Fortunately, there are many companies in the UK who can help you make your dream kitchen come to life. Not all of them are worth your money, so it pays to know how to tell the pros from the posers. Let’s start with some guidelines on choosing the right service.
Find an Approved Installer
Check whether the business has been accredited or endorsed by any trustworthy organisations. Members of trade associations are bound to certain standards when it comes to conduct. There’s usually an independent complaint resolution service as well, which you can contact if anything goes wrong.
Don’t just take the installer’s word for it – check that the endorsement bodies are listed on their website. Organisations to look for include the:
- British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (BiKBBI)
- Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA)
- Kitchen, Bathroom & Bedroom Fitters Trade Association (FairTrades)
- The Association for British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM)
- The Tile Association (TTA)
Use Recommendations and Reviews
Perhaps you know someone who can recommend a fitter. You may even be able to pay them a visit and see the work for yourself. If this isn’t an option, you can always head online and read customer reviews of traders that you’re considering. Reputable companies will have a few testimonials and references on their website.
When there are negative comments, assess the reasons and how the fitter responded. Be sure to check for authenticity. Take an objective view of the information and determine whether it sounds genuine. Here are some tell tale signs of a fake review:
- Extremely high percentage of five star ratings
- Unnatural language
- Unverified accounts with little history
- Fewer subjective and anecdotal details
- Lots of pictures (this is commonly requested by sellers who incentivise feedback)
Obtain Several Quotes
Always get at least three quotes before settling with a specific company. Ideally, you should receive them in writing with a detailed breakdown of all of the costs.
The last thing you want is to deal with surprise bills before the job is done. Aside from materials and labour, extras such as waste disposal should be included in the final figure. These additional expenses can quickly add up. Remember that cheaper isn’t always better.
Check the Website
How does the company’s website look? The information included and overall design speaks for the level of effort they put into what they do. Well-written content and high-quality pictures of their work are signs of good service.
Leading kitchen fitters typically offer free consultation with no obligations. You might also be able to request a call back instead. Don’t forget about the testimonials we mentioned earlier. Here’s an example of how a fitter’s website should appear: https://www.hunterhalldesign.co.uk/fitted-kitchens-belfast-northern-ireland/.
Opt for Specialists When Necessary
For some aspects of the job, it may be worth hiring a specialist trader. This is particularly true when dealing with complicated projects and expensive materials. If tiles are a core feature of your kitchen, for instance, then an expert tiler may complete the job faster and to a higher standard than a general service provider.
Certain jobs demand this approach for the sake of safety, such as installing gas appliances. These should only be fitted by an engineer who is Gas Safe registered. Electrical work is best done by a qualified electrician as well.
Hiring a Kitchen Fitter
Once you have the above areas covered and you’ve found the right person, it’s wise to do a bit of background research and get all the necessary documents in place before moving forward. Following are some guidelines to consider.
- Ask about insurance – all traders require public liability insurance and cover for their workers
- Find out about any subcontractors who will be working with the fitter
- Check for technical services such as plumbing and the associated charges
- Ask if the installer needs to cut materials on site and where they will do it
- Find out if you’ll be able to use your kitchen sink and if a temporary alternative is provided
For larger projects, a contract should be signed at the outset. It should include details of guarantees, total costs, payment agreements and a schedule. The last aspect will give you an idea of what will happen each day and when to expect deliveries, along with the expected completion date.
Paying for Kitchen Fitting
Needless to say that new kitchens don’t come cheap. It’s not uncommon for fitters to require a deposit up front. This is usually meant to cover the cost of ordering materials. Depending on the size of the project, you may be asked to pay in several instalments as opposed to a single payment at the end.
In any case, it’s best to ensure that you have a significant portion of the payment reserved for the completion of the installation. This way, the company has more of an incentive to complete the job on time and to your standards. Read carefully through the terms of the contract to check that you’re happy with everything.
Deciding Whether to Stay at Home
Should you stay at home while the installation is carried out? Kitchen fittings can get loud, messy and disruptive. This can be more than just a minor inconvenience if you work from home.
Your cooking will probably be limited to a microwave and washing plates may be a challenge. When plasterwork is removed, it creates dust that can spread into other rooms. Consider moving elsewhere or sectioning off the kitchen as much as possible, especially if you live with young children, pets, or someone who experiences respiratory problems.
Assuming your fitting company provides project management and you trust them to do their job on their own, you may be comfortable with leaving them to it. Some homeowners take this opportunity to go on holiday.
There’s a lot to consider here, but rest-assured that your due diligence will pay off in the long run. Soon enough, your kitchen will be completed without any hassles.