Everyone wants the best quality workmanship, but no one wants to pay the highest rates. At the same time, no one wants to end up with a ‘cowboy builder’ either – having to replace everything they do wrong could easily end up being even more expensive!
To make it even more complicated, the place that sold you your new kitchen most likely has an in-house fitter. Should you use them? They will very likely do good work, but you’ll definitely pay for it. You can usually save quite a bit of money using an independent fitter, even if that means spending some time tracking down one you can trust.
So, how do you choose the right kitchen fitter?
First, check their qualifications.
Technically, there is no qualification scheme for kitchen fitters. Nonetheless, most good fitters have some kind of joinery qualification.
Ask how long they have been in the business, and if they belong to any trade associations too. Lastly, look them up at those trade associations online! Most customers don’t, so many cowboy fitters will simply lie.
Then, check their references.
Many fitters will have their own website, and if they have been in the business for some time they should have collected at least a few glowing reviews and testimonials. Check the independent online review resources, too. After all, you won’t see may negative reviews on the fitter’s own page!
Lastly, ask to see pictures of their work.
Even if they aren’t online, most fitters will have a few photos of their better work. Be a bit suspicious if they do not.
If you see any of these warning signs of a bad kitchen fitter, you should really find someone else:
- High markups – ask the company who will be supplying the kitchen to price your plans, as well as the fitter. If the fitter is marking the price up by more than 10-20%, he’s probably charging too much.
- Not TrustMark approved – The TrustMark scheme only approves reputable companies.
- If they’ll be installing (or even working around) a boiler or other gas appliance, make sure they are Gas Safe registered (Gas Safe used to be called Corgi).
- If they make you feel pressured – that you need to make the deal quickly to qualify for a special price, it might be better to find another fitter.
- If the fitter is reluctant to sign a contract, or insists on being paid in cash, just walk away.
- If the fitter requires 100% payment up-front, be suspicious. Pay no more than 40%-50% up front.
One last bit of advice – no matter which fitter you go with, make sure that their quote includes the extras like electric, gas and plumbing fitting. Many fitters include these in their quotes as standard, but you could be in for a nasty surprise of you don’t make sure.
Now, get out there and find your fitter!