Not all flooring suppliers are created equal. Each has developed to find it's niche in the local scene. Every store also has different alliances and deals with their suppliers. The product you end up putting in your house could have a lot more to do with your choice of flooring store than what you walked in the door wanting than you would think. Here are some tips to help you get what you actually want out of your flooring.
TIP 1: DO RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME. Have a good idea of the "look" you are trying to achieve before you walk in the door. You should have an idea of budget and style when you start shopping. Otherwise you may end up with whatever that store has in stock or maybe product that more accurately represents your sales person's tastes than your own. Bring inspiration pictures from Instagram, Houzz and Pinterest that will help communicate your ideas.
TIP 2: SHOP STORES FIRST AND PRODUCT LATER Before you commit to anything, go to a couple of stores. Different stores will have different offerings. Some have 1 year install guarantees, some have financing, some offer extended warranties, some stock product so you can see exactly what you get and don't have to wait for shipping. At Allied, we have a designer on staff, our store has a huge focus on home fashion, we have a low call-back rate, we aim to make renos effortless for our customers, we are a small operation and can be flexible, we are committed to getting unique looks. Ask questions about the company and make sure they seem reputable, knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile for service. It's good to know.
TIP 3: STAY FIRM TO A LOOK BUT OPEN TO PRODUCT Every store has different relationships with their suppliers. You may want "Kraus Carlotta plank in Westbury HIckory" but not all stores will sell Kraus products and not all that do will have the same access to price points. It may be worth looking at other flooring options. Suppliers offer limited time promotions to preferred dealers and sometimes have ongoing special pricing for specific products., It's worth being somewhat flexible on your choice when you can get more bang for your buck by benefiting from the store's specific allegiances.
TIP 4: DON'T ASK FOR A DEAL Well, Don't ask for a deal until the end. When you start out asking for a deal, you will only get shown the least expensive products. I find people often ask for cheap, but are really more interested in value, making their money have the biggest impact. If you ask for deals right off the get-go, you will limit your options immensely. It's in your best interest to be honest about your budget, but there are a lot of options out there to cut costs down. It's best to get the right look and fit for your space. Maybe that means opting for a vinyl tile instead of ceramic so you can cut down on sub-floor and install costs or do a smaller area to feature the look you want.
TIP 5: LET THE SALES PERSON DO THE LEG WORK Instead of pouring through samples, flipping through seas of grey and brown, let the sales person show you a few things that match what you are looking for. They will find options that will technically/mechanically work in the space and probably have a better idea about how to navigate through displays. They will also likely avoid product that has historical issues with stock, manufacturing defects and unfair pricing. If that sales person is good at their job, they will also have a basic understanding about supplier alliances, promos and pricing. The sales person should also be able to tell you how the product will perform in the space you've picked. "No you shouldn't do hardwood in front of your bathtub"; "Maybe that wall tile, won't be best for your floor"; "You have how many kids? maybe get a stain resistant carpet"; "That gloss tile could be slippery"; for some examples.
If you have any other questions or want to share about your experience, please leave a comment below!