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What IS Free Basic Carpet Installation?

By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate


Wondering about those INCREDIBLE Carpet Installation Specials advertised by Lowe's and Home Depot and others? Here's what you need to know before you agree to buy from any carpet or flooring retailer that offers free or discounted installation services...


I'm sure you've seen the plethora of repetitive TV ads offering FREE basic Carpet Installation from the big box retailers like Lowe's and home Depot. Even Free Whole-House installation!!! How can they afford to do this???


You might want to do a little research and investigation before you jump on that bandwagon. Unscrupulous flooring retailers have it all figured out how they will get you to pay more for the carpet and padding, and a bunch of add-on extras you never figured on... They offer you a super low price for installation and then the gouge you for the cost of materials and labor!!!


Please don't be naive about this! If it sounds too good to be true... It is!


Here is a simple breakdown of some additional carpet installation fees you might incur for a typical three-bedroom home that are not included in their definition of a "basic carpet installation" 



The BIG BOX Carpet Installation Scam


The Scam... Lure You in with FREE Basic Installation or $37.00 







Six Ways They Can Get You To Pay More...


1. Removing your old carpet and padding. 

  • Tear out 100 yards of old carpet and pad @ 3.00 per yard                          $300.00

2. Haul away your old carpet and pad to the dump fee.

  • Haul away and dump fee @ $200.00                                                             $200.00

3. 28 feet of new transitions at the kitchen, baths and laundry doorways. 

  • 28 feet of new transition metal @ $3 per foot                                               $  84.00

4. Carpet Installation on a flight of stairs.

  • Install flight of stairs @ $225.00                                                                     $225.00

5. Replace Damaged tackless strips. 

  • Remove 40 feet of damaged tackless and install new @ 3.00 per foot      $ 120.00

6. Move several large pieces of furniture in and out. 

  • Furniture moving: 6 large items @ $25 per item                                            $150.00


 Total Possible additional cost to you for Carpet Installation                $1079.00


(This is just a guesstimate and the amount you may be charged could be more or less depending on where you live, who you buy from and the extra tasks you need to have performed.)



Things to Consider...


If you were to fall for one of those "Free Basic Carpet Installation" gimmicks that you hear about on television or see offered in the big box stores, you could be hit with massive additional fees for hundreds more than you might expect because none of the charges shown above would be covered under their limited definition of a "basic" carpet installation.


  • Basic Carpet installation:    FREE or $37.00??

  • Extra fees and charges:     $699.00 (Surprise!)



"They might not tell you in advance about all the extra fees and charges that are not covered under their limited definition of a basic installation until the installer shows up at your door and starts adding up all the extra "non-covered" work that needs to be done. The installer will then ask you to pay for the extra work and added duties that your job requires" 


Be prepared to write another check or provide a credit card for the additional amount due for the added fees and charges. 







What does a Contractors License, Surety Bond and Liability Insurance do to protect the homeowner? 


If you plan to hire an independent flooring installer or contractor and plan to pay him directly... Here are a few things you need to consider very carefully...


The Contractor's License - Is designed to protect homeowners from shoddy workmanship or "fly-by-night" contractors who do sub-par work or fail to address homeowner complaints. The Contractors License is issued and enforced by the state in which you live, if it is required. All State Contractor License Requirements


The Surety Bond Is for the benefit of consumers who may be damaged as a result of unpaid subcontractors or an incomplete job. A surety bond is there to ensure project completion within the terms of the contract.


The Contractor's Liability Insurance Policy - Pays for damages to property and persons caused by the contractor. This insurance also covers a range of issues from accidents to negligence and oversight. Basically, if someone is injured or your property is damaged as a result of a contractor's mistake, the policy will pay up to its limit.


  1. Check to make sure the contractor you hire is properly licensed with your state's contractor's licensing agency, if required. 

  2. Check to make sure he has a valid Surety Bond if required by your state.

  3. Check to make sure he has a valid Business Liability Insurance Policy. 

  4. If he has helpers, make sure he has a valid Worker's Compensation Policy that covers each of the helpers by name. Ask to see the policy and call the carrier to verify the premiums have been  paid and the policy is in full force. You are entitled to know the full name of each and every person that is performing work or services on your property. Ask for it before work begins.


You will want to ask to have their insurance company put your name and jobsite address as an add-on to his policy and email or fax you a copy of the policy showing you as an additional rider prior to the actual installation. This is as simple as having him call his insurance agent and asking for a "rider" to be issued to you. 


They can fax it or email it to you as well as send it via snail mail to the jobsite address. This insurance rider may help protect you from being sued in the future should the installer or any of his helpers be injured while working on your property. 







Does Your Carpet or Flooring Installer Have a Valid 

Workman's Compensation Insurance Policy for his helpers?


  • The Workers' Compensation Policy - Workers' compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence.



You may not be protected from a lawsuit if the subcontractor or independent installer you hire does not have a Workman's Compensation Insurance Policy to cover him and all his helpers. 


You could end up in a lawsuit if they are injured while working on your property. Ask to see the workman's compensation insurance policy or insurance card and make sure that anyone who works on your property is named and fully covered by that policy. 


Is that policy up to date and have all the premiums been paid? It only takes a quick phone call find out. 


When the installation is provided by the Carpet Dealer and you pay the Dealer directly for the total installation cost, the dealer is usually responsible for making sure the installers he uses are fully licensed, bonded and insured, if required by state or local laws. You still have every right to ask the dealer for proof of licensing and verification of insurance coverage. 



Always Check Your Contractor's References


It's also important that you check your carpet or flooring installer's references to make sure he does quality work with the same grade and style of carpet or flooring you are purchasing. Ask for at least four recent references and then take a day or two to make some phone calls to verify. 



Disclaimer: I do not offer or provide, suggest or imply any legal advice to you or anyone whatsoever and you should seek out your own source of professional legal advice as needed. You should contact your homeowners insurance agent to make sure you are fully covered if you plan to hire any contractors or subcontractors to work on your property. All information on this website is the opinion of the author and is not intended to offer, provide or replace expert professional legal advice. There are no warranties expressed or implied on this website. Seek expert legal advice from an attorney if you have questions or concerns.


Basic carpet installation, Lowe's carpet installation, home depot carpet installation, carpet installer license, carpet installer bond, carpet installer insurance, carpet installer workman's compensation, Carpet installation cost. Contractor state liability surety bond and Worker's Compensation requirements.








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