When you’re planning a kitchen renovation project you’ll be faced with a huge number of choices. Not least who will be doing the work for you. You might pay one company to provide and install your new units and worktops, or alternatively you might decide to organise everything separately.
Either way, you want to be sure that the tradesperson you entrust your beautiful new room to is up to the job. And you also need to make sure you’ll be getting value for money and protecting yourself from any mishaps.
So, while you’re busy getting quotes from kitchen fitters, we suggest you also ask them these important questions:
If you’ve already ordered your kitchen and have a date for delivery, or you at least know roughly when it will be, you need to start with the question of when your fitter is available. You don’t want to be stung with the costs or inconvenience of storing a kitchen for a long period of time. If the fitter you choose can’t commit for 6 months or more, you may need to look elsewhere. But conversely, it’s nice to find a fitter who is relatively busy as it could signal that they’re in demand and doing a good job.
Often one of the benefits of choosing one company to deliver and install is the fact that it becomes their responsibility to make the dates work.
Unless you’ve found your fitter through word of mouth, it’s important to make sure that they’ll do a good job for you. And showing you a few photos of beautiful work they’ve done previously doesn’t cut it. After all, this is someone you’re inviting into your home, you need to make sure they’re trustworthy and will work tidily too. Ask for a selection of testimonials or recommendations and it should put your mind at rest.
When you’re budgeting and planning for your project you’ll need to work out not just how much it’s going to cost but when you’ll need to pay each instalment so you can make sure you have all your finances in order. Your fitter may need you to pay a deposit up front or may be happy to invoice you once the work is complete. At Koivu, for example, the cost of the kitchen will be due before delivery, but if you’ve asked us to fit it too, you’ll be charged separately once the work is done.
You should also check whether VAT is included in the quote – you would usually expect that it is, but at 20%, if your kitchen fitter forgets to mention it and you forget to ask, this can soon mount up to a significant amount to find at short notice.
You’ll probably find that while your units are guaranteed for a period of time (here at Koivu it’s 25 years!), the fit doesn’t work in quite the same way. But it’s worth asking the question. Will you receive any kind of guarantee, or can you contact your fitter after the work is done, for example if cupboards need adjusting or a handle falls off? From their answer you’ll get an idea of just how confident they are about the quality of their work and their customer service ethic. Proceed at your peril if they start to act shifty.
It’s personal choice whether you want your fitter, or kitchen company, to remove your old kitchen before they begin work on installing the new one. As a low skill job, it doesn’t make sense to pay the rates of a skilled tradesman to remove and discard unwanted items. That’s one of the reasons we don’t offer this service – because it’s not a good use of our time or your budget.
However, whether this is an option for you will depend on the company or tradesman you’re using – as long as you’re clear what you have and haven’t paid for, that’s the main thing.
In order to connect sinks, electrics and gas hobs and ovens you will need an electrician and Gas Safe registered plumber. Many kitchen fitters won’t be able to do everything – that’s not unusual, but you’ll need to ask the question to understand what you’re paying for, and so you can arrange for these services to be on site at the right time. If you would prefer a fitter that can do everything for you, you will certainly be able to find them, but may find you pay slightly more to take into account the extra training they’ve gone through.
While it’s not vital to meet your kitchen fitter in person before the job, what is important is that your fitter understands your plans. He’ll need to know whether you’re buying flat pack or fully assembled, and he may want to check that your utilities will be in place before the fit begins.
It’s down to personal preference whether you feel it’s necessary for your fitter to come on site prior to starting – most tradesmen will be happy to work from any plans and 3D images that you have.