We’re still ‘grimly determined’ to sell appliances

I READ WITH interest the letter from Jimmy Carter of Kitchens by Design [December, pg29], expressing his frustration at the service – or patchiness thereof – from various appliance brands and supporting these key elements of kitchens, which sadly provide less and less meaningful return for the signifi cant investment and a whole lot of wasted time and headaches. It brought to mind a visit to a neighbouring independent studio’s beautiful new showroom last year, only to be surprised by the singular absence of appliances.

There was just a wine cooler, fully stocked with champagne, a hot tap, a Nespresso machine and a working dishwasher full of champagne glasses and coffee cups.

Despite their high-end position in the marketplace (beautiful bespoke offering typically starting at £50k), they’ve taken the very deliberate decision to step back from appliances

Vet untried installers fi rst

FURTHER TO your news story about cowboy builders and un professional kitchen installers [full story page 5], I agree with

Damian Walters at the BiKBBI about the lack of barriers that would prevent a lot of these issues. After all, if you want gas or electric, you need Gas Safe or Part P-certifi ed tradesmen. Anyone that’s got some basic skills

and a bit of experience can claim to be a professional kitchen installer. It’s an industry that offers lucrative rewards and so easily attracts rogue tradesmen.

By the time the end consumer discovers

that these people aren’t what they purport to be, it’s too late as their old kitchen has


been removed. A lot of installers are self-employed

and offer their services to various showrooms. Good installers are often fully booked and diffi cult to get, which leaves the retailer no choice but to use untried tradesmen in their busier times. I think the retailer should vet new

January 2020 · kbbreview

fi tters’ previous installations. The installer spends more time with the customer than anyone else. It’s more likely to end up in a referral if the customer gets on with the installer and appreciates his work.

But, if the installer runs to the customer and tells them every minor detail

of the hurdles encountered

during the install – often to make them look like they’re the hero – it makes the client scrutinise everything in more detail and actually look for problems themselves. A good installer simply overcomes the problem by fi nding a solution and the client doesn’t even hear about it.

At InHouse, we are dealing with installers’ competence fi rst hand. In the past 12

than we expected when we opened, caught us by surprise and we had to take on extra installers that were untried. This cost us money rectifying the errors that some of these created to ensure a happy end consumer. We learned some lessons. First, to vet installers’ previous work, then to send all of our installers across to our factory in Germany to be fully trained by Schüller. It has renewed their enthusiasm for installation and we intend

to make this a yearly

The installer spends more time with the client than anyone else

months, we have invested £2.2 million in our HQ that also operates as a retail showroom, a lead distribution centre for our network and a training centre for salespeople and installers.


Initially, we also experienced bad

installers. The large volume of sales, which was greater Wayne Dance, MD, InHouse

experience. They also all come back to the UK with a Schüller certifi cate of competence. If all manufacturers were to follow this path and, as suggested by [Federation of Master Builders CEO] Brian Berry, if there were man datory govern- ment


licences with

to rules

similar to gas and electrics, this would prevent the rogue traders entering the industry as easily as they do now.

One thing is for certain – the installer can make or destroy a retailer’s reputation.

pretty much entirely, other than to fi t (for a fee) appliances sourced by their clients. To date, we have remained grimly

determined to continue to display a range of appliances from key brands, and our new displays of Smeg and Ilve have proven successful. And we now see one of the main manufacturers of “unbranded” appli- ances selling

their wares cheaper

direct to the customer than I can buy, with display discount, from my distributors.

Something will have to give. 2020 should prove another

interesting year, and I expect we’ll be taking more tough decisions to weed out those suppliers who no longer support their dealer network and reinforce those partnerships with companies that understand the value we bring to them.

John Pelosi, owner, Caldicot Kitchen and Bathroom Centre, Monmouthshire

Turn the page for


Interview: Coram UK We talk to MD John Blackburn about what’s changed since the company began its restructure a year ago pg 34

Focus: Trends for 2020 What will be big in 2020? We ask key industry players for their predictions pg 38


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