new carpet today is more challenging than ever. As far back as the early
60's, all retail carpet
stores had an equal playing field, that is, they all had access to the same
carpet brands and styles. Bigger stores typically had better buying power and
could negotiate better prices from the carpet manufacturers. Smaller carpet
stores had a harder time getting the best deals from the mills and had to focus
harder on word-of-mouth reputation for great customer service and installations
in order to compete.
Nothing was more frustrating to a carpet store owner than to spend two hours
selling to Mrs. Jones only to end up losing the sale to the bigger carpet store
down the street with a lower price. The only thing Mrs. Jones had to do was
write down the name of the mill, the style name and color and take that
information to the next carpet retailer down the street. Upon arrival, the next
carpet store would easily be able to offer Mrs. Jones the exact same carpet for
just a little bit
less, and not have to spend two hours selling Mrs. Jones.
Even in the 70' and 80's all you really had to
do was call around and ask what they charged for this or that carpet brand and style.
Retailers discovered that all
they had to do was change the style and color name to make it very hard for
consumers to shop for the best deals. The idea worked quite well since most
customers didn't want to take the time and trouble to shop all around town
carrying a pile of heavy
samples in their arms trying to find the exact same carpet at a lower price
Today, most retailers use private labels to disguise the true style name and
color numbers so consumers can't just call around to find the lowest price, and that
means higher closing rates and increased profits for retailers who have adopted
You may say it's not fair that carpet retailers use
private labels to confuse consumers but there are two sides to this story...
Retailer's Point of View
locally-owned and family run Carpet retailers offer free
measuring and estimates. From the moment you walk into their store, the
salesperson is ready and willing to spend as much time as it takes to help you
select a new carpet that meets your needs, goals, lifestyle, and budget.
the problem... If you take their free in-home estimate and measurement information and use it to
buy the exact same carpet from another dealer down the street, you can see how that might not be very fair to
salesperson who has taken several hours of their time to work with you, listen to
all your needs and goals, show you samples and explain
everything to you about the various products available, and then measure your home and prepare
a detailed estimate for you.
this hard-working carpet salesperson will potentially not make
a dime for all his efforts if you choose to buy from another dealer, who has
nothing invested in you, and who says they can do the same job with the same
materials for a few dollars less.
the first salesperson's point of view, this can be very disappointing.
is why they started using private labels on their products. It makes it
difficult if not impossible for homeowners to comparison shop for carpets or
other consumer products.
Homeowner's Point of View...
From a consumers'
point of view, it is important for you to get at least three estimates in order to be sure you are
getting a fair and square deal and then look at all three side by side to make
the best choice. Still it will be a hard decision because there will be lots of
me tell you a true story...
once knew a very nice man named Gene who owned a small carpet store in a small
town located on the Oregon
Coast. He and his wife took such good care of their customers, it was
really took customer service to the next level. If any customer was unhappy in
any way, Gene and his wife would do whatever it took to make things right. Even
if they had to refund all their money or totally replace all the materials and
labor at their own expense. They would do whatever it took to make things right
and make their customers happy and satisfied!
the kind of guy Gen and his wife were! It was amazing to me then and I am proud
to have known them and worked for them decades ago. It set the stage for me to
know what customer service really means!
confided with me...
once told me that he was fed up with local people who would ask him for a free estimate and
a free in-home measure...
only to use his free estimate and measuring information to buy new carpet from a
dealer in the bigger city of Portland who had the exact same carpet for just a few dollars
became concerned that he was wasting his time and trouble by spending several
hours trying to help local homeowners make wise and informed carpet buying
choices, only to lose the sale to the larger dealers located in Portland, who
could sell the exact same carpet at a lower price due to their increased buying
was aware of the problem that it cost about $50 more in shipping costs to
have a roll of carpet delivered from the big city of Portland to his local store
located at the coast, almost a hundred miles away. The stores in Portland were
able to avert this extra shipping cost and thereby offer his customers a lower
overall price, also due to the fact that the installers from Portland agreed to
deliver the carpet to all the coastal towns at no-charge to the Portland carpet
finally solved the problem by intentionally shorting every free measure he
provided to local coastal homeowners by a "just a few yards".
the homeowner accepted his bid/estimate, he would simply add back the few
missing yards of materials required to finish the job when submitting the order to the
mill and take the small loss of a few dollars. It may have cost him $50 out of
his own pocket to do this, but he felt it was worth extra cost.
However, if the customer tried to use his free
provided carpet measurements to order new carpet from another carpet store, the
other dealer would end up not ordering enough
carpet to be able to finish the job. This made some homeowners very angry
because it caused a lot of delays including significant time and expenses,
including a delay in completing the job by as much as two weeks or more.
One customer who tried to take advantage of
Gene's free measure and estimates and tried to use his free measurements at
another dealer, did contact Gene well after the fact, to complain that the measurements
Gene provided were not accurate and
that they had to order more carpet just to finish the job.
these homeowners were very angry about it, Gene got a good laugh
because he suspected they had every intention of exploiting his free in-home measurements
to buy new carpet in Portland for a few dollars less.
Buy From a Locally Owned Carpet Retailer
Times have changed and many Carpet stores now charge a fee for measuring
your home and no longer offer free measuring and estimates. This is true with
Home Depot and Lowe's. I hear they are now asking for a $75 deposit that may be applied to the final
bill if you decide to go with them, otherwise it is a non-refundable measuring
fee. Add to
that the private labeling aspect and it becomes very frustrating to try and find a good
deal on new carpet these days.
Some of you may be tempted to buy from an Online
Carpet Re-seller or from a Wholesale Carpet Warehouse in Georgia. Huge savings
are there to be had, but you had better do your homework first. That's what this
article is all about, how to save money on carpet without getting taken to the