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Do people get posh kitchen shops to do free kitchen designs and then go to howdens?? (AIBU)

(35 Posts)
reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 12:35:34

I have a vair naice kitchen shop man coming to look at our kitchen and redesign it for us. They offer this service for free (obv on the hope/assumption people will go on to buy and have their kitchens installed). A family member has used this place to redo their kitchen and it was amazing and the designs/planning was excellent. When said family member was having kitchen done this shop said to family member when they found out I was needing a kitchen that they would be happy to come along and design with no contract that I would have to get them to do the work etc. So on that basis I rung them up and have booked them in to look. I'm now feeling a bit guilty as kitchen man said when he comes we will have to go through budget before he designs to ensure we have an interest in going with them and I got the impression they were a bit funny about designing kitchens if the customer then didn't go on and use them (which is quite right, I am being cheeky). I'm quite an honest person and I'm now debating whether to just cancel the appointment and design the kitchen myself, but I know they will do such a great job and we want to get this right.

So, is it normal or acceptable to effectively lead on kitchen salesmen to get a free design to take elsewhere? Should I be cancelling the appointment? Hoping for people to reassure me this is quite common but also realise I may be told IAB completely U. I sort of see it as you get a number of building quotes before getting work on the house done, so why wouldn't you go to a couple of kitchen places to get different designs/quotes.

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 12:39:23

I asked several to come and design mine before buying it from wickes. grin

I told them all that I was getting quotes from more than one company though and I gave them a genuine budget. In the end I was a bit disappointed with what they came up with and I used the online ikea tool to get the layout I wanted.

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 12:46:08

That's interesting jins . We were going to have it done before we moved in and went to a kitchen shop and were really disappointed with their design too, it was more of a 'here you are, now we can jig it around and see what you like' as opposed to any thought or care, but this place I'm going to did a really thoughtfully designed place for my rellies first time. We would buy it from them if we could but our budget would not be enough for them (we'd spend more like £15 000 ish on the actual kitchen and having it installed and they'd be at least double that), so I'm worried I'll give our budget and they'll just say it's not enough and not design anything for us, so I may have to expand and be a little vague on budget (which I am vague anyway as we need building works to prepare stuff in the room first which is an additional cost to our kitchen budget and the amount this work costs will depend on how much we can spend on the kitchen)

EdgarAllanPond Thu 11-Oct-12 12:48:52

we used Wickes design service, then bought from B&Q

and fitted it ourselves.

we just didn't like the Wickes style so much (salisbury vs 'solid ash)

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 12:52:25

The key phrase with budget is to give a figure and say that there's some flexibility.

lalalonglegs Thu 11-Oct-12 13:03:11

Give them a budget that seems almost realistic to get their kitchen - so about #25k - and tell them that you are also having their rivals come round to design and quote. That way, they will work extra hard on your design and not be wholly surprised when you don't follow through - you can say that rivals came in with better quote. <<devious>>

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:04:15

Thing is edgar I imagine loads fo people use the high street places and then never use their designs, this place is a little more exclusive styley hmm

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:06:02

isla fabulous idea. My rellies kitchen came in at about £35k ( shock ) and it is half the size of ours, so I really don't know what a realistic budget would be to give them to work with. I don't want a limited budget to stop a good design but equally I don't want so many bells and whistles that I'll never manage to achieve the look from somewhere cheaper.

Rhubarbgarden Thu 11-Oct-12 13:10:11

Is it a small company? Time is money, and it's a lot harder for a small family type company to absorb the costs of wasted hours designing something for you for you to then go and spend your money with someone else. Is it unethical? Well, yes, but life is unfair and you won't be the first or last to do this. Business is a cut-throat er, business.

Personally I think it would be a shame if there were no small, skilled businesses like this as they tend to offer better customer service and a quality product - they have to, in order to justify their higher cost. By using their services but not paying for them, you force them to up their costs even more to absorb this loss. So they get more expensive, pushing them further out of reach of Mr and Mrs Average. Or they go out of business. Then Wickes et al have a monopoly; there is even less incentive for them to provide good customer service and a quality product, and we all lose.

But it's a dog eat dog world, you do what you have to do - I try to buy ethically but I can't deny there's the odd Peacocks jumper in my wardrobe no doubt made in a sweat shop in the far east.... confused

Ghouljamaflip Thu 11-Oct-12 13:11:31

Nope -we went to Howdens and bought from B & Q grin

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:13:49

rhubarb yes it's a small company. What you say is all completely right, which is why I feel so bad.

EdgarAllanPond Thu 11-Oct-12 13:18:13

IF They stock ranges that include lots of features, the design may not work for a bog standard kitchen - eg those nice hardwood end boards with knobs on i see in Naice kitchens have to have a space allowance...

you are best off getting a design from a company that does similar/ the same ranges as they will have pretty much the same choice of width units to fill up the space IYSWIM.

panicnotanymore Thu 11-Oct-12 13:19:55

Lots of places have got wise to this. They will do the design, talk you through it, but not give you a copy unless you sign with them. That seems fair to me.

We had various quotes from various places, and in the end have gone for an on-line company that build solid wood units to your own measurements, and we are fitting them ourselves. Saved 10s of thousands, and we're getting a much better quality product. Beware expensive high street stores that flog you MDF cabinets with wood fronts.

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:21:02

OK, no, I didn't mean nice features for the budget in built in snazzy bits, I meant like they might do less cupboard space than I had hoped for if the budget doesn't permit IYKWIM. I'm not into snazzy newfangled whatsits, just want a well organised practical well designed space

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:22:40

But you have a good point edgar - this place make to measure so they might design things in spaces that high street kitchens just can't arrange, erm, maybe I should just cancel them confused

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:24:25

So people who have used Wickes designing, are they good? Do you just turn up and take in your kitchen measurements and they do everything? <contemplates going there this week end>

SachaF Thu 11-Oct-12 13:29:19

Well any job that size I would always want three quotes for anyway. So two companies won't get the business and surely they have to work on this basis (in fact if they can convert a third of their quotes to sales then I think they are doing something right!).
But I would only get quotes from companies that I would realistically consider!

CiderwithBuda Thu 11-Oct-12 13:30:10

I'm afraid I agree that it is unfair. Sorry.

And as others have said they will be wise to this and probably won't give you the design unless you sign.

Your best bet is to get as many high street company designs as you can and then figure out how you want your kitchen. It's not that difficult really. We did our kitchen last year and bought from Handmade Kitchens of Christchurch. DH designed ours. He has a very logical mind. It has worked out very well. Handmade Kitchens do have a designer that will do a plan for you too.

And the ikea planner is supposed to be good too.

If you really want to see a design from the posh shop I would be semi honest with them. Say your budget is X but you loved your relatives kitchen so much you are really hoping there is some way you can use them and ask if they have any suggestions. That way you are giving them a heads up.

The other negative about using them if you know you won't be able to use them is that you may be disappointed yourself with what you eventually end up with having seen the potential posh kitchen in your mind. I know I would! grin

SachaF Thu 11-Oct-12 13:32:17

I have to add, I did like the Howdens design anyway and only slightly tweaked it. (after the experience of 3 similar, but slightly different, designs). 3 years later I am still happy with it and my ownly niggle is something I asked her to change anyway so is my own fault!

gussiegrips Thu 11-Oct-12 13:36:44

panicnotanymore share the firm's details? purtee please?

reastie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:37:23

Do you get your plan straight away from howdens and the like then? Maybe we can go this week end and be so pleased we can cancel the posh man visit. cider I like your idea, I might ring him to cancel and say we loved their kitchen but we can't afford them after doing some sums, if they want to come back and say we can work something out then all the better. I know you are all right of course, it's just the amazing design on my rellies which was warping my thinking.

GoByTrain Thu 11-Oct-12 13:46:43

Tis immoral to do this - and I know you know this, which is why you're asking ;)
People do this for a living - imagine if someone tapped your specialist knowledge and skills like this.
Don't do it. Not only is it a form of stealing but - scuse me for coming over all Buddhist - it'll come n bite you on the ass.
Had friend who 'stole' some plans like this and oh dear, months on, it has all gone wrong.

GrendelsMum Thu 11-Oct-12 14:02:04

I don't think there'd be any point to it, TBH. They'll design something that they could do with what they have available, and then you won't be able to transfer it to Howdens. You'd probably be better going straight to Howdens and knowing what you can work with from the start.

annalouiseh Thu 11-Oct-12 14:09:18

his happens all the time, as does to my dh.
Part of the job, yet its wrong to use someone's design skills if you have no intention of even considering there product.
You go to sheds and howdens etc you will tend to get more a simple design, after all it is just box placement not rocket science.
If you want something more different and designed then look else where for this.
Also if the shop is 'posh' they will design to what they offer and the chances are they have alot more flexibility to door ranges, paint finishes and sizes.
I wouldn't worry about the mdf carcass, all the high spec German companies use this as its water tight, so no worries of wood movement or effects off water leaking

Vix07 Thu 11-Oct-12 14:19:49

Why not be honest about your budget & see what they can come up with??

It's in their interest to pick up business even if it's a bit smaller than they'd ideally like - you never know, they may come up trumps & you'd have your fab kitchen within budget and everybody's happy!

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