SWMBO has decided that she wants a new kitchen. She's had the designer
from Magnet take measurements and do a design. Magnet have designed and
priced, £5.5K for the parts + £2.5K for the fitting. They want all the
money before they start work.
Is this normal business practice? It seems to me that once the've got
the money, there's no incentive for them to complete the job properly,
or in good time. Do all these businesses work this way?
I certainly wouldn't be prepaired to do that.
I'm currently buying a kitchen with MFI. They want 20% deposit and then
staged payments throughout the process.
Also is your price complete - all the kitchen companies I contacted excluded
plumbing, tiling, appliance installation, electrical work - these are
confirmed when the fitter comes round to do a full estimate.
They could argue that they need all the money for the units before they can
supply them, but again it depends on what lead times they are talking
about - MFI mentioned 10-12 weeks.
When doing large building jobs I would always try for stage payments but
certainly ensure that there is a good sum that is only paid on completion to
I'm lucky enough to always had good craftsman, but they are always very busy
(and working on a few jobs at once) and towards the end when they have all
their money they can be more inclined to attend to other customers. And
when it comes to fixing your snagging list it can be very difficult to get
hold of them. But they will be much more attentive if you still owe them
I have never paid upfront, even a deposit, for work carried out on my house.
I've had several extensions, a fitted kitchen, doors and windows, gas fire
and wood fireplace, new central heating system etc, and on no occasion have
I ever been asked for money upfront. I would avoid MFI like the plague if
this is what they're asking. Any decent outfit should have enough cash flow
to avoid asking for money in advance. BTW, the MFI price seems over the
top - are you getting gold plated fittings. A decent small firm could
probably do a better job for 2/3 of the price or even less.
Read carefully, MFI aren't asking this, Magnet are.
Also, I don't see how you can make any subjective comment on the price of
the units when you don't know what they are nor what quantity.
Under no circumstances should you pay in full in advance. A deposit for
"make to order" stuff, and maybe balance of materials on satisfactory
delivery, is the max. Only pay labour when completed satisfactorily (unless
a long job, with stage payments, which a kitchen shouldn't be; and even
then you would expect to withhold 5% or 10% as a retention).
Magnet claim they are part of "Trustmark", and the Trustmark site says...
"In return, you are expected to deal fairly with the firm, agree a fair
price for good work, and pay quickly when the job is finished."
If they don't like your terms, find a different supplier / fitter.
Before choosing our kitchen we did the rounds of the companies. Magnet
offered wonderful incentives such as free dishwashers and great discounts
but when we worked it out, nearly all the firms amounted to much about the
same price. Our kitchen is in an extension built for the purpose and we were
lucky that there was a local company who wanted to get on the right side of
our builder so gave us an excellent deal - good quality stuff for an
excellent price and we let the builder arrange the installation. All in all
we did well.
It was a different story when we needed to refurbish the bathroom. No
builder involved and the same firm as supplied the kitchen quoted an
exorbitant price. This confirmed our earlier impression that it was the
builder's influence which did the trick in the first place. We found another
local company for the bathroom.
I guess this ramble is just backing up a suggestion to work out carefully
what it is you are paying for and do not pay up front. Maybe a deposit but
hang on to the final amount until you are fully satisfied.
We've decided against Magnet, and we're going with a local chap.
He wants a deposit when we confirm the order, full payment for the parts
when they arrive, and payment for the fitting, when the fitters have
finished fitting it. That sounds much better to me.
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