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Builder's choice of kitchen?

(13 Posts)
FantasticMrsFoxx Tue 20-Oct-15 20:58:21

We are due to start our new kitchen extension in the next couple of weeks and our builder was in touch today to discuss our new units.
We went to Howdens who quoted, via our builder, £5k.
We then went to Wickes and bought the same units for £2k.
To our mind one cream shaker kitchen is just like any other so cost then becomes a variable.
Our builder has suggested we are in for a rocky road of problems ahead with mistakes with the delivery, scratches to doors which will be a nightmare to replace and basically cr@ppy customer service. He even went as far as to say we ought to forgo our deposit and cancel the order and go with a Howdens kitchen instead.
Is it just sour grapes because he'll not be getting a mark up on the Howdens kitchen or should we follow his advice?

MrsFlorrick Tue 20-Oct-15 22:02:35

Howdens are pretty awful quality. And it's certainly sour grapes because Howdens trade discounts means your builder can buy the poor quality Howdens for £2k and charge you £5k. Run away. Howdens are rubbish.

I can't speak to Wickes kitchens quality though.

GnomeDePlume Tue 20-Oct-15 22:14:38

We have had Wickes & B&Q kitchens and never had a problem with the quality or customer service. They arent bespoke but then the price isnt either.

Do check for scratches before your builder starts installing the kitchen.

If things are missing from your Wickes kitchen you can normally whip down to the store to pick them up.

Also £3k will buy an awful l t of takeaways if you have to wait while problems are resolved.

Smurfingreat Tue 20-Oct-15 22:41:44

Seems strange to me. I have a trade account at Howdens and have a few of their kitchens in rental properties. When I went to Wickes to try and get a quote for comparison, they wouldn't do it and told me it was because they knew the could never beat Howdens on price, so it wasn't worth them bothering.

I would suggest that your builder has put a huge mark up on a kitchen and is trying to scare you. I would also say that Howdens kitchens are perfectly good quality in my experience, so nothing wrong with Howdens, just your builder!

averylongtimeago Tue 20-Oct-15 23:02:40

We have fitted howdens kitchens for years, pretty good quality, value for money good ranges of designs and appliances.
They are trade only, so we can negotiate a good deal with them, then pass on some of the discount to our customers. We make some profit, they get a discount, win win.
We have done price comparisons with other firms for customers, Wickes included, and howdens beat them for price.

It is hard for a customer to check the price as Howdens won't tell non trade the discounted price. Depending on the range and negotiated discount, your builder could be getting between 50 - 75% off the headline price per unit.

wowfudge Wed 21-Oct-15 06:28:48

I'd say saving £3000 as a customer was a real win. Would you really pay that much more if it were you in that position?

VeryPunny Wed 21-Oct-15 06:37:26

As a PP has suggested, the builder is probably miffed at missing out on a chunk of profit. Are both Howdens and Wickes flat pack? He may be worried if Wickes is flat pack (and takes longer to assemble) and Howdens comes ready built.

I must admit I am not a fan of Howdens - expensive for mediocre quality and I refuse to buy from someplace with such an opaque pricing structure.

GnomeDePlume Wed 21-Oct-15 08:08:32

honestly, putting the cupboards together isnt that difficult. You do the first one pouring over the instructions then by the time you get to the third you are banging them out in no time.

worldgonecrazy Wed 21-Oct-15 08:23:25

If your builder is missing out on approximately £2K kick-back from Howdens, he's bound to be a bit miffed.

There is a reason that builders like Howdens, and it's not just the space at the back of the cupboards for services such as cables and water pipes. It's the lack of price-transparency, so the quote you get with your massive "discount" is actually the quote that Howdens gave the builder less their kick-back.

TheUnwillingNarcheska Wed 21-Oct-15 10:37:10

We bought our kitchen from Ikea 2 years ago. Love it.

I don't want to go into any shop that says it has a sale or won't give you a price because it depends on who you are as to what they charge.

I had a decor end panel which in the end we didn't need. My fitter said, take that back and get your £350 back. I reminded him it was from Ikea and it was £50.

Unless the kitchen is solid wood or handpainted then they are all pretty much made the same way.

Your builder is annoyed because the discount he gets from Howdens is based on how much business he gives to Howdens by buying their kitchens. He gets paid by you to get the kitchen from them by deciding how much mark up to charge. I think it is an absolute disgraceful business to make money from a customer on ordering a kitchen.

TheUnwillingNarcheska Wed 21-Oct-15 10:39:48

And as the "service gap" has been mentioned. If you are ripping a kitchen out and exposing all the services anyway, it does not take much to drop them down to skirting board height.

Ikea sink cupboards take services into consideration. There isn't a full back to the cabinet and the base is a bit short to allow pipes to come up the back of the cabinet.

swillows Wed 21-Oct-15 13:04:33

I also think it's sour grapes. Howdens won't tell YOU their price as they are in cahoots with your builder - he can then decide what he wants to charge you based on what they have quoted to him. He is basically using Howdens prices to make money out of you.

All this cloak and dagger nonsense meant they didn't get our business. I think it's a ridiculous way of operating (unless your builder actually shows you the quote Howdens have sent him to substantiate the price to you).

Our kitchen fitter grumbled about not having Howdens units to fit - they all come pre-assembled apparently and can be whacked in quickly which will obviously please builders who are keen to move on to the next job. But as I've said on other threads, a 2k kitchen from Wickes that has been very well installed will look better than one ten times the price which has been fitted poorly.

If it's going to take your builder an extra day or two to fit the Wickes kitchen because the little precious thing might have to put some units together then he can factor this in to his cost - it's going to be way less than the £3k you've saved anyway!

FantasticMrsFoxx Wed 21-Oct-15 15:05:27

Thanks all. I've somehow managed to create two separate threads on this but I'll take all your advice and put the 3k saving towards appliances and takeaways!
To be honest, the Wickes quote was nearer £2.5k but because I had a breakdown, I could take out the things I don't need - like a £120 cutlery drawer!

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