How to Find a Qualified Carpet Installer
By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate
If installed wrong, your new carpet could lose more than half of its intended lifespan!
Finding and hiring a qualified carpet installer can be challenging. If you use a poorly trained installer you will surely regret it.
The well trained installers charge a little more and are often very busy, but hiring them can be well worth the wait if need be!
Learn more about those big-box stores TV ads offering discounted or free whole-house Carpet Installation
Hiring the Right Carpet Installer
Some carpet installation jobs are more difficult than others and require that you hire a more 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.
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 any flooring installer can truly begin to master their trade, and that's only if they have the desire to become the best of the best, like I did.
Unfortunately, many installers NEVER become anything more than a poor-quality 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 show up on time. That's why everyone refers to them as fly-by-night installers. They prefer to work "under the table" and prefer 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 license information, then they do not have to guarantee their work. You will not have any recourse when they leave town, disappear and cannot be contacted when you have an installation problem.
If you have a problem with your installation you may not be able to get them to come back to fix the problem. Incompetent installers usually are easy to spot because they typically have a beat up truck or van, garbage is piled up on the dashboard, they usually have a wife or girlfriend that does the driving. They wreak of stale beer, body odor and cigarettes. Hide your purse!
There is another little-known factor that must be considered when looking for an experienced and reliable carpet installer. The important question you need to ask is "What type of experience do they have?"
Here is what I mean:
Some carpet installers charge more because they are more experienced in doing custom homes and commercial work. Some charge less because they are used to doing apartment or property management work. (apartments or rental properties).
You need to decide what level of expertise your job requires and then hire an installer according to their level of expertise and standard pay rate.
There are several levels of experience carpet installers have:
1. Property Management.
The experience of this type of carpet installer is obtained from installing lower grades of carpet in unoccupied apartments. 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.
Property owners and managers often do not thoroughly inspect the quality of work performed by installers doing apartment work. Many 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. Installers who do apartment work are generally paid the least amount per yard.
2. New home construction.
Installers with the bulk of their trade experience from new 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 with various styles and grades of carpet as well.
They always have to satisfy the builder and the new homeowners with their performance, which make 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.
3. Residential Remodeling.
These installers are paid quite well and do a great job for most residential remodeling homeowners. The command higher than normal fees and are booked weeks in advance. Be prepared to pay above the going rate for carpet installation in your area.
4. High-End Custom Homes.
These Carpet Installers are the most experienced and professional installers and as such are paid the highest fees. They are usually booked months in advance with custom home builders and million dollar realtors, and may not be willing to take on your project. They are quite picky about the jobs they accept and their installation fees are quite high.
If you are able to schedule them, you will receive first-class carpet installation and the absolute best customer service. Be prepared to wait several weeks before they are available to install your new carpet.
Learn more Carpet Installation Cost
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