Let's haggle over carpeting

We’re going to be getting carpeting soon, this will of course involve haggling over the price. I hate this aspect of making purchases… I’m not good at it, and I don’t really know how to do it.

So I’m starting this thread hoping to get some insight from the teeming millions on how to haggle over the price of carpeting.
As background info, we live in the Chicago suburbs, and will for sure be talking with the folks from Empire and Luna. We need to have the first floor done, and possible the 2nd floor as well (depending on the ultimate price).

I understand that for a huge job, there is more wiggle room on price. However, if we only want three rooms done, are they going to quote me a firm price? I was talking with a neighbor the other day who said they fully expect you to try to talk them down, just keep hammering on them to lower it further.
I can stand there and keep saying I want a lower price, but eventually they’ll just walk out, and I won’t have a firm price or any carpeting.

How do I determine in advance what a fair price is???

Haggle over carpeting? Who needs the additional stress?

Choose your carpet. Call a few places and ask for estimates for the carpet and installation. If the job involves removing old carpet and hauling it away, make sure the estimate includes that.

It’s not like plumbing or construction or electrical work, where surprises might crop up that would make the job cost more, so the estimate should be firm.

Yup. If you don’t like to haggle then calling up 5 or so places and getting estimates is a good way.

All other things being equal, choose the second lowest bid.

Don’t skimp on replacement carpet. Get quality stuff that will last, like Stainmaster.

I’m also not fond of haggling, especially if it seems like I’m insulting the value of someone’s work.

However, it doesn’t cost anything to politely ask something along the lines of “are your prices negotiable?” or “how flexible are on on the price?”

Or, maybe if you get a few estimates, pick the person you liked the most, give him a call and thank him for taking the time to look at your home, and then mention that you have other estimate(s) that are less expensive. Maybe he’ll lower his price, or at least if he’s a good businessman, he’ll take the opportunity to convince you that he’ll do a better job and that his higher price is worth it.

It probably won’t be haggling over the price of the carpet and instillation, they’ll be somewhat similar compared to the brand and type of carpet. In other words you’ll run across the issue of upsell. Yeah you get a good price for the cheap stuff, then comes the upsell.

As one poster noted, you need to check out what kind and brand of carpeting you want before you start.

Get a few bids, let them know you are doing so and let them provide you with their price. Pay attention to the specifications because a low bid will sometimes be because the specs are for lower quality.

One word of advice from a carpet store chick-get a quote on the WHOLE job. Some places quote an extremely low price per square yard/foot, but tack on insane amounts for stuff that should properly be included in the installed price.

We got some carpet installed this spring. After doing some research and talking to a lot of people I used a local carpet dealer.
I decided against getting carpet from a Lowes or Home Depot. The price was good but they contract out their installs so who knows how much experience these installer-for-hire have. Plus who knows how much knowledge the hourly employees have about carpet.
I was curious about Empire also but heard they were extremely overpriced. Even their super-duper deals were expensive.
The local dealer was a guy who had been in business for 30 years. His knowledge of carpet was excellent and his installers had worked solely for him for the past 15 years. He never bothered to upsell me to something I didn’t need.
He said they charged for capet removal but said I was free to use his dumpsters if I wanted to remove it myself and save a few bucks.