Finding a good kitchen designer and fitter

The kitchen is the heart of the home and installing a new one is a dream for many people. But to make sure that dream doesn't turn into a nightmare, you need to find the right designer and fitter for your project.

Which? Trusted Traders has endorsed kitchen installers in your area. All our endorsed traders have their own profile page on our website where you can check the reviews from other customers. Customer reviews are a great way of getting honest feedback look for kitchen installers with lots of positive reviews and check their profile photographs and portfolios. Have they undertaken work similar to yours? Do they specialise in specific aspects of kitchen fitting, such as kitchen design, kitchen refurbishment or kitchen tiling?

It's worth considering using specialist traders for some aspects of the job. It may be that one fitter will have a range of skills and can cover, plumbing, tiling and so on. However, you might achieve a better finish with a series of experts. An experienced tiler might complete the job to a higher standard, for example, so could be worth paying a little extra. The same principle applies to other tradespeople such as plumbers or carpenters and joiners.

Note that gas-related work should be carried out by a Gas Safe-registered gas engineer. Similarly, you should check whether any electrical work should be carried out by Part P-qualified electrician.

All Which? Trusted Traders are subject to rigorous checks and an inspection before being accepted onto the scheme. In addition they must abide by a code of conduct and supply evidence of a robust complaints procedure. Another endorsement from a trade association, such as The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) and the Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKBBI) might give you extra confidence in a kitchen fitters credibility.

The value of experience shouldnt be understated either. Several years of trading could show that a trader is sound.

Getting kitchen design and fitting quotes

Some kitchen designers and fitters have showrooms with kitchen units, worktops and accessories on display, as well as manufacturerscatalogues. You shouldnt feel any obligation to buy while in a showroom the best kitchen fitters wont pressure you into a sale and instead aim to help you make the right choice. They will usually be happy to give you plenty of brochures and samples.  

Always get three, or more, quotes in writing. Try to get quotes that can be easily compared and make sure they include any hiddencosts. Waste disposal, for example, can be surprisingly expensive. Be wary of estimates’. Read our article about avoiding cowboy builders if youre not clear about how a quote compares to an estimate.

Ask about insurance. All traders should have public liability insurance and employee insurance if they have other employees. 

Watch out for subcontracting. While you could benefit from specialist tradespeople carrying our some of the work, you should make sure that any contractor is qualified, experienced and properly insured. Make sure you know where you stand, legally, in the event of anything going wrong. 

Hiring a kitchen designer and fitter

Designers who are helping you with a kitchen refurbishment may supply a drawing that shows how the finished kitchen will look. Make sure you understand every aspect of the sketch, as it might be difficult to make changes once the job has started.

Extensive kitchen work should come with a contract to be signed at the outset. Check this carefully it should include details of insurance and guarantees, the total cost, a payment plan and a schedule for completion.

Paying for kitchen design and fitting

A new kitchen is a big investment. A kitchen fitter may reasonably ask you to pay an instalment in advance or upon starting work to cover the cost of ordering goods.

Large jobs should include payment terms in the contract. Depending on the size of the job, you may be asked to pay in a few instalments.

Whatever happens, make sure a significant amount is reserved until completion. That way, you have an incentive for the kitchen fitter to complete the job to a high standard and make good anything that falls short of the standard you expect.

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