Planning a bathroom
By Kate Martin
Article 5 of 6
Our step-by-step guide to choosing and hiring a professional bathroom fitter will help ensure your bathroom installation goes without a hitch.
Installing a new bathroom is a skilled job usually best left to the professionals. So how can you find the right person for the task?
When we surveyed people who've had bathrooms installed in the last 10 years, nearly 40% said they'd found a professional fitter themselves, rather than using a bathroom retailer's service or a company recommended by the retailer.
Many said it was because they preferred to choose their own traders, while others had bought their bathroom from a retailer that doesn't offer a fitting service.
If you need to hire someone to make sure your new bathroom looks its best, read on for our tips on finding a fitter.
If you're about to buy a new bathroom, find out which are the best and worst bathroom brands, as rated by thousands of customers.
How to find a bathroom fitter
1Look for recommendations and reviews
Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family are a good place to start if you need someone to carry out skilled work in your home.
If you don't know anyone who has had their bathroom refurbished recently, you can look at online reviews. If the installer is a Which? Trusted Trader, check its reviews on our website – we moderate every review to check its authenticity.
2Look at pictures of their work
Check the fitter's website, social media channels and – if applicable – their Which? Trusted Traders profile to see examples of their work.
Have they undertaken work similar to yours? Do they have specialities you're looking for, such as bathroom design, wet rooms, or accessible bathrooms and showers?
3Check their accreditation
Find out whether the installer has been accredited or endorsed by an organisation you can trust. This can include professional trade associations such as the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (BiKBBI) or the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA).
Which? Trusted Traders endorses bathroom fitters who pass a thorough assessment process, including background checks and an inspection by Trading Standards professionals.
Trade associations and endorsement bodies usually set standards that their members should follow and give customers access to independent complaint resolution services if anything goes wrong.
If a company says it's a member of any associations or schemes, don’t just take its word for it – check it's listed on the organisation's website.
4Get several quotes
Get at least three quotes to get a clearer idea of the going rate for your particular needs.
Alongside materials and labour, you should check that extras such as waste disposal are included; these additional costs can mount up.
Check whether the trader has a minimum charge, as this might mean it's more cost-effective to get several jobs done at once.
5Check if the installer will use subcontractors or specialists
Fitting a bathroom requires a wide range of skills, so ask your trader which parts of the job they cover themselves and whether they use any subcontractors.
If any parts of the job will be subcontracted, find out who the contractors are so that you can check they're qualified, experienced and properly insured.
Ask who will take responsibility for each part of the installation. If there’s a problem with any of the work, you don't want to be caught in the middle, while one trader blames the other.
If the fitter doesn't use subcontractors, you may need or want to hire specialists for some parts of the job. For example, a specialist tiler might complete the job more quickly and to a higher standard, particularly if you're using non-standard materials such as mosaic tiles.
Certain jobs should only be carried out by someone with the right specialist skills. Gas work must be done by a Gas Safe-registered engineer, and electrical work should be completed by a qualified electrician.
Hiring a bathroom fitter
When you've found the right person for the job, make sure you've got all the paperwork in place before you start.
As well as your written quote, ask about the insurance your trader has. All traders should have public liability insurance and additional insurance to cover any employees.
Any major work should come with a contract to be signed at the outset, which should include:
- the total cost
- the payment schedule
- the start and completion dates.
Make sure you also understand the terms of any insurance and guarantees offered by the trader.
Paying for bathroom fitting
A bathroom renovation can be a costly project, so your fitter might ask you to pay an instalment up front to cover the cost of ordering goods.
Large jobs should include payment terms in the contract, setting out when you have to pay any deposits or instalments.
If the trader asks for full, or most, payment up front, question this. Make sure that a significant amount of the payment will only be due when the project is completed, as this will put you in a stronger position if the work isn't completed to your satisfaction.
Get a written record of the payment terms you've agreed, even if just on an email, to avoid any misunderstandings later.
Following these steps should head off most problems you might face with your bathroom installer, but if you're not happy with any aspect of the installation, our consumer rights section has advice on how to complain about a trader's work.