Big-Box Stores and the Tricks They Play

Big-Box Stores and the Tricks They Play

When customers visit one of our South Florida showrooms with price quotes from one of the big-box chain stores, they?re often quite surprised at how easily we can compete. Truth be told, local flooring stores like Quantum Floors can not only compete, but also provide a much better value. Skeptical?

Most homeowners don?t know the tricks played by the big-box chains and the incredible resources you?ll get at a flooring store. You can start with being asked pertinent questions about your home before any flooring recommendations are made. Flooring is a complicated home renovation and the big box stores one-size-fits-all approach couldn?t be more wrong.


We?re all familiar with the business model of the big-box stores, buy in bulk and always have the cheapest prices, right? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Did you ever shop for a new mattress and try to compare prices among the different stores? You quickly learn that?s not possible since each chain carries their own models, so an apples-to-apples comparison is impossible. The big box stores do the same thing.

Welcome to Private Label Trickery

You might recognize house brands like Sam?s Choice, Kirkland and Archer Farms by Walmart, Costco and Target respectively. They?re made by other companies and sold under the retailer?s name. There is nothing inherently wrong with these products but they are rarely best-in-class and often manufactured to hit a ?price point? for the big-box store.

You see, name-brand flooring manufacturers don?t want to devalue their brand by selling it at unsustainable prices in a race to the bottom. What they do is make alternative versions of products for the big-box store.

The Flooring Industry is Not Immune

Big name-brands that make hardwood, laminate, and vinyl are making alternate versions for big-box stores, generally at a lesser quality, while keeping their name-brand product lines for specialty retailers like Quantum Floors.

What does this mean for you? You may get flooring that?s less expensive, often because it?s thinner, uses cheaper raw materials, is a factory second or of a lower quality than their name-brand products. It typically doesn?t last as long either.

Big chains use other well documented pricing strategies such as selling products at a loss in a quest to put the local mom and pop store out of business. This tactic works in some industries but not in flooring due to the myriad of other product and services that are inherent in buying new flooring.

Pricing and Promotional Tricks

?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. In other words, the price-match guarantee is worthless.

Loss Leaders

Most of us are familiar with this sales tactic. The goal is to get you in the door so they can convince you to buy more or upgrade you to another product with much higher product margins. 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.

The flooring industry was delivered a huge black eye when a major big-box store sold substandard flooring made only for them from overseas that ended up with the company admitting criminal liability, paying a huge fine and destroying 22 million feet of flooring.

?Installation Deals?

Free or $99 for whole house 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 (generally at a regular or inflated price). We all know their third-party installers don?t work for free, so how do they do this?

Well, flooring material is but one item needed for a new floor installation. Depending on the material you select, you will need several additional items such as glue, underlayment, baseboards or quarter round and more. This is where they inflate the cost to cover the so-called installation deal.

Flooring installers typically provide other services such as removal and disposal of old flooring and furniture moving. Expect to pay top dollar for these services through a big box store.

Local Flooring Store Expertise

Local, family-owned stores like ours offer promotions just like big-box stores. We work with our vendors to get discounted prices for our customers too. We also provide many more services that the big-box stores don?t such as educating our customers on the best flooring for their needs and a much higher level of customer service.

Quantum Floors biggest advantage is in providing a single point of contact and accountability for flooring materials, delivery, and professional installation by our in-house installation teams. That means you don?t need to worry about managing your project with different companies and worrying about making it all work. Another advantage is providing additional services that are not available at a big-box store like custom stair nosings.

The bottom line is that with service and installation, you?ll get pricing that?s extremely competitive for flooring that lasts longer all while supporting a local business that invests in your community.

It?s All About the Service

Sure, you can get courteous service in a big-box store, but once any problems appear, communication often breaks down. This gets worse as your job is handed off to different third-party contractors at each stage.

With a local business, you?ll deal with one point of contact from start to finish. At our showrooms, you?ll be in touch with the same person, even during installation. Our flooring pros have decades of experience and give honest recommendations. If we didn?t, our hard earned reputation would disappear overnight.

Our installation teams 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.

So, What?s the Verdict?

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 point of contact.
?Hundreds of hand-selected 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 and maybe, in the short run too.

Want to learn more about how big-box stores operate? Click here to view or download our free White Paper.