I'm trying to choose a good carpet dealer. I recently got badly burned by a
drain service and am getting cautious about choosing various businesses. I
Googled but couldn't find reviews of the carpet dealers I am considering.
Maybe I should sign up for this Angie's List review list?
You know it's time to clean the refrigerator
when something closes the door from the inside.
Check out Yelp, you will find some fairly objective reviews there. In fact, if I were you, I would change my
approach, I would consider the dealers I find reviewed on Yelp and ignore dealers with no references.
The carpet business is as shady as the mattress business.
I'd be googling up area suppliers and talking to friends. Lists like
Angie's are paid by contractors to advertise and may be far from the
best in the area. Unsure about all of them but you have to ask what's
in if for them to make such lists.
On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 2:02:39 PM UTC-4, Frank wrote:
While you are not wrong about Angie's List getting paid by contractors,
it's not that simple. If things haven't changed since this 2013 Forbes
article was written, contractors must meet - and maintain - a rating
criteria in order to advertise and they must offer a discount in that
Please don't take this as defense of Angie's List. I have never used their
site so I have nothing to say about their service, good or bad. I simply
want to help make it clear that (assuming what is said below is still true)
it takes more than money to advertise on Angie's List. It appears that
you have to prove yourself worthy to consumers first.
Stolen without permission from:
In a statement, Angie’s List founder and CMO Angie Hicks said, ?
is built on a foundation of fairness and transparency. Everything at Angie
List starts with the consumers. The consumers give the reviews and assign
grades. The companies’ A-F ratings are the average of the consumer
receive. Companies that are A-B rated are eligible to advertise with Angie
List, but they must offer a discount with that advertisement and if their
grades fall below a B, we pull their advertising.”
Candidly I only looked at Angie' List once and that was back in the
early days when all was free, but none of the contractors were anywhere
When I looked at Home Advisors, heavily advertised on TV, I found that
none of their recommended roofers were any of the excellent roofers I
know in my area.
I figure the lists are money making propositions for list'er and list'ee.
I tend to be adverse to heavy advertisement and prefer those that are
good and don't need to advertise.
Easy to get burnt. Avoid anyone that takes a full page ad in the Yellow
Pages. Ask neighbors about the little shop in town that has been there
for 20+ years.
Price is important, but not the most important part of a buy. Service,
reliability, quality of installation are more important that saving $100
on an item you may have for the next 25 years. Avoid anyone offering
"free" anything as nothing is free. Same with those big SALE signs.
Now is also the time to consider other flooring options. Possibly a wood
floor with throw rugs or tile in a hallway.
We have a local store that I'd go to. I'd pay the price he quotes and
know I'm getting a fair deal. I've known the guy from when he as a
manager at a Sherwin-Williams store and later opened his own. He was
here longer than the 35 years that I've been here and he does well.
There must be a reason. Find a place like that from talking to your
You can also go to any of the big box stores, like Home Depot, Menards,
etc, and buy your own carpet. Then ask about who they have available to
install it. Most of those places have a list of local installers. Ask
these men for references.
Save yourself money by removing the old carpet yourself.
On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 2:26:54 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
Speaking of big SALE signs, there was a store near me with huge signs that
took up basically the entire front windows.
It was the arrangement of their signs that was pretty funny. Most of us
read left to right, correct? So how would you read these signs, hanging
side by side, across the front of a store:
| I'm trying to choose a good carpet dealer. I recently got badly burned by
| drain service and am getting cautious about choosing various businesses. I
| Googled but couldn't find reviews of the carpet dealers I am considering.
| Maybe I should sign up for this Angie's List review list?
One note on drain services: We paid $270 awhile
back for a drain blockage that I couldn't reach. It
was out near the street. A root growing into the
drain. The man was not a plumber and only used an
industrial snake. He could have used a holesaw-type
fitting to clear the root, but he didn't. He just
cleared it "for now". Eventually the whole thing had
to be relined. I learned my lesson. Next time I want
to spend $270 I'll buy a highpower drain snake and do
it myself. (As with rubbish hauling, I'm repeatedly
amazed that some of the highest incomes are made
by the least skilled contractors.)
You didn't mention price. A lot of carpet layers
advertise great prices. You can't expect top quality
AND low price, so that's one thing to consider. With
that in mind, you might want to look for someone
local and independent who's been in business for
Just my opinion, as I've never used Angie's
List, but I am a contractor.... I wouldn't want to
be on Angie's List or on Yelp. The reviews can't
be trusted and one negative can cause problems.
Most people are not fully informed, fair and honest.
Many will either make a hero of their contractor or
demonize him, which has more to do with their
vanity than with the contractor. I've found that
I can sometimes glean something on Yelp about
a company with many reviews, but for the most
part I wouldn't put any stock in them.
I've had phone calls and emails from Home Advisor,
which advertises a lot on TV. When I looked into it
I found they're basically just an advertising company.
If I signed up they'd send me contacts, which I'd
have to pay for. Then I'd have to call the customer
quickly and try to get the job before all the other
contractors who had just bought the same lead!
After a lot of reading I found that some contractors,
in some businesses, liked the service. But most didn't.
The problem with all of these advice companies is
that their motive is to make money, not to help you
find a good carpet layer. And Yelp, AL, HA are all
recent developments taking advantage of recent
Internet developments. They may or may not be around
in 5 years.
All of my business has always come through references
and I'd suggest the same to anyone who asks: Ask your
friends. Find people you know who have actually hired
the contractor. With carpet that may be more difficult.
It's not the kind of thing that one buys very often. Still,
asking around is the best place to start.
We had Home Depot do our attic about 15 years ago.
It still looks good. An impeccable job. But it also doesn't
get much wear, so I can't be certain about the quality
of the carpet itself. I've also had Home Depot for several
of my kitchen jobs, to get granite counter tops. They all
worked out well. It's not actually Home Depot. Rather,
they subcontract someone local. If they do a good job then
you've got a name for the future. I only had one bad
experience with HD. I needed laminate countertops and
dislike making them myself. I decided to try HD. The order
was fine except that one piece had the laminate on the
wrong edge, leaving an exposed edge. I took it back. They
agreed it was wrong but said it would take 3 weeks to fix!
I'm in Boston. The laminate contractor was in S. NH. My
job was almost done. I asked if I could drive up to NH on
my own time to get the counter done quickly. No way.
3 weeks. I went and bought a sheet of laminate and
finished the counter myself, at my own expense. That was
the last time I called HD for something I can do myself.
But in general I've been happy with things I've ordered
from them. At the very least, you know that they're not
going to use a subcontractor who generates complaints.
I used Home Advisor for furnace repair, roofing, and replacing a
broken glass pane. It was called Service Magic then, so it was 6-7
I found the contractors were pretty much split. The guys who got my
jobs were okay with the service, of course. Some of the others
resented paying the $20 or $100 for the referral, while some just
wrote it off as the "cost of doing business."
"Vic Smith" wrote
| I used Home Advisor for furnace repair, roofing, and replacing a
| broken glass pane. It was called Service Magic then, so it was 6-7
| years ago.
| I found the contractors were pretty much split. The guys who got my
| jobs were okay with the service, of course. Some of the others
| resented paying the $20 or $100 for the referral, while some just
| wrote it off as the "cost of doing business."
I didn't realize they'd been around that long.
Maybe they just recently expanded nationally.
They've only contacted me in the past year,
apparently using the state of MA contractor
registration listings to get names/numbers of
I can see how HA might seem good for the
customer. You get to hold an auction, with
several contractors showing up quickly to
bid on the job. So HA is doing all the legwork
for you. The only down side is that it's all
impersonal. You know nothing about any of
the contractors and they don't necessarily have
any concern for you.
I would guess the contractor view would
depend a lot on where you live and what kind
of contractor is involved. I'm in a big city, don't
advertise and have enough work. I wouldn't
even want responses to my own ads as long as
I can avoid it. That would mean sorting through
lots of people who don't know me. Most would be
only looking for a comparison estimate or looking
for a very low price. In other words, wasting my
time. With HA it's much worse. I'd need to compete,
often in a short period of time, trying to outbid
a number of other contractors. That would only
be worthwhile if the job were very big and very
lucrative, which is highly unlikely in the case of
HA. Generally I won't spend time on a bid if I know
the people are getting other bids. That's not a matter
of smugness on my part. It's just that I have mostly
regular customers, so the time spent to compete
for a job I might not even end up wanting is simply
not worth it to me. And the repeat business is
questionable. Most people who are getting 3 bids
will get 3 different bids next time. They don't value
With personal referrals there's some trust starting
out. The customer has a friend who I've worked for.
So we both feel some trust with each other and they
usually call me with the expectation that they'll hire
me -- not that I'll be one bidder among several. But
my work also involves a lot of repeat work. With
roofing and furnace repair (and carpetting) the
customers are often one-time only. So they need a
much bigger customer base than I do, and referrals
may not count for as much.
I can't even imagine bidding on fixing a pane
of glass. :) You must live in a very affordable region.
If someone calls me for that I tell them to make
a punch list and call me back, because I'd have to
charge them far too much if I go out for just that
small job. Neither one of us would be happy. I'd
charge them for maybe a half day, and that would
be a waste for me. I can't do much with the rest
of the day. Meanwhile, they'd be unhappy and tell
their friends that a contractor just fleeced them,
charging a crazy amount to put in a $5 pane of glass.
And in most cases the job can't even be done in one
trip. (Someone will need to paint the window after
the glazing cures. Most homeowners are not up
to that task.)
Awhile back I dealt with a tub refinisher who
did a beautiful job and was very responsible. I
offered to refer him to my customers, but he
couldn't be bothered to even give me a business
card. He said he got *all* of his customers from
Angies List and had plenty of calls. I guess that's
a good example of a contractor who will like those
services. He needs a new customer daily to stay
in business. Though if Angies List closes or falls from
favor, his business will evaporate overnight.
On Friday, September 23, 2016 at 11:02:53 AM UTC-4, Mayayana wrote:
Agreed, but there can certainly be exceptions.
I got a personal referral from a co-worker for an electrician. The guy
had done his pool wiring (fairly complicated with underwater lights, a
hot tub, bar, sound system, etc.) He came with glowing references.
In my case, his workers screwed up a simple service panel swap. I sent
him pictures of what I thought was wrong and he told me that what they
had done was OK. I was sure it wasn't, so I called another electrician
and verified that what they had done was against code. When I called him
him back and told him that I had verified that the installation was
wrong, he got pissed at *me* for not trusting him! I had given him his
chance and he either lied to me or doesn't know the code and he gets
pissed at me for calling somebody else. Wait...what?
Then he told me that I would have to wait until the guy that screwed it up
had his own free time to fix it because he wasn't going to let the guy
fix his mistake on company time. Are you kidding me? His employee screwed
it up, he told me it was fine when it wasn't, he got pissed that I proved him
either a lier or incompetent and then he expected me to wait until his
employee had "free time". It didn't take me very long to convince him that
it better be fixed within 3 days or the authorities would be notified.
When I explained the situation to my co-worker he was shocked. He said
it sounded like I was dealing with a totally different company. Who can
explain the differences? I can see personality conflicts causing a
difference of opinion about a given contractor, but this was a "screw-up
and then try to weasel out" situation. Maybe it's only when a contractor
screws up that their true colors become evident. As long as everything
(appears to) go right, the guy is a God-send. It's when the going gets
tough that you find out who you are really dealing with.
| In my case, his workers screwed up a simple service panel swap.
That highlights an entirely different can of worms:
Contractors who do the bid but not the work. That's
common with electricians and plumbers because they
need to do apprenticeships. It doesn't seem right to
me, especially if it wasn't made clear from the start.
And it's not just contractors. A lot of businesses
involve people who team up and expect you to just
accept whichever person is free that day, so that you
never have a personal connection.
On Friday, September 23, 2016 at 6:42:25 PM UTC-4, Mayayana wrote:
As I'm sure you are aware, this has nothing to do about sending employees
to do the job and more about his response(s) when the job was done poorly.
His employees should be considered an extension of himself and he should
own their mistakes. To not only treat me the way he did but to tell me
that I'd have to wait until his employee has "his own free time" tells me
a great deal the man himself. It also explains why his employees did
the type of shoddy work they did: They are truly an extension of their boss.
| As I'm sure you are aware, this has nothing to do about sending employees
| to do the job and more about his response(s) when the job was done poorly.
No, I'm not aware of that. If I hire someone I
expect them to do the job. If they have a helper
that's fine. Sending someone else is not fine. I
don't recognize his right to unilaterally define his
employees (or a subcontractor, for that matter)
as an extension of himself.
I don't argue with your complaint. Of course he
should take responsibility. But for me that's not
the primary problem. I'd never hire that man again
even if the job had come out well, because there's
no telling who would actually be doing the work
the next time. He's making his money off the backs
of others, at your expense.
A job is a job. You can size them up when they do the bid.
I'm in the Chicago metro area. Plenty of contractors here.
But most likely they won't be around next time. Furnaces and roofs
are 15-25 year items. I don't expect cracked windows often either.
You're right about it being a fast way to get bids. The contractors
start calling from their cells in the wink of an eye. I asked the
furnace repairman how it worked and he said he gets texted as soon as
I hit the enter key. He was very good, and I was lucky, because he
was actually the second call. I didn't even have time to tell my wife
that I entered my info into Service Magic, so she assumed the first
guy who called was a phone solicitor and hung up on him.
Not so sure about that. The guys who sanded and finished my floors
and the guys who replaced all my windows were referred to me.
I'll never see them again. I referred the guy who replaced my roofing
to a workmate, and he did her roof and replaced all her gutters.
It was a tall Anderson thermopane, and it wasn't cheap, just fast.
If you give an idea of where you are located, maybe there are others here
who would know of good carpet dealers in your area.
In my area, South Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, I belong to 3 different
local real estate investor group that have online discussion forums. A
question that frequently comes up is where to buy carpet (and other types of
flooring), who to use for the installation, what to get (what type, quality,
etc) etc. So, if you were in my area, I would be able to give you specific
names of where to buy, who to use, etc. based on the recommendations that I
see over and over in those online forums.
You may want to see if there are any real estate investor groups in your
area that could offer specific suggestions. Most require a membership fee
to join, but many also have free meetings that the public can attend. Here
is a link to help locate real estate investor groups in all states:
The dealer is just a middleman between the carpet manufacturer, most of
whom put our a pretty good product these days, and you.
He's not nearly as important as the installer who will be in your house
doing the actual fitting, cutting, seaming, tack stripping, laying,
There's lots of jack-leg "installers" out there with a pickup truck, a
carpet knife, and a knee-kick stretcher who don't have a clue what
The job may look OK when they finish and you hand them a check-- but in
six months or a year, lookout for ridges, opening seams, warping, poor
padding issues, etc.
With all this “gun control” talk, I haven’t heard one politician say how
they plan to take guns away from criminals and terrorists— just from law
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