Is Empire Today Actually Worth It? An Honest Review (2023)
Empire Today, which some may know as simply Empire, is a long-standing flooring company with decades of experience selling and installing various types of floors. The company boasts transparent, all-inclusive pricing estimates, available next-day installation, and unique flooring designed to minimize noise. But is Empire Today a good option for customers looking for a flooring company? This Empire Today review will explore the ins and outs of the flooring installation company so customers searching for “Empire flooring near me” can determine whether it might be the right fit for their needs.
See more of the best carpet installation companies, best flooring companies, and the best hardwood flooring installers.
Our Verdict: Empire Today offers a wide selection of flooring options, a convenient in-home shopping model, an easy-to-use visualizer tool, and a transparent pricing model. Unique offerings such as WhisperHOME wood flooring (designed for warmth and quietness) and HOME Fresh carpet (designed to be hypoallergenic and odor neutralizing), as well as more traditional flooring options and an available service plan to repair any damage, make it a top choice for customers looking to redo their floors.
- Service area: Nationwide
- Types of flooring available: Carpet, laminate, vinyl, hardwood, tile
- In-home shopping: Yes
- Estimate scheduling: Online, phone
- Warranty: 1-year installation warranty
- Transparent, all-inclusive price estimate
- Next-day installation available
- Wide selection of flooring styles
- Wide selection of carpet textures and styles
- Highly detailed and realistic room visualizer tool
- Allegedly superior sound reduction and temperature retention with exclusive WhisperHOME wood flooring
- Service plan covers damages beyond warranty coverage
- Relatively limited selection of solid hardwood flooring
- Limited pricing information online
- Installation warranty limited to 1 year
Empire Today Review: Claims
Empire Today offers a wide range of flooring options, free in-home estimates, a nifty room visualizer tool, and several customer service options to help customers meet their flooring goals. But does it live up to its reputation?
About Empire Today
Empire Today started in 1959 as a family-run home furnishing business in Chicago, Illinois. The company was originally called Empire Plastic Covers, but changed its name in 1965 to Empire Home Services to better describe its mission. The company kept that name until 2003, when it was rechristened Empire Today after being sold to new owners.
Today, the company offers its services in more than 70 locations nationwide and is one of the best-known names in the flooring industry. It’s also known for its distinctive Empire Today commercial featuring a catchy jingle and a character known as “Empire Man.” The first TV commercial aired in 1978, and Empire Man was a live-action character; however, today he is portrayed in cartoon form instead. Thanks to the jingle featured in the ads, customers have likely heard of Empire Today even if they have never used the company for their flooring needs.
However, Empire Today is more than a jingle and a fun cartoon character. The company offers numerous types of flooring, at-home consultations, all-inclusive pricing quotes, and in some cases, next-day installation.
How It Works
Empire Today keeps costs down by not maintaining showrooms for customers. However, it services 70 “locations” across the country that serve as bases for salespeople, representatives, and employees to operate out of. Rather than a showroom, the company offers a “Shop-at-Home” model where consultants will visit a customer’s home to discuss the flooring project and show examples of materials that might work best for the customer’s needs. This also benefits the customer, as they will be able to fit their flooring consultation around their schedule more easily and can plan the project from the comfort of their own home.
Customers can make a Shop-at-Home appointment by visiting Empire Today’s website or by calling 800-588-2300. Appointments are often available as soon as the next day, so customers won’t have to wait around to start planning their flooring project. During the appointment, an Empire Today flooring professional will ask the customer questions about what they want from their flooring project, including their needs, preferences, and budget, and offer suggestions that fit the bill. By bringing flooring samples to the home, Empire Today representatives can help customers see how each option would look against their decor and in different lights without the guesswork that would be involved when visiting a flooring showroom. The convenience of the Shop-at-Home model means that potential customers can save the time and hassle of leaving their home to see their flooring options and better fit their consultation into their schedule.
After the customer has decided which type of flooring they want to go with, they will receive a same-day all-inclusive price estimate so they can see exactly what the project will cost. In addition to the cost of the flooring and installation, the quote includes moving furniture, removing old flooring, installing padding or underlayment, installing threshold and trim, and cleanup. Empire Today strives for transparency when it comes to pricing, though there may be unforeseen issues (such as subfloor repair or replacement) that could come into play once the project is underway and increase the overall cost. However, barring these additional issues, the customer’s final price should match the initial estimate, allowing them to budget accordingly without worrying about any last-minute surprises.
Empire Today flooring installation services are designed to suit the needs of homeowners and businesses around the country. Since Empire Today is a full-service flooring company, customers will be able to choose their desired flooring and have it installed by the same company within a reasonable time frame—sometimes as soon as the day after they sign a contract. However, that does mean that customers are limited to the flooring choices offered by Empire Today; there is no option to buy flooring separately from.a different company and have Empire Today install it, nor to buy flooring from Empire Today and have it installed by a different company or as a DIY project. That might be a deal-breaker for some customers, but most will appreciate being able to complete their entire flooring project through one company. Empire Today also strives to complete installation as soon as possible after the customer has signed a contract, whereas the flooring project may take longer for a homeowner who tackles installation themselves or hires a separate company for installation. Empire Today can install carpet and other flooring types as soon as the day after the customer signs the agreement.
Business owners can also have their flooring replaced by Empire Today. The company offers several high-durability wall-to-wall commercial carpet options designed to help reduce noise and cover large spaces. As part of commercial carpet installation, Empire Today will move furniture and other office items so the business owner doesn’t need to worry about taking care of any preparation work.
Flooring Materials Selection
Empire Today has a large selection of flooring materials designed to suit a wide range of tastes. This includes carpet, laminate, hardwood, vinyl, and tile. Customers will find products in a variety of finishes at different price points, so they likely won’t have trouble finding something to fit their home’s aesthetics. For each type of flooring, customers will find information on the pros of choosing that material and who would best benefit from it. This way, customers can get a better idea of what options may best suit their needs if they aren’t sure where to start.
Empire Today’s extensive flooring selection includes the following:
- Carpet: HOME Fresh, plush, frieze, berber, indoor-outdoor, pattern, commercial
- Laminate: Wood laminate
- Hardwood: WhisperHOME, engineered hardwood, solid hardwood
- Vinyl: Vinyl plank, luxury vinyl tile, sheet vinyl, commercial vinyl plank, commercial vinyl tile
- Tile: Porcelain, ceramic
Empire Today carpet options include plush, frieze, berber, outdoor, and patterned. Plush carpet has a soft texture and a timeless feel, and is generally soft to walk or lie on. Frieze carpet features tightly twisted fibers that are ideal for high-traffic areas such as living rooms and hallways. Berber carpet is among the most durable as it’s dense and tightly woven. In addition, berber carpet is more resistant to stains since spills tend to stay on the surface of the carpet rather than soaking in, which makes them easier to keep clean and ideal for homes with young children or pets. Empire Today also offers a hypoallergenic and odor-neutralizing carpet called HOME Fresh. This type of carpet is designed to repel dirt, allergens, and moisture, making it easy to keep clean and ideal for allergy sufferers. It’s also resistant to mold and mildew and made with 90 percent post-consumer recycled material.
Customers who prefer a wood finish have several options, including wood laminate, hardwood, and engineered hardwood. Wood laminate flooring is typically the most affordable and is available in a variety of colors. Laminate is also durable and resistant to scratches and fading, which makes it a good option for busy households or those with pets. Customers can also opt for solid hardwood or engineered hardwood flooring—solid hardwood offers a classic, high-end look and can be refinished to change up the look. While Empire Today’s hardwood flooring selection is relatively limited, it still features a variety of colors and wood types to fit a range of preferences. Engineered hardwood has a similar look and feel to solid hardwood, but it comes in at a more affordable price and often has better durability. Empire Today also offers a line of wood flooring called WhisperHOME, which is designed to be quieter than traditional wood flooring.
Vinyl options include plank, tile, and sheet vinyl. Vinyl plank has a similar look and feel to natural hardwood, but it’s waterproof and durable enough to install in high-traffic areas. Vinyl tile mimics the look of real tile and can be installed with or without grout lines for a more realistic look. Sheet vinyl is designed to resemble stone, tile, or hardwood, and it’s highly resistant to stains, scratches, moisture, and mildew. Vinyl is also typically a more cost-effective option than real wood or tile floors.
Finally, Empire Today offers a selection of porcelain and ceramic tiles that are ideal for high-moisture areas of the home such as kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms. Customers can choose between wood-look and natural stone to suit their home’s decor.
For customers who want to get a better idea of their options before scheduling a Shop-at-Home appointment, Empire Today offers a room visualizer. This tool allows customers to upload a photo of their room and choose from a selection of Empire flooring types to see how they would look in their space.
The room visualizer is extremely simple to use: Once the customer has uploaded a photo of their space, they can toggle between various different flooring options, from hardwood and tile to carpet and vinyl. On top of that, the visuals are high quality and hyper-realistic, so customers will be able to see exactly what each type of flooring will look like in their home.
They can also choose different color variations of each flooring choice to see which will look best in their room. Customers can upload several photos of different rooms in their home to compare how their flooring choice will look in each area, or to choose a different floor for each room. They can even save photos of their favorite flooring choices by taking a screenshot to show other residents of the home and get their opinion. This gives customers the confidence ahead of their Shop-at-Home appointment to know the types of floors they are most interested in, which can help the appointment go more smoothly.
If the customer doesn’t have access to a photo of their space, they can choose from a variety of demo rooms to see how each flooring option will look. Demo rooms include living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Once the customer has chosen their demo room, they can change the flooring options just like they would with a photo of their own home. This can give them a better idea of how the flooring will look once laid in their chosen location.
Empire Today also has several photo galleries that feature the company’s floors installed in real customers’ homes. The photos are organized by room, so the homeowner can easily see what a variety of flooring options look like when installed in various locations around the home. In addition to the flooring samples the customer will see at their consultation and the room visualizer, this will give them an even better idea of what their favorite floors look like as a finished product.
Estimates and Scheduling
Empire Today offers free in-home estimates for customers interested in redoing their floors. Scheduling is easy, with customers having the choice to book their appointment online or call to schedule. Empire Today says that customers can get appointments as soon as the next day, which is ideal for those who want to get the ball rolling quickly on their new flooring project. Customers will receive an email from Empire Today confirming their appointment, which is made for a 2-hour window in which the representative will arrive. If the customer needs to reschedule, they can do so by calling Empire Today—there is no option to reschedule appointments online.
While there are no showrooms for a customer to visit, searching for “Empire carpet near me” can let potential buyers know if there are Empire Today salespeople and representatives who are within a reasonable distance and can travel to their home. If so, customers and flooring experts will meet in the client’s home. The professional will bring the samples and offer a same-day estimate once they have narrowed down their flooring choices. Empire Today asks that all decision-makers be present at the appointment since the company is unable to leave flooring samples at the customer’s home for them to peruse at their leisure. Estimates include transparent pricing, and Empire Today strives to quote the same price the customer will pay once the flooring has been installed so they can more easily budget for the project. That includes moving furniture or other items.
However, the company stresses that its estimates don’t take into account any unforeseen issues that may arise once the project gets underway, such as subflooring repairs or replacements. Customers who live in older homes where the floor hasn’t been updated in some time may want to budget a little extra over the Empire Today quote just in case there are any unexpected repairs needed during the flooring installation. To do this, customers can familiarize themselves with the cost to replace subfloor or any other related projects that might come into play
Cost, Offers, and Financing
With so many flooring options to choose from, the final cost of flooring installation with Empire Today can vary depending on the size of the installation space and the type of floor chosen. Empire Today provides customers with free quotes after they meet with a representative who will help them find a flooring option that will work for their needs and budget. However, the company doesn’t list any prices on its website, which can make it hard for customers to estimate the total cost before scheduling an in-home estimate. This may be off-putting for some customers, but it will result in a more accurate estimate based on the customer’s precise requirements.
Empire Today does offer two financing options through Wells Fargo Bank and Synchrony to help homeowners pay for their flooring project. Customers who choose 12-month financing may qualify for a 0 percent interest rate, though if the customer does not pay in full by the 12-month mark, they will be charged interest on their balance. Customers on this financing plan can choose to pay in the way that makes the most sense for them, whether that’s in monthly installments or several lump-sum payments. There is also a 48-month financing option that offers interest rates from 11.99 percent with fixed monthly payments. Using this option, a customer financing $2,000 will pay $53 per month for 2 years, with a total amount of $2,528 including interest.
The company often has promotional offers and coupons to help customers save on their flooring project. Coupons are easily viewable on Empire Today’s website, allowing customers to see exactly what options are available for them. They can also ask an Empire Today representative if there are any current offers or coupons during their Shop-at-Home appointment.
Customer Service and Support
If a customer needs to contact Empire Today for service or support, they have three options: phone, live chat, or email. Empire Today has 24/7 customer support via phone; however, customers can also request a callback from the company by entering their phone number in a form on the website. Upon entering their number, the customer will receive an immediate call rather than needing to wait on hold for an available agent.
Customers who choose to contact Empire Today customer support via email will need to fill in a form on the website with their contact information. Empire Today will contact the customer via their preferred method within 1 to 2 business days. Customers who don’t want to wait that long can take advantage of the live chat function via the company website. Upon entering a chat window, customers can choose between booking an appointment, checking the location of their sales representative or installer, or requesting general help. Once the customer has specified their query, they will be directed to a live representative who can assist them.
Empire Today offers a 1-year limited installation warranty for all flooring products. The warranty states that the installation work will be free from defects due to workmanship for the 12 months following purchase and installation. If the customer needs to make a warranty claim, they can contact Empire Today by phone to request service, and the company will send a representative to the home to inspect the flooring. If the representative finds the claim to be valid, Empire Today will repair or replace the affected flooring or give the customer a full refund. The warranty is not transferable and will be voided if the customer sells the home within the warranty period. Empire Today will also void the warranty if anyone but an authorized contractor performs work, such as painting, repair, installation, or removal of the floor.
Each product sold by Empire Today comes with a warranty. Carpet may be warranted against soiling, staining, wear, fading, static, and/or texture retention for a certain period of time depending on the style. Solid and engineered hardwood floors offer warranties against wear and/or structural issues. Laminate flooring products offer coverage against staining, fading, wear, topical moisture, and/or structural damage. Tile flooring options have warranties that cover manufacturing defects only. Finally, vinyl flooring products offer warranties on wear, staining, fading, mold/mildew, topical moisture, water resistance, structural damage, and/or manufacturing defects. Customers can find the warranty information for their specific flooring via Empire Today’s website.
While the 1-year installation warranty is on the low end for the industry, customers can purchase the Empire Service Plan to help cover any damage for 5 years after installation. Customers can add the plan up to 5 days after installation, and the plan will last for 5 years from the initial service date. The service plan covers damage to the floor such as scratches, dents, dings, gouges, stains, warping, snags, and unraveling. In some cases where the damage cannot be repaired, Empire Today may replace the affected flooring instead. Customers won’t have to pay a service fee upon making a claim, which helps save them money. Claims can be made via phone, with customer service representatives available 24/7.
In addition to information about available flooring options, Empire Today’s website has several resources for customers interested in learning more about flooring, including content on keeping flooring clean and design ideas from real homes. Empire Today’s blog is full of useful information, though at the time of writing it had not been updated in over a year. Regardless, many of the resources are timeless and can help customers learn how to properly care for their floors to ensure they last for many years to come.
Empire Today Reviews by Customers
Before hiring a flooring company, customers will likely want to read reviews from a variety of sources so they can gauge whether the company will fit their requirements. Empire Today’s website has an abundance of positive reviews from customers around the country through ShopperApproved, where the company has a rating of 4.4 out of 5. Positive reviewers mention the company’s professionalism, timeliness, and work quality, though some reviewers report difficulty in contacting customer service and longer-than-expected installation times. It’s perhaps unsurprising that the company promotes the best reviews, and since Empire Today is a national company, it’s possible that customers in different locations may experience discrepancies depending on the contractors.
It’s noteworthy that the ratings seen on the company’s website reflect the Empire flooring reviews on Consumer Affairs, which are also generally positive. These ratings average to be 4.1 out of 5 stars. Customers liked the fact that Empire Today brings the product samples to the customer’s home rather than the customer needing to go to a showroom. They also praised the installation process, saying that it was very professional and that installers worked quickly and often under the estimated project time frame. However, Empire Today’s limited financing options caused some customers to dock points, as did the fact that customers can’t view prices online and must have a consultation to determine price.
Overall, Empire Today reviews are positive and speak to the quality of the company’s flooring installation services.
How Empire Today Stacks Up to the Competition
One of the biggest selling points of Empire Today is its transparent pricing estimates that include all aspects of a flooring installation project, from room preparation to installing new carpet padding or trim. While other companies may offer similar quote processes, Empire Today puts the information in an easy-to-reach place on its website to make sure customers know exactly what they will see in their project quote.
Empire Today isn’t the only flooring company that offers in-home consultation: Others in this space who offer a similar service include Luna and National Floors Direct. However, Luna doesn’t list its flooring options on its website, which means customers can’t preview the types of flooring they may be interested in. National Floors Direct does show flooring options on its website, but there is no room visualizer to help customers see what the flooring would look like in their home. By showing flooring options online and offering a visualizer, Empire Today makes it easier for potential customers to see exactly what will and won’t work in their home before they even meet with a representative.
Empire Today is also notable for its wide variety of flooring products, from carpet and hardwood to laminate and tile. Often, flooring companies focus on one material over another, which makes it harder for a customer to choose a company if they’re not sure whether they want carpet or hardwood. LL Flooring, for example, has a wide selection of hardwood flooring options, but no carpet—so customers who aren’t sure which type of flooring they want may feel more limited. In addition, LL Flooring doesn’t offer in-home consultation services, so customers will need to go to a showroom to see flooring options, which can be a deal-breaker for those who prefer the convenience of Empire Today’s Shop-at-Home service. Luna does offer a similar range of flooring to Empire Today, including a wide range of carpeting options, but customers won’t be able to view exact carpet choices on Luna’s website like they can on Empire Today’s website.
While some other companies may have longer warranties on their flooring installation, Empire Today offers an affordable service plan that covers issues like scratches, stains, warping, and snags. There is no service fee for customers who make a claim, and Empire Today will either repair or replace the damaged flooring within 5 years of the installation date. Luna offers a similar service plan, but it’s limited to 50 months, which is equivalent to just over 4 years.
Should You Hire Empire Today?
Empire Today is a leader in the flooring industry for a reason. Customers looking for a one-stop-shop flooring company will likely be happy with Empire Today’s services. The in-home shopping feature makes it accessible to many types of customers, and the large selection of flooring types means it’s easier for customers to find a flooring option that will work in their home. Empire carpet reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and the company has a long history in the flooring industry that makes it a trustworthy name to most customers. Overall, Empire Today is a top choice for most homeowners looking to refresh the flooring in their home quickly and for an affordable price.
We independently reviewed this service by weighing the company’s claims against first-hand experience with its professionals. However, due to factors such as franchising, human error, and more, please note that individual experiences with this company may vary.