When customers visit our Austin flooring store with price quotes from a big chain, they’re often surprised by how we compare.
The fact is, a local flooring retailer like us can not only compete, but also give better value overall. Most homeowners don’t expect this because there are a few myths and misconceptions at play.
Let us explain.
We all know the concept behind big chains: they buy in bulk, so they always have the cheapest prices, right? Not always.
In some cases, you’re comparing different varieties without realizing it. It’s not quite apples to oranges, but a Granny Smith to Mcintosh comparison.
Welcome to private label
You might recognize house brands like Sam’s Choice by Walmart, Kirkland by Costco and Archer Farms by Target.
They’re made by other companies and sold under the retailer’s name. Nothing wrong with them. Sometimes they’re even made by big companies like Procter & Gamble and others.
But those big manufacturers don’t want to devalue their brand name by selling at a lower price, so they make alternate versions (with cheaper materials or fewer features) for the big retailer.
The same thing is happening in the flooring industry
Big brands that make hardwood, laminate, vinyl and carpet are making alternate versions for big-box stores, while keeping their name-brand product lines for specialty retailers like us.
Remember, big chains focus on offering the lowest-price products for the biggest profits. Their brands do the same.
What does this mean for you? You may get flooring that’s less expensive, often because it’s thinner or of slightly lower quality. It doesn’t last as long either.
Big chains use other pricing strategies as well.
Promotional gimmicks by big chains
Loss leaders: We’re sure you’ve heard of these deals with products sold at deep discounts. The goal is to get you in the door so they can convince you to buy more or upgrade you to another product. But the deal item is usually in limited quantities or of a certain style or color. And if it’s sold out, they offer an alternative at a higher price.
Installation deals: “Free or $49 for whole home carpet installation.” You know what they say about a deal that looks too good to be true. The fine print says you must buy a certain amount (at a regular or inflated price) and you often get cheap padding/underlayment and extra fees at the end.
Price-match guarantee: Home Depot says it’ll match a competitor’s price on “identical in-stock items.” This is great if they carry the brand you want, but in a private label situation, you’ll have a hard time finding the identical item.
Pricing at local flooring stores
Local stores like ours offer promotions just like big-box stores. We work with our vendors to get discounted prices for our customers in Austin too.
The bottom line is that with service and installation, you’ll get pricing that’s extremely competitive for flooring that lasts longer.
What about service?
Sure, you can get courteous service in a big-box store, but once any problems start, communication often breaks down. This gets worse as your job is handed off to different contractors at each stage.
With a local business, you’ll deal with one point of contact from start to finish.
At our store, you’ll be in touch with the same person, even during installation. Our flooring pros have decades of experience and give honest recommendations too.
Our installation contractors are also part of our team and have worked with us for many years. They’re known for leaving homeowners happy with stress-free installations, including furniture moving and cleanup.
Verdict: big-box vs. local floor store
We may be a little biased, but we always recommend local flooring stores as the best choice.
Here are just a few of the reasons why:
- Decades of flooring expertise & honest advice.
- Friendly and reliable communication.
- Personal service with a single contact.
- Hundreds of products from top brands in the industry.
- Stress-free installation by experienced installers.
- Pricing and products that fit your needs long-term.
So can you get cheaper flooring products at big-box stores? Sure. But it’ll likely cost you in the long run.