Earlier this year, high street bathroom chain Bathstore was accused of using cowboy fitters for its installations. Incorrect products were installed, tiles were fitted upside down and radiator leaks left properties permanently damaged. One customer was forced to endure 18 days without a functioning toilet, while another described the process as “the worst experience of my life.”
Getting a new bathroom fitted should never be as disastrous as this. To ease your mind, and ultimately protect your home from damage, here are several measures you can take to ensure your bathroom installation is carried out by consummate professionals.
Use a BiKBBI registered company
BiKBBI is the only government-sanctioned kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installation institute. The organisation establishes standards for tradespeople working in these areas, and offers accreditation to those who qualify. Since the BiKBBI endeavours to accept only the best professionals into its ranks, you should only consider bathroom fitters that meet the institute’s strict criteria.
It also helps to choose bathroom fitters that have experts in a wide range of areas. For instance, BiKBBI-accredited Burgess Bathrooms have qualified plumbers, tilers and electricians on their bathroom installation teams, meaning the whole job can be carried out by one expert group.
To find BiKBBI-accredited installers near you, use the institute’s Find A Member page.
Agree on quotes ahead of time
It’s not just the quality that suffers when you hire a cowboy fitter. Pricing can be affected too. Cowboys will often charge excessive amounts for their work, regardless of the time and resources required to complete the job.
To avoid getting ripped off, establish how much a job is going to cost before you commit to having it done. Call installers for quotes, and make sure the prices include any hidden costs such as callout charges and expenses before you agree to having any work done.
After you have been given a quote, it’s a good idea to check if it is above or below the going rate for the particular job. Which? Local has compiled a list of the average prices for bathroom fitting jobs, and a general idea of how long each should take to complete. Comparing your quote to these averages should give you an idea of whether you are dealing with a genuine fitter or a cowboy.
Read reviews carefully
A great way to gauge the quality of a bathroom installer is to read online reviews from previous customers. There are countless review aggregator websites online, collecting the opinions and experiences of many customers. Checkatrade, Rated People, and Trusted Trader are a few examples.
If someone has a bad experience with a bathroom fitter—whether they deserve full cowboy designation or not—it is more than likely that they will want to share this online to warn others off using the same fitter.
When reading online reviews, it’s important to be thorough. It’s not unheard of for businesses, especially illicit ones, to forge five star reviews in order to create the appearance of a good rating online. To make sure this isn’t the case with your particular bathroom fitter, read into the reviews and check that they seem genuine. Sometimes a company with a four star rating might be a better choice than one with five, particularly if the five star reviews are clearly fabricated.
If a review is incessantly glowing with little detailed information, it’s possible it could be fake. Look for longer, more balanced, well thought-out reviews. These are the ones which will be real. Companies with reviews like these may not look perfect, but they can be more trustworthy and reliable than a company with reviews that look too good to be true.