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Tips For Working With a Carpeting Installer

  1. Measuring
  2. After deciding which installer to hire, the first step is to have your home professionally measured. Measuring for carpeting is much more complicated than just calculating the square footage of your home. The carpeting will have to be cut and pieced together in many places to work around closets, narrow hallways, etc. Measuring for carpeting isn't as simple as it might seem on the surface.

    You shouldn't just blindly trust the installer's estimate either, though. Installers are normally paid according to the number of square yards they install. Most installers are honest, but a few aren't.

    Rarely, a dishonest installer will inflate your carpet estimate (after all, the installer isn't paying for the carpet - you are) and then stash the excess carpeting in his truck during the installation when you aren't paying attention. You will almost certainly be paying the installer according to the yardage quoted in the estimate. This way the installer gets paid for more work than was actually done and keeps the extra carpet to sell to someone else.

    If you check references carefully, you shouldn't get stuck with a dishonest installer, but, just in case you do, there is a simple way to avoid being ripped off with an inflated yardage estimate. Carefully measure your own home to determine the square yardage of your floor. Measure the length and width of each room in feet and multiply them to get the area. Add up the areas of each room to determine the total area of your home. Divide the total area of your home by nine to arrive at the square yardage necessary to carpet your home. If you plan to carpet any stairs, you will need to add 3/4 of a square yard for each stair.

    The installer's yardage estimate will almost certainly be a bit higher than yours. Extra carpeting will be necessary to handle odd spaces, such as closets. However, if there is a big discrepancy between your estimate and the installer's, more than 10% difference, ask the installer for an explanation. If his explanation doesn't seem reasonable, get a different installer.

    You should already have decided what type of carpeting you will be purchasing. Have all of the product information ready to show the installer. This information can sometimes affect the amount of carpeting needed.

    The installer should also give you an estimate of how much carpet padding you will need to order, as well as the specific type of padding that should be ordered. Be sure to tell the installer that you want any stair steps double-padded - this will affect the amount of padding needed. Double-padding your stairs will help offset the excess wear and tear stairs go through and extend the useful life of the carpeting on your stairs. Don't forget that stair carpeting is specifically excluded from many manufacturers warranties - if it has to be replaced early, it will be at your expense.

    Most installers will measure your home at no charge, if you hire them to do the installation. Typically, the installer will not bill you at the time he or she makes the measurements. However, if you do not hire the installer within a reasonable period of time, you will receive a bill for the measuring.

    The typical cost of measuring, when it is billed separately, is between $20.00 and $50.00, depending on how far the installer has to travel to get to your home and how large your home is. If you hire the installer to install your carpet, this charge is usually waived.

    The advice is generally free, so you should make good use of it. Carpeting installers don't receive any commissions on your carpeting purchase, so they are excellent sources for unbiased advice on the types of carpet and carpet padding you should purchase.

    Carpeting installers are almost always self-employed or members of a small family business. These businesses are hurting severely during the current bad economy. You are in a very strong buyer's market when you are dealing with these people. They will want very much to please you in order to get your business. Let them.

  3. Determining the fee
  4. Most installers charge according to the square yard of carpeting installed. The typical fee ranges between $2.50 and $3.50 per square yard, depending upon many factors - the size of your home, what type of padding you are using, what type of carpeting you are having installed, etc.

    Most installers charge for stairs separately, usually about $5.00 per stair for a standard straight staircase. Spiral staircases usually cost a bit more per stair.

    Some installers will charge you a higher fee per square yard of carpeting if they are expected to move your furniture, dispose of your carpet, or provide any other extra service. Don't let them figure the price of these services this way. It is confusing, and you will probably end up paying too much.

    Charging you an extra fifty cents per square yard to move your furniture, for instance, doesn't sound like much until you realize that this amounts to $100.00 for an 1800 square foot home.

    Price out any extra services, such as moving furniture or disposing of your old carpeting, separately on a flat fee basis. In the later stages of your negotiations, it will be easier to get the installer to waive fees for extra services to get your business if you already have them priced out separately from the installation charge.

    Do compare prices among several installers and let them bid against each other for your business. It's a buyer's market out there. Workers in all parts of the home furnishings industry are hurting for business. Don't be afraid to haggle.

    You will usually get the best prices during summer and winter. Don't shop for an installer during spring and fall if you can possibly help it. These are the busiest seasons in the industry when the installers will be in the highest demand, and much less inclined to give you a bargain price.

  5. Moving furniture
  6. Most installers will move your furniture for a fee. However, if you possibly can, you will be better off to arrange this yourself. If you don't have family members or friends who can help, you can contact a local high school. School administrators will usually be able to refer you to several dependable students who want to make some extra money.

    If you do decide to arrange with the installer to move your furniture, insist upon a clear flat fee for moving your furniture - before and after the carpeting is installed. Sometimes, people forget to specify in the contract that the furniture has to be put back again after the carpet has been installed. You aren't in a very good bargaining position when it's 8:00 at night and all of your furniture is stacked in one corner of your home.

    If you are hiring an installer during the slow business seasons, you might be able to get your furniture moved free just to get your business. Ask.

  7. Disposing of your old carpeting
  8. Many installers will do this for you for a small fee, usually around $25.00. If you are hiring an installer during a slow business period, you may be able to get the installer to throw this service in at no charge to get your business. Ask.

  9. The contract
  10. Get everything in writing, as always. Specify all details, such as double-padding on stairs or free disposal of your old carpet.

  11. The warranty
  12. The installer should warranty the work for at least one year, but probably won't unless you ask. Make sure that your carpeting is guaranteed against any defects in installation for a minimum of one year.

    This warranty is very important. Defects in installation often do not become apparent for several months, or longer. If the installer refuses to guarantee the quality of the work, hire someone else.

  13. Payment
  14. The vast majority of professional installers do not accept credit cards. They aren't set up to process them. This is simply not expected of people and businesses that normally work on a wholesale basis. If you are going to deal directly with wholesale workers, you will just have to get used to this.

    Always pay by check, never by cash. Cash receipts don't always hold up in court, if you ever need to take the installer to court.

    It is customary to pay the installer in full when the job has been completed.

  15. Start early
  16. When the day arrives, arrange to start work as early in the day as possible. If your installation can't be completed in one day, you may run into extra expenses to stay in a hotel overnight.

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