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How to hire guide: bathroom designers and fitters

The bathroom of your dreams becomes reality when you hire the right tradespeople. But where do you start? Here are some pointers on finding the best local bathroom designers and fitters.

Finding a good bathroom designer and fitter

Word of mouth recommendations from friends and family are a good place to start. If you don’t know anyone who has had their bathroom refurbished recently, you can look at online reviews. All our Which? Trusted Traders endorsed bathroom designers and fitters have their own business profile pages, where you can read reviews from previous customers. We moderate all our reviews.

Look for bathroom fitters with lots of positive reviews and check their profile photographs and company websites. Have they undertaken work similar to yours? Do they have specialities, such as bathroom design, wet rooms or accessible bathrooms and showers?

Trade associations in this industry include The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) and the Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKBBI). All Which? Trusted Traders undergo rigorous vetting, but another accreditation from a trade association might give you extra reassurance about a prospective bathroom fitter's professionalism.

You can find an endorsed bathroom designer or fitter in your area with Which? Trusted Traders.

Always ask for references from any prospective bathroom designer and fitter. Bathroom refurbishments don’t come cheap so previous customers should have something to say about the outcome of their outlay.

Consider whether you’d rather employ a single business to cover the range of jobs involved in installing a bathroom, or whether different aspects of the job could be done by specialist traders. Would an experienced tiler, who could complete the job quicker and to a better standard, save money or be worth any extra cost? Apply the same test to other tradespeople, such as plumbers or painters and decorators.

Bear in mind that any gas-related work should be carried out by a Gas Safe-registered gas engineer, while qualifying electrical work must be undertaken by a Part P registered electrician.

Getting bathroom design and fitting quotes

Some bathroom fitters will have showrooms to help you get an idea of what’s available and how much it costs. Bathroom designers and fitters won’t necessarily be limited to the items on display. Typically, they will have catalogues from a range of manufacturers. Don’t feel bad about browsing for ideas - the best bathroom designers won’t pressurise you into a sale.

Each bathroom and home is different, so it’s not possible to estimate a job exactly without visiting your property. Our cost guide to some common bathroom fitting jobs should give you an idea of the likely range of prices.

Get at least three quotes for any bathroom design or fitting job, whether large or small. Try to get quotes that can be easily compared and make sure they include any ‘hidden’ costs such as waste disposal. Ask potential bathroom fitters if they have a minimum charge – this could work against you if you only need a small job doing, in which case, you might be better off employing a handyman rather than a specialist.

Subcontractors and suppliers

Fitting a bathroom requires a wide range of skills, and it’s worth finding out from your trader how they deal with this. It may be your bathroom fitter already has a trusted network of subcontractors. But if this is the case, you will not have personally hired each trader, so you’re placing a lot of trust in the project lead.

Ask your trader if they subcontract, where the responsibility ultimately lies for each part of the installation. You don’t want to be caught in the middle, while one trader blames the other if there is a problem with the work. It’s also worth checking that your prospective bathroom fitting company has insurance that covers them for any damage inadvertently caused to your property.

Be clear on the supply of materials, too. It might work out cheaper for you to buy your own bath or basin, for example. However, if the bathroom fitter can get trade prices and organise convenient delivery, this could be a better option for your project.

Hiring a bathroom designer and fitter

If you’re undertaking a complete bathroom refurbishment, then your bathroom design company might have supplied a sketch or mock-up. Make sure you are clear on every aspect of the drawing as, once agreed, the fitters should follow it to the letter.

Any major work should come with a contract to be signed at the outset. Check this carefully – it should include, as a minimum:

  • the total cost
  • the payment schedule
  • the start and completion dates.

Make sure you understand the terms of any insurances and guarantees, too. See our guide to working with your trader for more tips.

Paying for bathroom work

If a job demands lots of costly materials, then it’s reasonable for the bathroom fitting company to ask for a deposit on commencement or in advance of the work.

Under these circumstances, you should make sure that a significant amount will reserved until completion.

However you and your trader agree to deal with payments, you should get this in writing. It doesn’t need to be a formal contract – an email detailing any agreement is sufficient to provide a paper trail, which should help avoid misunderstandings or disputes later on.

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