A new round of TV ads from Home Depot now offers whole house carpet installation for free. Big box stores want to entice you to buy new carpet from them and it would seem that they are willing to give you a fantastic deal on installation if you do. The question is… Who’s Installing Your Carpet?
Free Basic Carpet Installation? Let me ask you… If you pay nothing for installation for a whole house full of carpet and the installer does a lousy job, what recourse do you have? Maybe they will come back and try to fix it. Maybe they will say it’s a carpet defect and that it is not their fault. Perhaps they will refund your money… But wait….You paid $0 for installation right? What is their financial liability to you in the event they cannot satisfy you? Might it be a $0 refund?
Why are they giving away free carpet installation?
There are several strategic reasons why they might want to give away free carpet installation. They used to hire carpet installers directly but his backfired on them. Homeowners posted a ton of complaints on the internet claiming poor carpet installation and poor customer service. Today they contract out all their installs to an independent installation company.
Who’s Installing Your Carpet?
Big box retailers used to hire sub-contracted carpet installers, but they had a real hard time finding and keeping qualified installers. It didn’t take long before all the real good installers left and would never return to work for the big box stores again. I was one of them.
Back in the 90’s Home Depot paid local installers a little better for carpet installation than the locally owned carpet stores, but they were so unorganized at the store level, that every morning a dozen or so carpet installers would stand around for hours waiting to load up the carpet and pad for the day’s job. Most often, the store personnel could not locate the carpet because it was buried somewhere in the back room along with dozens of appliances, boxes and various building materials. It would take a fork lift operator hours to finally uncover the rolls of carpet that had arrived the previous week.
Where’s My Carpet?
Often the carpet would be delivered to the wrong store, or the carpet would not arrive on schedule and the homeowners were never notified of the delay. Homeowners were heaping mad! They had already moved all the furniture out, taken time off work and the homeowner ended up waiting hours without a call or explanation. Carpet installers were angry too. A whole day was wasted without any pay because the job was scheduled but the carpet never arrived.
The store manager knew nothing, the person who ordered the carpet did not do any follow-up, and when a homeowner would call for an update, nobody knew anything. When a homeowner would call, the staff would often say something like, “Bob is in charge of handling all that and this is his day off!” Then and now, I seriously question Home Depot’s ability to properly run a carpet business. I do not think they should be in the carpet or flooring business at all.
Home Depot finally decided to contract out all of their carpet installations to independent flooring installation companies. This limits their liability since they now have nothing to do with the installers directly. If something goes wrong with your carpet install, Home Depot may simply refer you to the installation company, “Here’s their phone number, give them a call and have them come back and take a look.”
Is it an installation problem or a carpet defect?
The carpet installer says its a carpet defect NOT a bad install. Now you have to call the carpet manufacturer and ask to have an inspector come by and take a look. The carpet inspector comes to your home and says it’s an installation issue NOT a carpet defect. Now what do you do?
What is $37 carpet installation really worth? Do you want to spend thousands on new carpet and then pay almost nothing for one of the most important aspects of the job? It doesn’t make much sense to me and I have been in the carpet business over 30 years. Any carpet you buy must be installed properly or it will wear out prematurely and improper installation can easily void the carpet warranty too.
What a sweet deal for big box retailers! Just collect all the money (profit) upfront and never have to worry about dealing with carpet complaints. They even use an independent company to do all their in-home measuring, and they can charge you a hefty fee for that if you don’t buy from them. (read more about carpet measuring scams on my website).
Beyond the definition of a “Basic Installation”
Free Basic Carpet Installation? How can installers survive on $0? In reality, they are paid more. Not only that, they are allowed to charge you excessively for every little extra option you require. Replacing some damaged tack-less strips? Need carpet on stairs with spindles? Require special transitions or thresholds? Need the old carpet and pad removed and hauled away? Have a Mobile Home? If it’s not included in their definition of a basic install, then there is an extra charge.
The list of extra charges you might encounter beyond their definition of a “basic installation” could easily cost you hundreds more than you expect. When the carpet installers show up with your new carpet and have the chance to take a good look at your home, they will then let you know exactly how much more you have to cough up for them to install your carpet. Have your checkbook ready!
Where to Find Well-Trained and Qualified Carpet and Flooring Installers?
I don’t recommend buying carpet from big box retailers like Home Depot or Lowe’s. You have way too much at stake should something go wrong. It’s real important to make sure your new carpet is installed correctly according to the manufacturers guidelines.
The fact is, locally owned and family-run carpet dealers have a much easier time finding and keeping qualified flooring installers. Most locally owned carpet dealers have long term relationships with experienced and well-trained installers that have been working with them for decades.
This is great news for you because locally owned flooring dealers tend to offer the best customer service, offer lower prices, provide honest measuring and give free estimates.
Please be aware… not all locally owned flooring dealers are honest and reputable and carpet scams are common. Since 2008 I have been compiling a short list of locally owned carpet dealers that meet my requirements. See who I recommend near you! Alan’s Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory
Thanks for reading my blog. Visit my websites for more of my personal carpet opinions and carpet buying advice.
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. Any recommended Carpet Stores Near Me?