10 Surprise Carpet Final Invoice Fees
If you’re like most carpet shoppers, you expect your carpet bill to have three lines: charge for carpet, charge for padding and charge for installation. In rare cases, these might be the only three items on your bill. More commonly, you’ll unravel your bill and feel your stomach drop. You storm into the store and tell the salesman this isn’t what you were quoted. He responds with a spiel on how the prices quoted were for “standard” homes, and your home required the store to go above and beyond.
The only way to avoid this sticker shock is to know what extra charges to expect. So let’s dive into six common hidden charges that many carpet retailers will attempt to tack on your bill:
1. Removing old carpet
You might expect you carpet installer to remove your current carpet, and they probably expect to be the one to remove it as well. So far, so good, but here’s where it gets confusing: most homeowners think this service is included as part of the installation, meaning its part of the installation price. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. Installers who charge extra for removal will tell you it takes up their time, so it makes perfect sense they charge for it. I can see both sides of the debate, but one thing is certain: the shopper should know ahead of time if this is going to be a charge; since some installers won’t tell you, it’s up to you to ask.
2. Delivering new carpet
This is similar to above: you and the retailer assume that it won’t be you delivering the carpet to your home, yet sometimes this is tacked on as an extra fee. Just like the carpet removal, ask ahead of time so there’s no surprises.
3. Extra room(s)
This really only applies to promotional prices. Whether it’s “carpet for any room just $99” or “free installation,” sometimes you have to pay attention to the asterisk (*). The promotional deal may only apply to a “standard room,” which usually isn’t very big. You’ll be charged for any extra square footage, and in some of the more scammy cases, this extra charge will be unreasonable high.
4. Transition strips
An abrupt change from carpet to tile or hardwood doesn’t look too great, but in some cases, this is exactly what you’ll get if you don’t pony up extra cash. Transition strips are used when transitioning from one type of flooring to another. These strips aren’t a major cost, but depending on what the installer wants to charge you, they can add up. If you’ve been quoted a price and notice your bill is a little higher, check to see if “transition strips or metals” is tacked on to the bill.
5. Dump fee
Let’s say you buy your new carpet and schedule to have it installed. Everything goes well with the new carpet in your home. The installers are gone, and the job is over, but there’s one problem: your old carpet is sitting in your front yard. You probably wouldn’t be too happy about the little mess they left you. The good news is this won’t happen—the installers will get rid of your carpet for you. The bad news is it isn’t always included in package price.
6. Poor installation
Okay, so poor installation isn’t a true cost. You won’t find it on your bill, but it will eitheraffectt your bank account, or you can choose to live with carpet that looks like it needs to be replaced. No matter how great of carpet you buy, it’ll break down way sooner than you want it to if it’s not installed right. This makes it extremely important that you don’t overlook this critical piece to your carpet package.
7. Hauling away carpet
Sound familiar? Last article we discussed you may be charged for removing your current carpet. Sometimes this goes a step further and “removing your carpet” means uninstalling it. In other words, the installer removes it from your floor and throws it outside. If you don’t want to be the one to remove it from your front yard, they are glad to do it—for a fee. It pays to check if disposing of the carpet from your property is part of the price quote.
8. Stair installation
Stairs require more carpet and more time installing than there square footage indicates. When the retailer gave you a total of the amount of carpet you need, it should already have included the stairs. However, the installation fees may change, especially if you received a “flat” installation fee (eg. $99 for whole house installation). Many of these flat rate fees come with an asterisk, and you will be charged extra (sometimes what seems like an unfair amount) for each step. Ask that any price you’re quoted, including installation, already has your stair steps factored in.
9. Moving furniture
Plan on leaving your house on installation day without doing any prep work? It will cost you. Most installers will tell you furniture needs to be moved out on the day of installation. Some may not. If they move the furniture for you, expect to see a charge added to your bill. It’s important to discuss the fee ahead of time because otherwise you’re paying whatever price they choose.
No estimate is going to leave out these three charges, but they could be deceiving, especially if you are quoted a deal from a big box store. Many advertised deals quote bare minimums. If you choose carpet or padding that doesn’t fit the list or don’t have a straightforward home for installation, you get dinged with extra charges. It can be worse than it sounds. Sometimes these deals are setup to make it difficult for you to get the minimum price, unless you want to be stuck with poor-quality carpet. And when you pick something that doesn’t fit the requirements of the deal, it voids the deal entirely and sky rockets your estimates cost.
Captain’s parting words!
No one wants surprised on any bill. With a big investment like carpet, “small” add-on fees aren’t always so small. Avoid paying 100’s extra by keeping these fees in mind. You can even directly ask your salesman if any of these fees could be added to your final invoice. Sometimes these fees are perfectly acceptable; they just need to be communicated. And once you bring them out in the open, it can be a great place start to negotiating your carpet.
Be especially cautious with businesses known for aggressive or borderline scamming sales tactics. I avoid these companies in general, but if you must do business with them, get everything in writing.
Any questions on carpet fees? Let me know in the comments below.
Are we required to prepay in full for the install labor or usually allowed to pay it when the job is completed?
Both are common and 50 before 50 after may be most common. Better for you to pay after, but if they want prepaid payment, I’d try to negotiate a 50/50 deal.