How Much Did You Pay for That Carpet? View all Articles

Your square yard price is only the beginning. Be sure you're only paying for enough carpet to cover your floor. Otherwise, you might be paying for phantom carpet, and putting excess cash in your installer's or your dealer's pocket.

Beware of low prices from full service dealers!

I've asked serveral people about the cost of the carpet they recently purchased for their home. They usually say something like, "Oh it was about $30.00 per square yard." Or they might say the carpet was $20.00, the pad was $4.00, and installation was $6.00 per square yard. Then I ask how many yards they bought and they say "I'm not sure. About 120 yards."

Then I ask "How do you know you got 120 yards?" and they say, "Because it's on the invoice."

So you think they actually installed 120 yards? The invoice only tells how many yards you paid for.

At this point, the light goes on, they look bewildered and say, "You know, I don't have any idea how many yards they actually installed in my house. All I know is the installer measured and told me how many yards I needed. "

Think about it. If your carpet man pads your order by 20%, that's a lot of money to his bottom line. One million in annual sales a year, and that's a whopping $200,000 in extra profit! This is the ultimate sale for a retailer or installer. A sale with absolutely no cost. No material cost. No labor cost. 100% of this phantom sale goes to the bottom line.

It might be the local retailer, it might be a Big Box, or it might be the installer, but whoever the scammer is, it's very hard to catch and prove that you've been scammed. If it's the installer, he might say "Oh, I ran the carpet a different direction so your seams won't show," or "they must have shorted you at the mill." You may even catch him taking a roll off the job site, in which case he'll just say it was extra, and he was returning it to the mill for credit. The point is, it can be hard to prove.

The worst I've ever seen was a job that needed about 400 yards and the installer figured the job at 700 yards. When I asked the lady if she really thought her house needed 700 yards of carpet, she said that her other estimate had called for 650 yards! These installers would make between $3,000 and $5,000 extra profit on this one job! At the customer's expense! The larger the job, the more room for creative measuring.

The only way to protect yourself from this fraud is to review the yardage requirement for your job. This should be done with the installer or your salesperson. If you make a simple drawing of the areas to be computed, the process should make sense. But under most circumstances, you should not need over 10% more carpet than the square yardage you are covering. The larger the house or office, the less overage you'll need (percentage wise).

I hope this lesson of the phantom carpet sales helps you answer the question. "How much did you pay for that carpet?"