What about Home Depot's Low-Price Guarantee?
Home Depot says 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 YOU to substantiate this because they use private labels on all their carpet samples. This makes it impossible for you to get the lowest price.
WHY? They change the names of all their carpet styles and colors to make it difficult (if not impossible) for you to comparison shop. A low-price guarantee sure sounds good until you read all the fine print.
Do you have a magnifying glass and a lawyer to help you unravel and understand all their legal fine-print?
Is Home Depot and Lowe's Carpet Measuring a Rip-Off?
The Big Box home improvement warehouses like Home Depot and Lowe's have been charging homeowners a sizable measuring fee just for coming to your home to measure your flooring needs. From what I have been told, they use an independent measuring company who hires independent licensed & certified measuring specialists. These private measuring contractors are required to measure your home using a "special measuring method".
Does that mean they automatically add another 10% to 20% of material to the total? I think so, and doing this can easily cost you hundreds more than you need to pay if you blindly trust their measurements of your home.
You may never know for sure if their measurements are accurate unless you get more than two or three estimates, but basically the big box retailers want to make darn sure there is way more than enough material to complete your job. This way, they never have to worry about running short of material during installation and they stand to make more profits by over-charging you for materials and labor.
This might translate into you paying hundreds more for your new carpet & pad then you actually need. Just an extra 10 yards of material could easily add up to $500 or more to the total cost of your job. Ouch! In many cases I have seen cases where homeowners are over-charged by more than 30 to 40 yards when new carpet is ordered for the entire home, that is, a home of 2000 square feet or more.
Is "Next-Day" Carpet Installation a Scam?
Empire Today likes to attract new customers by airing repetitive TV ads featuring unbelievable sales offers with next day installation as a lure. If you call them, they will send a independent sales professional to your home who will show you private labeled carpet samples, measure your home and try to "close the sale" on the spot while they are in your home.
I think Next-Day Carpet Installation is a scam because it doesn't give you any time to change your mind, to comparison shop at other nearby carpet retailers or make sure their measurements of your home are accurate.
Are you be getting a fair & square deal? How would you know? Did you get several estimates? Did you compare the same or similar carpet or flooring specifications side by side? Are they selling you a cheap Polyester fiber carpet and say it is just as durable as a Nylon carpet?
Learn more: What Grade of Carpet Should I Select?
Does Empire Sell Quality Carpet For a Reasonable Price?
Do you know about carpet specifications? You need to do your carpet homework before you buy. How long will certain carpet or flooring products last in your home based on Your Level of Foot Traffic. Buyer Beware... Unscrupulous carpet retailers may be trying to sell you a low-quality Polyester carpet and try to convince you that it's just as durable as a Nylon Carpet. Learn more about Carpet Fibers
There are a few important questions that you need solid answers to before you should commit yourself to buying from any shop-at-home flooring retailer. Learn more about Carpet Specifications
Many carpet retailers, including Empire, use private labels on their products and use independent contractors to measure, sell or install their products.
If you have a complaint, you may have to deal directly with the independent contractors to get a remedy. Trying to get anyone to help you with your carpet complaint can be quite difficult, time consuming and frustrating.
I Have a Carpet Complaint? Who Do I Call?
1. If your new CARPET IS DEFECTIVE...
You'll have to contact the carpet manufacturer to come out and inspect your carpet.
2. If you have a CARPET INSTALLATION problem...
You'll have to contact the independent carpet installer, to come out and inspect your carpet.
3. Did the salesperson MISREPRESENT the product you purchased?
You will have to contact the independently contracted salesperson, to come out and inspect your carpet.
4. Finally, the manufacturer might tell you that your problem is YOUR FAULT because you improperly maintained your new carpet according to the new warranty requirements. Your warranty has been voided and you get no recourse. Read your new carpet warranty.
Once in a while, someone will step-up and agree to be responsible for your carpet complaint. They just might fix or correct your carpet problem and make you a happy camper. This is not the norm.
No matter what the problem, no matter who you call, be prepared for a large dose of frustration. Everyone will put the blame on the other guy. The carpet manufacturer might say it is an installation problem, the carpet installer might tell you it is a carpet defect. The Salesperson might tell you the manufacturer sent the wrong carpet, and the big-box retailer, or the conglomerate where you originally bought it, will not help you or return your calls. This is the norm.
If you can't get a remedy to satisfy you from any of these four sources, you may have to file a lawsuit in small claims court. But then the problem is... Who should be held responsible for your problem and what proof do you have to substantiate your claim? This can be costly and time consuming, and homeowners typically lose their case for lack of evidence or documentation. Always seek professional advice for any legal matters.
Costco Members Who Need New Carpet
I am a Costco member myself and enjoy saving money buying the products I need and use all year long! As you are leaving, you might notice some of their vendors have displays on the left side of the wall. They may have Heating and Air Conditioning companies, Leaf-Guard Gutters, Garage Door Replacements, Kitchen cabinets, Vacation and travel charters, Carpet and flooring products and other home improvement offers and brochures.
However, of all these great sounding deals, I myself would never buy new carpet or flooring from Costco's vendors. Why? If you take a look at their free Carpet or Flooring brochure, they list a phone number for you to call to start your in-home Carpet or Flooring Consultation Process.
How Does The Costco Carpet Flooring Program Work?
It is now called Costco's Shaw Premier Flooring Program. Executive Members can earn a 10% Costco Shop Card, a 2% rebate if you have an executive Membership, a 2% rebate if you use their Costco Visa Credit Card, and enhanced warranties and benefits if you purchase their Costco Branded Carpet or Waterproof Flooring.
Calling their toll-free phone number will put you in touch with a Shaw Flooring Design Consultant or someone else who is paid on a commission basis. They will schedule an in-home consultation with you at your convenience. The Shaw Design Consultant will come to your home and present you with certain carpet or flooring samples, and then will try to help you choose the right product for your specific needs. They will also measure your home and give you a free, no-obligation estimate of all the costs. Is this the best way for you to purchase new carpet or flooring? It sure sounds easy.
The Costco Carpet Problem: They Make It Almost Impossible To Comparison Shop
While the Carpet Consultant who contacts you may carry some good quality carpet and flooring, be prepared for major 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. You would need to take their carpet samples with you into other carpet stores to try to compare samples side by side. They won't leave any of the the carpet samples with you to consider for a few days, so comparison shopping to find your best deal for similar or the exact same products is definitely not easy to do.
A Shaw Flooring Design Consultant would rather you just agreed to make your selection right now, while they are still in your home. They do not want you to comparison shop because if you were able to compare prices, styles and colors, you would likely find that you could find a much better deal for a better product, or the exact same product elsewhere.
With Costco, you only get to look at products from just one carpet manufacturer: Shaw. There are many other Carpet Manufacturers that have different styles, patterns and colors you may be interested in. There is Mohawk, Beaulieu, Fabrica and Masland, and Atlas to name a few. Not every local carpet retailer carries all of these carpet brands. You can visit their website to see which carpet brands they carry.
I've spent over 30 years in the carpet business and my father was a mill rep for 35 years. If you are in the market for new carpet or flooring of any kind, I think you should seriously consider buying from one of the locally owned dealers that I have listed in my free Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory. It's taken me over 12 years to locate, verify, investigate and identify over 400 locally-owned and reputable family-run flooring businesses and I truly believe they are the best of the best here in America!
Where To Buy New Carpet?
Locally-owned carpet dealers will allow you to take several carpet samples home for you to consider for a few days. If colors are important to you, it would be wise to consider the samples under your own home's lighting - in the morning, at mid-day with the curtains wide open and in evening scenarios. Don't be afraid to take your sweet time and change your mind many times before you make your final choices.
I suggest you visit several locally owned carpet /flooring retailers near you, get several estimates and be sure visit a carpet store that I recommend if you can. You determine for yourself who you should buy from. When it's all said and done, I think you will agree that my preferred dealers are knowledgeable, honest, 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. See who I recommend near you!
There's a lot more you need to learn before you head out to shop for new carpet.
Recommended Carpet Stores
Best Carpet Cleaning Services
How To Choose New Carpet
Carpet Padding Choices
Carpet Installation Facts
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©2021 Alan Fletcher - All Rights Reserved.
All content is the opinion of the author.