After 30+ years in the business, I'm sharing my knowledge and experience with homeowners who want to choose wisely, avoid scams and get qualified installs from a reputable dealer.
"How To Choose New Flooring Like A Pro"
10 Questions You Must Ask Before You Hire!
Locating qualified independent carpet installers can be challenging. There is a huge lack of well-trained and experienced carpet installers right now. The demand for a qualified carpet installer has increased significantly over the past decade and that has increased due to Covid 19 lockdowns and supply chain interruptions.
There are not enough young people entering the carpet and flooring installation trade to keep up with current and future demand. This is compounded by a lack of available training programs, incentives and apprenticeships.
Over the next 10 years approximately 180,000 installers must be recruited, trained and working in the industry, just to keep up with current growth within the flooring industry. This means locating qualified carpet installers is becoming more difficult.
If you are hoping to find and hire an independent carpet installer you will need to make sure you ask all the right questions and be able to interpret the answers you receive.
Well-Established Carpet Stores
Most locally-owned and well-established carpet and flooring retailers have their own in-house installation crews. If you buy new carpet and padding from them, they can provide qualified installation for you as part of a package deal.
This is the main reason why I think you should buy from an honest and reputable carpet store and let them handle all the installation details for you. By paying the retailer directly for the carpet, padding and installation you bypass the need to hire an independent carpet installer.
Guaranteed Carpet Installation
When you buy from a reputable flooring dealer, the main benefit for you is that they guarantee their installations. That means if you ever have an installation problem, they will be there to answer your call and promptly do whatever it takes to make sure all your concerns are addressed.
You don't always get this benefit when you hire an independent carpet installer. Independent is they key word here, these installers are not attached to any retailer or location and might not be available in the future if you call for help.
If You Need To Hire An Independent Carpet Installer
If you buy carpet and pad from a secondary source, and need to hire an independent installer... The most qualified independent Installers rarely need to advertise to find work because of their good reputation. Finding a qualified independent installer takes time and patience.
Finding a top-notch carpet installer can be difficult and 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 independent installer well in advance and before you place your order for new carpet.
A great way to find a qualified installer is by word of mouth
Asking your friends, relatives and co-workers may yield some positive results, but you still need to ask the 10 questions I have outlined below. Carpet retailers are usually reluctant to loan out their in-house carpet installers for side jobs because they prefer to keep their installers on a tight schedule.
You can call around to see if any carpet store has suggestions, but you still need to be careful and make sure the installer you hire has the right experience for your type of installation. It is wise to check references and verify required licensing within your state. Learn how to How to Verify a Contractor's License.
Print My Free Questionnaire
Before you hire...
(Click on image to view full size or print)
The Carpet Installation Warranty
Most independent carpet installers offer a one-year installation warranty. You would be wise to get it in writing. If you ever have an installation problem or complaint, you will have to track them down and hope they answer your call and are willing come back and take care of your problem.
Some installers frequently move to areas where work is plentiful. Work might be plentiful where you live today, but tomorrow the work may be more plentiful or the pay may be better somewhere else. If your installer moves to another city or state, you may be forced to hire a different installer to fix your problem.
Where To Find Qualified Carpet Installers?
You can call a local carpet installation supply company 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. They usually have a corkboard on the wall where installers can place their business cards. A Google search for a Carpet Sundries business near you will show who you can call to ask about a carpet installer recommendation.
You could also visit one of these businesses early in the morning, before 8 am and speak directly with installers who are picking up supplies for the day. Here in Portland Oregon, I purchased most of my carpet tools and sundries from T & A Supply.
Finding the Right Installer
If you hire an inexperienced installer you may save some money, but may not be happy with the final outcome. The best carpet installers usually charge a little more and are often very busy, but is well worth the cost and the wait if you want 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.
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 a flooring installer can truly begin to master their trade. Unfortunately, many carpet installers NEVER become anything more than an average installer because they either lack the formal training, or don't have the ambition to become a master of their trade. They might just prefer to install low-quality products and make just enough money to get by. These are not the type of installers you want to hire because you cannot depend on them to do a good job or even show up.
This is why some folks refer to them as fly-by-night installers. They prefer to work "under the table" to be paid in cash and may offer you a discount if you do. Bear in mind, if you pay in cash and don't get a written receipt with their name and state issued contractor license information, then they may not be willing to stand behind their workmanship.
Without a valid state issued contractor's license, you will not have any recourse if they leave town, retire, be incarcerated or cannot be contacted if you have an installation problem. How to Verify a Contractor's License
Be Careful Who You Hire!
Incompetent or inexperienced carpet installers are fairly easy to spot. You want your new carpet installed right the first time. But if you ever have a problem with the installation, you also need to feel confident the installer will come back to address your concerns.
That's why it is important for you to meet any potential carpet installer before you hire them, and ask them these 10 questions. Sometimes you don't have a chance to meet the installer before you schedule the install. When they show up to install your carpet you might have a last-minute chance to change your mind if something doesn't look or feel right.
Trust your instincts, it might be better to cancel and reschedule your install rather than take your chances with an installer of questionable character.
Red-flags and warning signs
(Reasons why you might want to consider hiring a different installer)
What Type of Experience Do They Have?
Some carpet installers can charge more because they are more experienced in doing more difficult jobs like custom homes and commercial work. Some charge less because they are used to doing easier jobs like apartments or property management work.
You need to determine what level of expertise your job requires and then hire an installer according to their level of expertise and standard pay rate to match your job requirements. Berber Carpeting
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 and having a challenging layout would demand hiring the absolute best carpet installer you can find. Learn more about Carpet Installation Cost
1. Property Management Carpet Installer
The majority of experience of this type of carpet installer is obtained from installing low to medium grades of carpet in unoccupied apartments or rental property. They have limited experience with installing carpet on stairs, and limited experience with difficult or tricky installations.
They generally 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.
Property owners and managers often do not thoroughly inspect the quality of work performed by installers doing apartment work because the carpet being installed is usually designed to last less than 5 years.
Many young people have become carpet installers as a result of being hired as a carpet layers helper and 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.
2. New 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. They always 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.
3. Residential Remodeling Carpet Installers
They show up on time, have a newer vehicle and are neatly dressed. They look professional and they have good answers to all your carpet questions and concerns. They install carpet and flooring in nice homes and condos and may even do commercial work.
These installers are well seasoned and are paid quite well. They do a great job for residential remodeling applications, but they command higher than normal fees and are booked weeks in advance.
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. They are always licensed, bonded and insured if required.
4. Custom Homes Carpet Installer
These Carpet Installers are the most experienced and professional installers and as such are paid well for it. Click on the photo to see who I recommend in Beaverton Oregon. They do installs in the most expensive homes. They are usually booked months in advance with custom home builders and million dollar realtors, and may not be willing to take on a smaller project. They can be quite picky about the jobs they accept. Their installation fees can be quite high, but you should expect installation perfection! They are always licensed, bonded and insured and carry a Worker's Compensation Policy for their helpers.
If you are able to schedule them, you will receive first-class carpet installation and the best service. Be prepared to wait several weeks before they are available to install your new carpet. Think their installation prices are high? Wait till you see the cost 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.
Certified Flooring Installers?
You can also visit the CFI website to locate a qualified carpet installer near you. If you like the installer and he is available at a fair price, perhaps you might hire them to measure and install your carpet? Free Printable Resources
Secrets To Carpet Success
Not only must you hire a qualified carpet installer, you must also choose the right grade of carpet and padding too. Just as important is making sure you buy from an honest and reputable carpet and flooring dealer. That's how to buy new carpet like a pro! See who I recommend near you.