Setting up Kitchen & Bathroom business

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by bloorino, Nov 18, 2009.

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  1. Lorro2

    Lorro2 UKBF Regular

    175 30
    We wish blorino all the best. I think it depends on location, having a good, skilled reliable craftsmen, a good supplier of quality timber if you are going for the top end market and good design and communication skills.
    Posted: Jan 2, 2010 By: Lorro2 Member since: Dec 29, 2009
  2. D&S Kitchens

    D&S Kitchens UKBF Newcomer

    28 7
    I am in the business and the best time to start is during a recession! People may say dont but i say DO! Since the recession started my business has been booming! I started up in 2007 with one Cabinet maker me and a showroom i now 4 showrooms 8 cabinet makers 5 fitting teams and 4 Telesales rooms.

    The key to the businesses success was marketing and Telesales along with customer satisfaction. I used to work at a kitchen company before and had leads from then i rang them and offered a better service and it all went from there! I also put out about 40,000 leaflets every month for 6 months in the surrounding areas form my showroom! I was also the cheapest in the whole of the northeast! I also pride in no pressure selling i dont mind going to someones house and leaving a cheap price and walking away and waiting for them to call me rather than me pester them!

    I now supplier to alot of kitchen/Bathroom & Bedroom companies at trade prices along with builders and estate agents We are also cheaper than alot of the trade companies such as Howdens Joinery not only on price but QUALITY all out units doors,drawers are made in house so we can pass them on alot cheaper! Drop me a message if you want to ask anything!

    Posted: Jan 6, 2010 By: D&S Kitchens Member since: Jan 6, 2010
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  3. Lee Jones Jnr

    Lee Jones Jnr UKBF Legend

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    If you can make a business work, then you can make a business work.
    Like D&S I specialize in supplying good quality kitchens at affordable prices, and I have to admit I will be sad to see the economy recover.
    That said, there is always going to be problems and if you think that a struggling economy will hold you back then it will. If you think that you can still make a go of it then you probably will too.
    Posted: Jan 6, 2010 By: Lee Jones Jnr Member since: Dec 6, 2009
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  4. bloorino

    bloorino UKBF Newcomer

    64 4
    I believe i can make this work, i have trying to drum up work since November and have got 5 kitchens and 2 bathrooms booked in. I don't think thats bad for 2 months from a standing start. I will have to sub contract alot of this work out if i don't quit my job.

    The only thing holding me back is job security, i am so used to regular income and with a young family its more than just me i have to worry about.
    Posted: Jan 8, 2010 By: bloorino Member since: May 20, 2009
  5. D&S Kitchens

    D&S Kitchens UKBF Newcomer

    28 7

    Everyone starts a business as a risk if you think that you can get work fairly easily work out how much you need to live each week and all your over heads then take it from there the buzz of having to work 10 hours + more per day gets you there along with shear determination to succeed i never started with much and was averaging 2 kitchens per week for about 5k each which made me want to earn more and more!
    Posted: Jan 8, 2010 By: D&S Kitchens Member since: Jan 6, 2010
  6. Tej

    Tej UKBF Legend

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    If you can sub contract the work for the moment and earn from it.. and keep your job.. I think its a good thing.. particularly as you say you have a young family. This way you have 2 income streams. The money you earn from the subcontract work should be put aside to build up some capital for investing when you do finally give up your job and do the business full time.

    I am always sceptical when I hear about guys " averaging a couple of kitchens a week around £5k each" from a standing start.. but good luck to them:D:D
    Posted: Jan 8, 2010 By: Tej Member since: Oct 26, 2008
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  7. Lee Jones Jnr

    Lee Jones Jnr UKBF Legend

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    I agree.

    It is very difficult indeed to get orders of £5k at all when you are starting up, let alone 2 per week if you don't even have a showroom. Once you are up and running and getting referrals etc then perhaps it is much easier. We currently sell between 10-20 kitchens a week, but we are very well established and have a lot of regular customers and past customers who refer us to friends etc.

    Without going back and checking I think the OP is mainly interested in the actual installation rather than supplying the lot as well, and with 7 jobs booked in that should last a one man band about 4 weeks.

    If it were me I would be brave and set up the business properly and then do everything possible to get more work booked in in the time the 7 jobs take to complete.
    Posted: Jan 8, 2010 By: Lee Jones Jnr Member since: Dec 6, 2009
  8. Tw Installations

    Tw Installations UKBF Enthusiast

    165 61

    To the Kitchen People with Showrooms,

    I have always opted against the showroom idea, purely based on the assumption of oerheads etc.

    I am sort of in between, i am a able to supply showroom standard kitchens without the showroom prices,

    How has the showroom contributed to your business, do you think it sells the kitchens for you, because people can see the standard of your work and kitchens?

    My business is doing well in the reccesion but my thoughts have always been to avoid the showroom

    Although, I know someone who started one a couple of years ago and he's booming, he says its the best thing he has ever done

    Whats your advice?

    Posted: Jan 9, 2010 By: Tw Installations Member since: Apr 1, 2009
  9. Tej

    Tej UKBF Legend

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    If your business is doing well.. you have to work out the extra advantages of having a showroom.

    Costs of showroom plus staffing etc.. the extra investment needed.

    Would your potential larger turnover, cover the costs, and give you the extra profit?

    If so.. go for it.. has to be a sound commercial decision. ( providing you can handle the associated stress as well)
    Posted: Jan 9, 2010 By: Tej Member since: Oct 26, 2008
  10. Lee Jones Jnr

    Lee Jones Jnr UKBF Legend

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    If your business is doing well as it is then you obviously don't need a showroom.
    We have never operated without premises, but the benefit of using us over anyone else locally is that we have everything in stock and if you wanted to you could take a kitchen away with you the same day should you want to fit it yourself or at least arrange it yourself. If we are fitting we are usually able to do so within a fortnight.
    For most people the purchase of a new kitchen is a big decision and they like being able to see a ready made example to get an idea how theirs will look.
    A showroom doesn't have to be expensive, ours are both old factories around 6'000 square feet.
    We sell very very good value kitchens, as our business is based on volume sales customers do not pay a premium to cover our overheads. In fact we have customers coming from all over the country to us and we deliver nationwide because we offer low prices without offering low quality or worse still selling stuff we don't even have and hoping for the best (as a company in Oldham is famous for).
    For us, operating without premises would simply not be an option, but if you are doing well without then why change?
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
    Posted: Jan 9, 2010 By: Lee Jones Jnr Member since: Dec 6, 2009
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  11. Tej

    Tej UKBF Legend

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    Trading Post... big investment in having a permanent showroom.. plus the stock available.

    There are not many people in the kitchen fitting/supplying business that have the premises to have fitted showrooms on display.. and the stock handy. ( not counting the big guns obviously)

    Good Luck to you.. you have obviously been in the game a long time and have built up a solid reputation.
    Posted: Jan 9, 2010 By: Tej Member since: Oct 26, 2008
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  12. Tw Installations

    Tw Installations UKBF Enthusiast

    165 61

    Thanks for the advice,

    My business is doing well but I am always looking to move forward, A while back I thought the next logical step would be a showroom, It would be a huge investment to kit it out and also the constant need to update it every so often when things become discontinued etc.

    With the hassle and the overheads i went completely off the idea and had decided to plan to grow without it, building up more teams, going further afeild etc.

    However, As I said someone I know set up and is doing very well, Their theory is that the sales have went through the roof because the showroom is selling for them.

    Hopefully at some point halfway through this year id like to come off the tools and be in a selling type role ( Im not a sles person ) But Im there to be keeping the customers right and keeping the work coming in.

    As im not on the jobs anymore it would be a good idea to have a base, as opposed to working from home,

    I know I'd need to work out costs,

    any thoughts on if the showroom is a major advantage?

    Is there any formula for testing? Ie the showroom running costs should account to no more than 30% of your turnover ( or simliar )

    Posted: Jan 9, 2010 By: Tw Installations Member since: Apr 1, 2009
  13. Tej

    Tej UKBF Legend

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    IMO.. you have to increase your turnover substantially. You have to invest in stock. You might get manufacturers supplying you with sample kitchens to display (I feel Trading Post would be better able to guide you on that one)... but you have to be able to sustain the overheads.. premises.. staff.. teams to do installations.. and more importantly be able to generate customer flow into your showroom... and sell .. of course.

    What competition do you have in your area?

    What premises are available?

    so many questions... will need a lot of research.. and money!

    Posted: Jan 9, 2010 By: Tej Member since: Oct 26, 2008
  14. Lee Jones Jnr

    Lee Jones Jnr UKBF Legend

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    Ours is more the exception rather than the rule.
    Most kitchen showrooms are quite small, around 1000 square feet, and don't carry any stock. If your customers are happy with your lead times now then there is no need to keep any more stock than you currently do.
    The part of our shop that is actually kitchen set ups is probably only about that sort of size. We don't have every single kitchen on display, in fact we only have one large full size kitchen display and then loads of small displays - some literally a 1000 base, a 1000 wall and a piece of worktop, sink and tap. All in all we probably have about 20 different doors on display and then the rest of the styles we simply have a rack with one of each door in so the customer can see the real thing.
    We do also do a lot of kitchens 'what you see is what you get' which is literally that. We buy a lot of job lots and bankrupt stock as well as the regular stuff, and we will literally build a kitchen out of whatever sizes etc we have and sell it as seen. This is really popular with bargain hunters, DIYers and landlords.
    Depending on who your suppliers are and how much you currently buy from them you may or may not be able to get free displays, but you will certainly be able to get a good discount off the usual price.
    Posted: Jan 10, 2010 By: Lee Jones Jnr Member since: Dec 6, 2009
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  15. D&S Kitchens

    D&S Kitchens UKBF Newcomer

    28 7
    All you need to do if you want a showroom is basically haggle with estate agents as it is the recession maybe get it on a 6 month lease to test the water i effectively nearly doubled turnover with a showroom in a ok position but i just made sure i showcased the showroom on the back of every leaflet and i send out about 200k per month :) As for displays do you have a carpenter who makes them for you or a supplier? If a supplier they normally bend over backwards to help you out if they think it will benefit them in the long run we only use one supplier because we have several carpenters on site but when we do deal with suppliers they have always offered us free displays sample racks allsorts we have even had Football tickets for executive boxes at football games which we normally just use as incentives in our telesales rooms which works so thats a bonus but i would recommend a showroom even on a 6 month lease so you can get the idea of what its like :)
    Posted: Jan 10, 2010 By: D&S Kitchens Member since: Jan 6, 2010
  16. Lee Jones Jnr

    Lee Jones Jnr UKBF Legend

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    Uh huh.
    I would not take the approach detailed above. If you have the mindset that you have only committed to a 6 month lease so you can always get out if it doesn't work then you will almost certainly make a half hearted effort and will have wasted time, effort and resources. I would think long and hard about making the decision to open a shop and then should you decide to do it, then do it properly. Standard 3 year lease, 12 month get out and put everything into getting the very best out of it.
    How much you can push a supplier for discounts and freebies depends a lot on what business you are already doing with them. I thought I knew pretty much every supplier worth knowing doing business in the UK but obviously not as I don't know of any one supplier who sells MFC/MDF panels and a decent selection of cabinet fascias, sinks, taps etc so maybe it would be worth you chatting up D&S for his supplier. Having said that in my experience the best way to do business is to use numerous suppliers as then you never get stuck for stuff not being in stock and certain things are always cheaper from one supplier than another, so the way they do business is obviously quite far removed from our own.
    I have never been sent to the football by any of my suppliers so perhaps I am not as important a customer to any of my suppliers as D&S is to his.
    Also make sure that you are confident you can up your net not just your turnover, as when all is said and done only people who are not making any money talk in turnover. I would recommend that if you can find a decent premises at a good price then you should go for it, but obviously I don't know a great deal about how you do business or how you like to work.
    Posted: Jan 10, 2010 By: Lee Jones Jnr Member since: Dec 6, 2009
  17. D&S Kitchens

    D&S Kitchens UKBF Newcomer

    28 7
    Don't necessarily agree with that i went into a 6 month lease due to me only being small and did not want to commit for a long term lease due to the fact that if things never worked out i would still be stuck with a showroom and nothing to do with it. It didnt mean i did not try 100% to take the business forward not one bit if that was the case i wouldnt go into business in the first place.

    Before i officially registered in 2007 i was a sole trader for many years in the trade side of things so i had alot more to lose. As for suppliers i recommend sourcing more than one especially if you are not making the kitchens on site. We used a supplier for atleast 3 years before we built up a strong enough relationship with them.

    We now supply other kitchen companies with our products due to the fact we have a very cheap supplier with the highest of quality! We are even cheaper than Howdens joinery and most other trade DIY places around hence why we get alot of custom and then we decided to take the savings and quality to the general public
    Posted: Jan 10, 2010 By: D&S Kitchens Member since: Jan 6, 2010
  18. Lee Jones Jnr

    Lee Jones Jnr UKBF Legend

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    We already know that you don't agree, its your post I was responding to!
    If you advise using many suppliers why do you only use one?
    'Even cheaper than Howdens joinery' - Howdens are very expensive! Out of interest what do you charge for a 1000mm base unit, just so I can gauge if you and I have the same notion of what constitutes cheap.
    Posted: Jan 10, 2010 By: Lee Jones Jnr Member since: Dec 6, 2009
  19. FrankyT

    FrankyT UKBF Newcomer

    11 4
    We had a kitchen fitted and the guy who did it was rubbish and came highly recommended by the kitchen supplier!!!

    All I will say is 'CUSTOMER CARE', offer a good service,don't leave your crap under the units, and make sure if there are any hiccups you go back and sort them out. Reputation is everything and good news travels fast BUT bad news travels faster.

    As for advertising, there are plenty of Free options or low cost ones (ebay, your car/van, local newspaper often have a website with free advertising, word of mouth).

    Best of luck and if your determined enough and believe in yourself you will make it - just don't listen to the pessimists.

    Franky -
    Posted: Jan 10, 2010 By: FrankyT Member since: Sep 21, 2009
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  20. D&S Kitchens

    D&S Kitchens UKBF Newcomer

    28 7
    1000 mm base unit Granada Beech = £98 and pennies

    As for the suppliers why would i need more than one i have searched the best deal and found it therefore i dont need any more and i manufacture on site :)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
    Posted: Jan 10, 2010 By: D&S Kitchens Member since: Jan 6, 2010
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