I realized today that I’m becoming a little too complacent when it comes to ensuring that I’m getting the best deals I can possibly get on my labor and materials. While I spent a year diligently shopping around to find a great crew of contractors and great deals on materials, I’ve forgotten that I need to keep on shopping and keep on working to reduce costs every step of the way.
This realization came this morning when I figured out a way to get my carpet and vinyl flooring for about 20% cheaper — and a HIGHER quality — than I previously could!
For the past 10 projects or so, my carpet and vinyl installation has been done by the carpet warehouse that’s been supplying the materials. This local store was willing to give us great carpet/vinyl prices as long as we used their installers — who were also reasonably priced, but not overly skilled. While the prices were good, it seemed like each job came with its own set of frustrations — on one job, the trim work was horrible; on another, the floor wasn’t leveled beneath the vinyl; and on another, the carpet wasn’t well stretched. But, because the materials prices were so good, we continued to use those contractors.
It took another investor that I met with yesterday to remind me that I live — LITERALLY — an hour and a half from the place where much of the country’s carpet is made. Dalton, GA is carpet and textiles manufacturing town about 90 miles north of Atlanta; they have dozens upon dozens of carpet manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, all offering tremendous selection at ridiculously low prices.
The investor I was speaking with yesterday mentioned that he worked with a warehouse in Dalton that provided not only great selection and prices on carpet, but also great service (they would overnight samples, deliver any purchases for a small fee, etc). So, this morning, my wife and I drove up there. We were amazed!
We found the same carpet we had been using — a low- to mid-level plush — for $4.99 per square yard; we had been paying $6.99 per square yard for the same stuff! Additionally, for $4.99 per square yard, we were able to get top-quality vinyl sheeting; in fact, we likely would have been paying over $10 per square yard for that same vinyl from our previous supplier! While the prices I had been getting were very decent, these prices were just unbelievable.
The fact that this world of low-priced flooring was just 90 minutes from my house and I had completely overlooked it for the past year was just an indication that I had been getting lazy in my search for ever-better materials and contractors.
Now that I have a low-cost supplier of flooring material, I can go back to using the great installers I previously worked with. Given the cost of materials and their cost of labor, I expect to save about 20% on carpet/vinyl flooring moving forward. While this might only add up to about $300-500 per house, given that we’ll hopefully do 15 houses this year means we could end up saving more than $7000 a year on flooring…well worth not being lazy… 🙂