I've been talking a lot about kitchen prices recently - about Sale prices (it's that time of year!) - but also about list prices and trade prices. There was also that comment in Kevin McCloud's recent book about there being little difference between a £5,000 kitchen and a £50,000 one. I've already written about that.
So ... I thought it was about time I put my blog where my mouth was (as if I don't normally!) ... and came up with some figures. Have a look at this table. There are going to be lots of explanations and caveats to follow - but the table still makes interesting reading I think. It's a comparison of different prices for an 8-Unit example of a kitchen (more about that below):
The examples listed in the "Kitchen" column, for each price group, are roughly in order of price with the least expensive at the top
*The 8-Unit Example
I've used the same 8 units that Magnet use in their smallest kitchen example ... the reason being that I could then use their example prices, without going and fetching one of their price lists. Most of my research was done on-line.
It's not a kitchen you'd want ... but, hey - it's just for comparison purposes:
What's included? Well, here's a list:
1 x tall fridge-freezer housing (50:50, if possible)
3 x 600 drawer-line base units
1 x built-under single oven housing
1 x 600 sink base - dummy drawer-line
2 x 500 standard wall units (720-ish high)
2 x tall end panels
1 x base end panel
3 x wall end panel
2 x lengths plinth
2 x lengths cornice
1 x length light pelmet
The prices also include a length of worktop and 12 handles ... but I've used the same prices for those in every example. The appliances and sink are not included. The price differences are due just to differences in the kitchen units themselves. I've also added 20% VAT to the prices - because you'll have to pay it, in the not too distant future - although not all suppliers are passing the increase on, as yet.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that all 8-unit kitchen examples are the same, either. B&Q and Wickes use a different (but similar to each other) 8-unit example - which I think is better (it includes more wall units, and doesn't use the slightly old fashioned drawer-line style, although it's overall length is slightly shorter). B&Q include end panels in their example, although only one tall one, instead of two (their example is obviously in the corner of a room!) ... whilst Wickes don't include any - and also exclude the worktop. I haven't used B&Q's and Wickes' own figures for an 8-unit example - I've worked the prices out for my example shown here.
Apart from my hand painted example at the end, all the prices are for a high gloss kitchen in a colour that isn't white. I was aiming at a pale coffee colour but was quite happy with cream or something similar. I didn't want white because it's sometimes cheaper than other colours.
Wherever possible, I've added a code to tell you what type of door is involved (if there's a question mark, then it wasn't stated clearly what the door was - in the brochure, or on the website):
HGL = high gloss laminate
HGF = high gloss foil
HGV = high gloss vinyl
HGP = high gloss paint/acrylic (but not solid acrylic)
I've listed them above roughly in order of quality ... although there can be exceptions. The high gloss laminates can look a whole lot better than a poor quality gloss vinyl.
Gloss End Panels - are a very important factor in high gloss kitchens. They can be very expensive and the quality of the gloss ends varies even more than the quality of the doors does. That's not to say that the quality is necessarily important to you (depending on how prominent the end panels are in your kitchen) - but it does have a big influence on the price. The most expensive kitchens should have end panels that match the doors exactly, whilst cheaper versions may use a gloss MFC (carcasse material) which is a slightly different colour, and has a different level of gloss, to the doors.
Of the kitchens listed above, the prices for the end panels alone (with the material in brackets - if known) were as follows:
less than £250 ... IKEA, Colonial and Eco Image (gloss MFC)
£250 - £500 ... B&Q High Gloss Cream, Lakes Sand Gloss, Howdens Glendevon Cream Trade
£500 - £750 ... Colonial and Eco Image (painted), Second Nature Avant Cappuccino (vinyl), Howdens Glendevon Cream Trade LIST
£750 - £1,000 ... Wickes Manhattan Sale
£1,000 - £1,500 ... Colonial Gloss Coffee (painted), Howdens Glendevon Cream LIST, Wickes Manhattan LIST
Second Nature only do single large end panels which need to be cut down to size for base and wall end panels (Achieve Stylish Living will provide you with a cutting plan).
This column represents both the source of the kitchen - if you want to buy one - and my source for the prices. If you see the word LIST in capital letters then this is what the supplier is claiming to be their normal retail price.
If you see - retail price list - in this column, then I've taken the prices from a published price list, either a hard copy which I already had, or one downloadable from the internet ... which I believe to be quite genuine. You should be able to get the kitchen at this price (or slightly lower) from any retail outlet for these kitchens (contact me if you have trouble finding one).
Not all of my price lists are bang up-to-date ... that's why I've worked with price bands, rather than giving you my exact prices. It's also entirely possible that I've made mistakes. If any come to light, then I'm quite happy to change the figures.
What is a Good Discount or Sale Price?
Kitchen retailers have to make a profit - they go out of business if they don't - and most customers don't want retailers to do that (or at least not until their kitchen has been fitted!). You're right, I jest ... but only a little. Desperate retailers undercut their competitors and damage the businesses of all of them - before they exit the scene, leaving a trail of creditors and unfinished kitchens. What you want is a genuine bargain - a good deal - from a thriving business - not the dying gasp of a failing retailer (unless, of course, you know that's what it is - and are prepared for the lack of after sales service). Nor do you want pretend Sales, inflated list prices or variable trade prices ... but to some extent that's exactly what you are getting.
Any of the prices in my table which are just labelled "retail price list" are genuine retail prices. That's the sort of price you should normally expect to pay. If you're getting a smallish discount on that (up to 20% say) - then you're getting a good deal. Don't expect to get 40 or 50% discounts - they won't be genuine. If a retailer was really giving you that amount of discount he would very soon be out of business.
Be extremely wary of any explanations (for a big discount) which involve:- showhomes; signing on the night because the offer ends tomorrow; fitters sitting idle; incentives to meet targets; soft hearted managers on the phone - and other well worn sales tricks. If there are real bargains to be had, then they'll involve discontinued lines, ex-display units - or genuine manufacturers offers (and the latter should have sales literature to go with them).
Some of the prices which are labelled "LIST" in my table are, in my opinion, extremely dubious. They're not genuine retail prices at all (see my Notes section).
What You're Paying for - Apart from the Profit, Of Course
There are good reasons why some kitchens are much more expensive than others. I've already mentioned some of the quality issues around doors and end panels and there are, of course a lot more factors involving the actual units themselves:
- the carcasse quality (including components such as hinges, drawer runners, handles etc)
- the range of door sizes available
- the range of unit sizes available
- whether or not carcasses can be made to measure
- the range of accessories available
Don't just think about the units, though. Also consider:
- does the retailer provide a good design service (you know where to come if they don't!) ... if it's "free" - the price is included in the unit price
- suppliers with showrooms have to cover more overheads
- a deposit guarantee scheme - whilst good for customers - will cost the retailer money
- better quality kitchen manufacturers provide not only better quality units ... they also provide much better efficiency in production, they get more orders right first time, they deliver on schedule and they put mistakes right fast. All of that costs money. You can't do it with a horde of inexperienced school leavers (or with one harassed showroom/operations manager either, come to that)
- are you getting good advice with your kitchen
- are you prepared to pay extra for a brand name - kitchens are the same in that respect as any other product. Poggenpohl, Smallbone and the rest (even Magnet and Wickes) pay a lot of money out to market their brand and attract you as a customer.
Calling All Retailers
I'm hoping to add to my table as time goes on - or perhaps produce new tables - with different kitchens and suppliers. If you're on my list and you think I'm being unfair or have made a mistake ... do, please get in touch.
If you're not on my list but would like to be - then send me your price for a named kitchen brand and range - for the list of units and components under my 8-unit example picture. Don't include worktop and handles - I'll add my standard sum for those - but do let me know whether or not you've included VAT and at what rate. You'll appear under the "Source" column.
A lot of customers think that kitchens from independent showrooms are always going to be expensive - that they really do cost the sort of money that some "LIST" prices suggest - lets show that it's not true!
The Kitchens and the Suppliers
- Firstly, I'd like to point out that I'd be happy to design a kitchen using any of the kitchens listed here. I don't have anything against the kitchens themselves ... it's just the price lists and the "Sale" prices that I'm quibbling about
- IKEA use slightly different unit sizes to everybody else - check their brochure/price list
- IKEA, Achieve Stylish Living and Howdens all provide a useable drawer under the oven in their built under oven housing unit ... which can be useful and obviously costs more to produce
- Second Nature is a brand name that applies to the unit doors only (from supplier PWS) - each retailer will source/manufacture a different quality of carcasses to fit them to
- DIY Kitchens and Achieve Stylish Living are both internet retailers (but neither are one man bands working from their garages!) They both have a showroom you can go and visit. The prices for their kitchens include a charge for delivery (but check the charge for your area).
- DIY Kitchens prices include an additional charge (15% of the cabinet and door price) for drilling hinge holes in the doors and attaching them to the cabinets. It's drilling the holes that's important - because some fitters won't have the right equipment to do that (although you can hire it from DIY Kitchens)
- Colonial and Eco Kitchens are both produced by JJO plc a UK company based in Lancashire. In general, Colonial Kitchens have better quality, colour matched carcasses and the doors can also be purchased to fit to separately sourced cabinets. The Eco kitchens are always sold as complete units (white flat packed carcasses) and I've priced them with soft close drawers. They produce more than one type of high gloss kitchen. I've picked two of them - the least expensive and the most expensive.
- Lakes Sand Gloss Kitchen was priced with 18mm carcasses
- Howdens prices are for their standard carcasses - without soft close or full extension drawers
- Wickes Manhattan prices include soft close hinges as standard
- Magnet's Urban Cafe range is in their middle price band called "Purely Magnet". I've used their own prices for the 8-unit example (see picture below) because I didn't have an up-to-date price list. Their price includes their own worktop and handles - although I doubt if that price varies significantly from the standard sum that I used. Their price also includes "3 x trims". I've no idea what they are (plinth or worktop trim I'd guess). The other prices don't include those!
- IKEA is in a league of it's own when it comes to prices. Their high gloss ranges aren't top notch quality - but then you get what you pay for. There's nothing wrong with the carcasse quality. Go and check out one of their displays, to see if you'd be happy with the look. If any of their kitchens are in a Sale - then it's a genuine one.
- DIY Kitchens have a 5% Sale on currently - which makes their price very competitive. Their normal LIST price is also very competitive - and real! They're part of a very large company which manufactures it's own carcasses (and which also supplies kitchens to showrooms).
- B&Q are advertising a 50 - 60% Sale at the moment. If you look closely, though (and it's in quite big print on the front of their website), that only applies to the doors and drawer fronts. The Sale price, that I came up with, was about 15% lower than the normal list price. I can't decide whether I approve, or not. I can't help thinking that calling it half price is misleading - and yet the result is that B&Q's LIST price remains in the realms of reality. It's as if they can't quite wean themselves off the traditional "shed" policy of offering very high - but dubious - discounts. The quality of their High Gloss Cream door (from the Cooke & Lewis range) should be good - since it's painted. I haven't been to look at a sample - but, if it is a good quality painted door - then it's really good value. (If only there weren't quite so many complaints about them failing to deliver the whole kitchen in one go!)
- Howdens are a unique proposition when it comes to kitchens - the biggest supplier by volume in the UK - they supply to the trade only. I like their kitchens, apart from the very limited choice of unit sizes available but - in my opinion - they publish a price LISTof fairy tale proportions. The price that I've given as "hearsay" is the one that I believe they charge their good trade customers ... and it puts them in Price Group 3, right amongst their competitors ... exactly where you'd expect them to be! I don't have any argument with the way they supply kitchens - it's those fairy tale prices that I don't like. Even the price that they call "Trade" is a bit inflated, if you look at their competitor's prices. Why don't they work out a reasonable retail price and give realistic trade discounts - like many other reputable suppliers! Builders and fitters would still have the option of passing on that discount to their customers - or not - as they saw fit.
- the price for a Second Nature Avant Cappuccino kitchen from Achieve Stylish Living (ASL) is more expensive than from DIY Kitchens. A couple of possible reasons spring to mind: i) they're a smaller business and may get a less good price from supplier PWS and ii) they're using different and slightly superior carcasses. Those sorts of price differences are entirely legitimate and are why you, the customer, should shop around and decide what you're prepared to pay extra for. They're extraordinarily helpful at ASL.
- Wickes have one of the better reputations, amongst the "sheds" (as smaller retailers often call the multiples). I like their kitchens and the way they're developing their reputation ... but I have the usual issues with the range of unit sizes ... and their inflated LIST price. I can't say whether their gloss door is particularly good quality - since they don't say how it's made. I can definitely say, though, that their kitchens aren't of the quality that would justify being in Price Group 9. They say on their price list that the products within were sold at LIST price between the 19th November and the 16th December last year. Technically that might be true - but I'm willing to bet they didn't sell any kitchens during that period which involved just the units. They probably had offers on the fitting, or the appliances, to bring the overall price down to a reasonable level.
- I have exactly the same issues with Magnet. I've no idea how good the quality of the Urban Cafe door is - since they don't say what it's made from. It most definitely shouldn't retail at £6,200 for eight units, though ... not when their main competitors are selling similar kitchens for £2,000 - £3,000. If the Urban Cafe door is a good quality painted one - then the "Sale" price (in Group 6) may be a reasonable retail price. I don't consider it to be a Sale price at all, though.
- Colonial's Gloss Coffee door is good quality - and so are the painted end panels (it's the good quality painted accessories that are responsible for a high proportion of the price). The range also has a good choice of unit sizes ... and I'm not surprised that the price comes top of the true retail prices in my table. I think the - considerably - higher position of some of the other "LIST" prices (for kitchens with a much more restricted choice of unit sizes and with poorer quality doors), speaks for itself.
- I added the Neptune Classic hand painted kitchen price just for comparison - and to show how ridiculous some of the list prices for the other kitchens really are. Neptune are one of the few high quality kitchen suppliers that publish a retail price list. At £7,200 this 8-unit kitchen has no chipboard and no MDF in it's construction at all. It's made from solid timber and birch ply with dovetailed solid wood drawer boxes. The doors are inset into solid wood frames with expensive butt hinges and the frames are made with mortice and tenon joins. Doors and drawers are fitted by hand before the unit is hand painted. I had to adjust the 8 units a bit to get a price - but it's roughly comparable - and I've still included the laminate worktop, so that the differences in price are for the units only.
- The prices in the table have just been quickly worked out from what price lists I had available. They don't necessarily represent the price you'd pay if you went into a store now. Many of the suppliers offer extra discounts on their "Sale" prices. I think you can probably see why now.
- The suppliers mentioned in the table are not the only ones using inflated LIST prices. All direct sales oragnisations will do the same. They imagine that giving you a 40, 50 or even 60% discount on that list price will persuade you to buy on the night.
- Sadly, the suppliers seem to be right ... we are all complete suckers for a big discount - even if it's bogus. Suppliers continue to use the same practices because they work!
- There's more than one way of getting round the rule about actually selling the units at LIST price. I worked for a direct sales organisation for a short while, many years ago. They used to have a period when the kitchens were supposedly for sale at the LIST price - but, for every sale made during that period, it was laboriously documented that it had been sold at an incorrect price. I don't know whether or not that would work these days ... but I'm sure they've thought up new ploys since!
- I chose to price a gloss kitchen, partly because of the issues with matching end panels. For other kitchens you may not need end panels at all ... if you choose a better quality kitchen with colour matched carcasses
If you'd like Majjie's help to design your kitchen please have a look at our Kitchen Design Services pages. We provide an affordable and professional service, which can be tailored to your needs - and we don't want to sell you a kitchen!
Bookmark/Search this post with