Why choose a local independent kitchen or bathroom company over a national DIY chain ?

When people are in the market for a new kitchen or bathroom, they have to try and navigate themselves through the process, to get the project that they want, after all a new kitchen or bathroom is not the sort of thing that you do every day, in fact you may only do it once in a life time. So this makes the choices you make even more important. There are lots of things to consider, who can do all the work you need doing, can I have a certain colour or style and how much will it cost, are just a few of the things that you may think of.


Budget is always a defining factor in any project and also the one thing that nobody wants to really discuss. As a customer, you think that if you say you have a pound to spend the company will say its 99p, is this really the case? It is always perceived that a big national DIY chain will be cheaper than an independent company and in many cases this will be the case on supply only basis, as the quality of the goods from an independent would normally be far superior , however on a supply and installation basis, an independent company can normally compete or even beat a national chain. How is this possible ? Over inflated installation costs, you may be told that the DIY chain will send “their installers” to complete your project, intimating that these people are employees, however the truth is that they are sub-contractors, working on a set price, so you will pay for their services plus the profit that the national company want. You will probably be charged £50 for an installer to visit your property to survey your new kitchen or bathroom and you would think that this is a charge for the time of the employee who is coming out on behalf of the DIY chain, again this is not the case, the installer who surveys your project is there at their expense and the £50 goes into the coffers of the company.

It is often the case that buying from a DIY chain is your cheapest option, but is it false economy? For example are you better off paying a little more for your kitchen or bathroom and it lasts the rigours of daily life for 20 to 30 years or pay a bit less and replace at big expense a few years down the line?

Design Process

Most independent companies will provide a design and survey service, free of charge. This would also be far more in depth than a DIY chain, where you may be expected to bring your measurements in to a store for them to put some units into an area, unlike Bella kitchens, where we would visit your home, take all necessary measurements, listen to your needs and then design your kitchen to suit them. At an independent kitchen or bathroom retailer, you will more than likely be dealing with the owner of the company, not a young inexperienced person, who’s main drive is to achieve their commission targets. Dealing with a small business is a more personal experience, where the people genuinely care about your needs and expectations, after all these businesses are quite often family based and purely rely on their reputation for business. A national company can spend literally millions of pounds on advertising campaigns, whilst a small business relies on people’s recommendations. In short there are some good people working at DIY chains but they are not kitchen or bathroom specialists, who have invested thousands of pounds of their own money over many years, to be in the position to offer you such a high level of service.

Product Choice

In general your product choice from a big chain will be more limited, this is one of the factors in keeping their costs down they also tend to use cheaper hinges and drawer boxes for example. An independent would tend to offer a more expansive range of products, from several suppliers, giving you more choice and flexibility with sizes and styles. There is a major DIY chain that, still to this day do not supply a 450mm width door , yet they sell a 450mm integrated dishwasher, but with a 500mm door!! All hinges and drawer boxes would tend to be of the highest specification when using an independent company, such as Bella kitchens, after all these are the bits that take a lot of stress and weight on a daily basis. All Bella kitchens use only the best BLUM hinges and drawers.

Customer Service

If you buy from one of the major DIY chains and want to speak to the person who sold you your project, how easy is it? The answer is it is not, you may ring the store and be 5 minutes waiting for someone to answer the phone, only to be told that you need to ring a different number to speak to somebody that you have never met and is based a 100 miles away. Say you have an installation issue who do you ring, the installer, who isn’t employed by the DIY chain or the store who sold it or the person 100 miles away? It all becomes very confusing and very long winded, with very little resolved, however a small independent, tends to have one phone number, one person answering it and normally the same person you have liaised with throughout the whole project. This will give you the peace of mind that you need and any issues can therefore be dealt with in the correct manner with very little distress to the end user. Bella kitchens have received the coveted Houzz service award 2017 for outstanding customer service.

Indpendent VS Major DIY Chain: Pros & Cons

An independent company will offer the following:

  • Value for money
  • Quality product and choice
  • Free design and survey
  • Award winning customer service
  • No heavy sales tactics
  • Staged payments
  • Deliveries at the time of installation
  • Employed installation staff
  • Transparency and honesty

A major DIY chain will offer the following:

  • Cheap prices
  • Poor quality product and choice
  • Survey charges
  • Poor customer experience
  • Pressure to buy
  • Money paid in full, months before the installation
  • Missed deliveries or incomplete deliveries
  • Sub-contract installation service
  • Excuses and buck passing

These are the facts, from my experience and the choice is now yours, but please make the right one.

Tags: Kitchen Home

Category: Kitchens

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