Kitchens – How To Get Value For Money

As a both a tradesman and consumer working around Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, I would like to share my thoughts and experiences with you, in the hope that you may gain a better understanding of how to get the best value for money when purchasing a new kitchen and looking for Hertfordshire property renovation services.

Too many people get hoodwinked into buying kitchens from the three big DIY superstores, with all the ‘buy it now’, ‘in the sale with a free appliance’, ‘sell, sell, sell’ campaigns. These outlets seldom offer the best value for money.

Also bear in mind that fitting costs from the above are generally anything from one-third to half as much again on top of the total kitchen cost, plus the dreaded VAT. The self-employed fitters they use are only paid an average of £1,200-£1,500 per kitchen, with the rest going into the corporate profits. However, if it’s a buy now pay later deal you are after, this might be the right decision for you.

Nearly all kitchen manufacturers and suppliers stock a similar range, but more importantly most will offer to beat any like for like prices. So if it is a high gloss white kitchen you want, make sure to get at least three written quotations, but exclude worktops and any freebies at this stage.

But most importantly, look at the quality of the carcass. Ideally, you want a good mid-range product manufactured in 18mm laminated chipboard, with a good solid back, not the flimsy hardboard associated with the lower end products. Soft close doors and drawers are really to be expected.

Remember flat packed products will add time and money to the installation, so get pre-assembled carcasses wherever possible.

Once you have your written quotations, you are now in a position to negotiate, either for extra goodies or a cash discount. Remember, worktops can also be bought separately, but know the width required for the kitchen range. I cannot emphasis enough that quartz, granite or Corian worktops are considerably more expensive when purchased as part of the package, likewise with sinks, taps and white goods.

Sharing with you my own recent experience, I set about getting a solid light oak shaker door kitchen for my own home last year. I sourced my quotations from my three trade suppliers: Howdens, Magnet and Benchmarx. I also looked at a Crown Kitchen from Plumbs in Luton and finally found the best deal with Wren Kitchens having visited their showroom in Kings Langley.

For the carcasses alone with pull out larder, magic corners and pull out bin store, I had initial prices of around £7,700 from Benchmarx and Plumbs to £10K and £12k from Howdens and Magnet for what were all very similar kitchens. Ironically, both the latter indicated they could price match when their follow up calls came in.

For those living in higher priced properties around Hertfordshire, such as Harpenden, St. Albans and Berkhamsted, you are most likely to be looking for quartz or granite worktops to uphold your home’s value. With this in mind, it is worth knowing that we have one of the UK’s largest importers of quartz based in Welwyn Garden City. Buying closer to source cuts out the middle man and saves money. Visit www.lunastone.co.uk

Dunstable Laminates offer a very comprehensive range of high quality worktops in different lengths and widths. Buying longer lengths can often reduce unnecessary joints and waste. Visit www.dunstablelaminates.co.uk

For the real budget kitchen and worktop prices you will still have to go a long way to beat Ikea.

Remember, most tradesmen are only looking to make their money on the fitting element. Most have trade accounts with Howdens and other trade suppliers and are more than happy to pass on their trade discount.

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