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Buyer's Tips USA

Image courtesy of Winning Designs South, West SussexBelow you will find our Quick Reference set of tips. The tips are not in any particular order. We hope they will assist you in coming to the correct buying decision. 

Always ask your supplier how long the delivery will be. It's also a good idea to have this stipulated on your contract. Additionally ask for an estimate of how long the work will take to complete once they are on site.

We only recommend you deal with established contractors who have a supporting infrastructure.

Ask your contractor/supplier for a written lien waiver. Employees, subcontractors, and suppliers have the right in most jurisdictions to file mechanics liens against your property if the contractor does not pay them. Even though you may have paid your contractor for those materials or work, if he doesn't meet his financial obligations, the workmen or suppliers can look to you for payment. After you pay the contractor, make sure to get copies of lien waivers to protect yourself from having to pay for the job twice.

How do you handle job debris? Nothing can be more frustrating than a contractor that has no respect for your property. Make sure that the final price includes removal of all job debris from your property and full clean up. A clean work site is fundamental to a smooth remodelling project. Your contractor should clean up any debris at the end of each day, keep his tools neatly stowed, and neatly stack any excess materials.

Don't accept the first price you are quoted. Get at least two - three estimates if you have the time. Research all of the alternatives in terms of product and style.

Where practical try to visit a showroom or view other work carried out by the contractor. Alternatively ask to speak to other customers on the telephone. Do bear in mind however that the company is going to give a reference that will be complimentary. Try and ask specific questions such as: Did they turn up on time? Was any thing missing and how quickly was this rectified? Did they leave the site clean and tidy? Don't always expect perfect answers - in fact be suspicious if they are. Any type of building work or remodelling can have its problems or unforeseen challenges. The point is how quickly was it sorted and was it to your satisfaction. It's often been said that the true test of a company is when there are problems, not when everything goes perfectly.

Most companies will require a deposit with order. Try and make the deposit as low a percentage as possible - generally speaking 10% is normal. Avoid paying larger deposits than this unless your work is particularly unique. It's likely in these circumstances that suppliers will require higher holding deposits. You should also make sure that a fair percentage is withheld until such times as the work is completed to your entire satisfaction.

Check out the Guarantee and what it covers. It's always best to ask a potential supplier to be specific (in writing) about these issues.

Rarely will the lowest price be the best for you in the long run. When comparing "like-with-like", please also take into comparison how long the company has been established and the quality of their guarantees. You may find two suppliers using the same faucets and appliances. However if one supplier happens to be doing private work at the weekends then please realize that their so called Guarantee may be of less value than another from a more established company with a supporting infrastructure.

Our final tip in this section and perhaps one of the most important. Do not be the Customer from HELL. To get the best out of any Kitchen Supplier or Contractor maintain a friendly but professional rapport. Do not assume that they will always be trying to get "one over" on you. Their advice may be in your best interests. If you appear defensive and untrusting - always assuming the worst of your supplier - the whole experience will be unpleasant for both you and the supplier. Be vigilant, but always prepared to listen to their advice, especially if problems occur.

Whilst most trades will come prepared with their own food and drinks, do take the time to offer them hospitality. A cold drink on a warm summer day or hot soup in the winter will build on your relationship, resulting in a better job for you.

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