Spotting a Kitchen Cowboy Back to Blog

Spotting a Kitchen Cowboy

Spotting a Kitchen Cowboy – What to avoid when buying and fitting your new kitchen.


So you’re thinking of buying a new kitchen? That’s great. There are very few renovations that will add more value to your home, both in terms of sell-on and in the here and now for you. A well designed kitchen that matches your current decor is a real game changer for your home.

The problem is, there are hundreds of cowboys out there who’d be only too happy to get that kitchen and fit it for you. “Save yourself the hassle” they say, “Trade rates…” they tell you. What they don’t tell you is there are 101 ways they can make more money than is fair. We’re here to help you spot them before you’re out of pocket – and who better to advise than our resident Joiner and kitchen fitting specialist – MD Scott Galloway.

So, in your experience, how much is the average kitchen to buy for the customer?

SG – On average, I’d say in the region of £4k to buy. Then £600-£1k to have it fitted by a decent tradesman. Of course, that’s an average for an average kitchen. You can get lower quality for far cheaper, or can go luxury and pay tens of thousands. It really depends on your budget.

And what could a tradesman get that same kitchen for?

SG – Assuming you had some sort of relationship with that company, you could probably get it for around £2,800. A big difference at any rate.

Why such a big difference?

SG – It’s all about volume. Generally, a tradesman won’t just buy one kitchen from a company. They’ll be their go to for all kitchen business, so the company is happy to let it go at a cheaper price due to the likelihood of repeat business.

So why shouldn’t a customer let the tradesman get it and save themselves some money?

SG – Because the tradesman likely won’t give it to you for what they paid for it. They might get it for £2.8k, but they’ll charge you £3.9k.

Not to drop names, but Howdens is a perfect example – I (meaning a tradesman) could get the kitchen for £2.8k, but they would be happy to write an estimate for twice that with the customer’s name on it. All just because the tradesman wants to make more money under the table.

Who’s to blame then? Suppliers or Trades?

SG – The tradesmen. The supplier will happily sell it to anyone who buys in volume at trade rates. You can’t blame someone charging more for an individual product. It takes more time and effort. The tradesmen are just looking to divert the money from the transaction between supplier and customer into their own pocket.

What should a customer look out for when buying a kitchen?

SG – Get a price for a kitchen from the company, then ask your tradesman to give you a quote for the same plans. You’ll be able to see how far apart they are, and that will give you a good idea as to whether or not you are being conned. In general, a tradesman should be able to clear 10-20% on a kitchen. I used to add 11%. If it’s between 10-20%, that’s normal. But, if you see your tradesman’s quote is 50% higher, you need to go somewhere else.

How much time/money should they expect to pay for a medium sized kitchen installation?

SG – Average kitchen installation cost – £600-£1k, in my experience.

Of course, if you need an accurate, fair quote based on our excellent relationships with Kitchen Suppliers check out our Kitchen Page


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