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Tips On Choosing Your Fitter/Installer

How To Choose The Right Fitter (or at least a good one!)

There is a difference between a carpenter and a floor fitter but having said that, many carpenters make excellent wood floor fitters because they know how the product should be treated and they know the potential problems that may arise in the future if they don’t take the necessary precautions at time of installation.

When you’ve just paid a large amount of your hard-earned cash on a beautiful new Oak Flooring, you don’t want some ‘cowboy’ coming in and ruining it for you, so there are some simple routine tasks to ‘sift’ through your potential ‘partners’ for creating your finished floor.

Always Get More Than One Quote

This may seem obvious but it’s amazing how many people ask 1 fitter for a price and accept it there and then, without ever having met them before or seen any of their previous work. Always ask at least three and preferably four or five different fitters (unless someone has been recommended obviously).

The reason we suggest this is because fitters will ‘price up’ the work differently. You may get one that simply prices the job per m2 but you may get another who wants to give you a lump sum price that is calculated from the amount of time it’s going to take to complete. The difference can be incredible when you work it out.

Never Accept The Price Over The Phone

How some fitters can expect work when they simply respond to enquiries with something like; “I charge £25.00 per M2, plus Vat” beats us!

This is because there are so many possible variables so how can they assess the amount of work required over the telephone? The vast majority of work is in the preparation of the subfloor (so firstly they need to confirm that either it’s been completed satisfactorily or if they are expected to do it), and in finishing off around the perimeter of the room. Installing wood flooring throughout a standard ‘box’ shaped room is very simple, it’s around the perimeter where the majority of the work is involved.

Just to emphasise the point here, the room could be completely square with one doorway, or multi-angled with 27 doorways!

So always ask your ‘potential floor partner’ (because that’s they are actually going to be if you choose them) to visit your property and confirm the details there and then.

When You Have Your Potential Fitter ‘On Site’

When you are together with your potential fitter ‘on site’, ask their advice and what they recommend for the best result. Ask how he or she would fit the flooring (remember there are four different methods) and if they have a preference. If they do have a preferred fitting method, ask them why?

If there are any awkward parts that you’re not sure about, ask the fitter how they will go about solving what you see as a challenge. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn about the person you’re negotiating with by the way they answer your questions.

Remember, you’re entering into a ‘contract partnership’ where both parties should be able to visualise and agree what the finished floor will look like.

Can You Visit One Of Their Previous Jobs?

This is ideal if you can but not all fitters like to refer people to their past jobs, not because they’re of poor quality but because it’s abusing the privacy of their past customers. We at Oak Floors Online are forever being asked for contact details of previous customers but ask yourself if you would like 20 people a week phoning you to ask how your new floor is doing!

Sometimes you’ll find a fitter that’s installed a floor within a commercial premises like a shop or office, so it’s easy to just go along and take a look but that’s not always the case.

If you can, speak with someone that’s dealt with the fitter previously. It’s amazing how many finished floors are better when the owner ‘gets on’ with the fitter, rather than when they don’t.

When Can They Fit Your Floor?

Make sure you ask their availability. If they say something like; “Now” or “I’ve got my tools in the van”, proceed with a little caution because if they haven’t got much work on their books there’s sometimes a negative reason. That’s not always the case though, and possibly they’re a good fitter but maybe just completed a job earlier than expected, but it’s worth considering.

The ‘when’ question is important because there’s no point being completely thorough and agreeing everything and then discovering that your floor can’t be fitted for another six months (unless that happens to fit your schedule obviously). So it’s better to ask this early on in your negotiations with something like; “If I awarded you the job, when could you do it? What notice do you need to start and after you have started, would you work through to completion without any breaks?”

And Finally – The Price!

Never accept an hourly rate or day rate. NEVER!

Always make sure that you either agree a M2 rate or an overall total for everything required before the job starts. It will prevent any issues arising afterwards if everything is agreed regarding cost and charges before the installation starts, rather than afterwards.

Make sure you know what’s included in the price, what happens if something else is required during the installation, and who pays for any breakages, leaks, or mishaps (they can happen, so best to cover the possibility now).

Then ultimately, it’s all up to you. On your experiences of speaking to your potential fitters and asking them various questions, you now must decide which is the best for your particular situation.

You have to assess their personality, their skill level, their quotation, their availability, and most importantly of all… what your finished floor will look like and how it will perform.

Usually, not an easy decision at all, but we hope this helps you make up your mind without too much stress?

When a new floor installation is being assessed, we believe a good fitter should be capable of reducing your stress levels, not increase them.