In the old days, actually not too long ago, the contractor or so called designer was the one you looked whenever you wanted to renovate your home. Finding a plumber, an electrician, a mason, a tiler, a carpenter was difficult. Not everyone wanted to work with each other. People usually looked at newspaper's classifieds or go the Expo or more often than not got a recommendation. Prices were not so transparent. Quotes are slow to arrive. Smaller jobs were given a lower priority.
As the internet becomes more ubiquitous the renovation industry has changed. Many subcontractors are beginning to market directly to the consumer. Many of them feel the designer marketing firms have pressured them far too long and too often. They have been getting the short end of stick in the past. Many now have their own websites and will quote directly to consumers. This has pressured many designer firms to provide better service to justify their higher prices.
The designer marketing firm concept developed over the last 20 to 30 years. Contractors posed as designers to get jobs. Design was becoming an important decision consideration. Their salesmen were called designers. These contractors soon became marketers with show flats erected at exhibitions. They copied designs from magazines and top interior designers. They soon became the mainstream means of carrying out a new home renovations. Many of these designer contractors were not formally trained and customers problems were rampant in this industry. CASE data showed that this industry had the most reported complaints.
This designer firms very soon focused purely on marketing. Their unqualified salesmen were called designers but were also project managers. They were only paid if the client paid up. Most are on profit sharing and have no basic pay. Everything was subcontracted and subcontractors were paid last. The salesmen were jacks of all trades. They knew a little about everything but not a lot about a specific field. They promised the moon but on many occasions subcontractors were not agreeable. This is when the problems start.
When you understand how this industry works you can save a lot of money. Designer firms mark up from 20 to 50%. For a new home renovation this can be a big amount. Go direct to a subcontractor and save a fortune.
Go for a licensed electrician. Don't buy lights from the electrician. They are usually more expensive. But your lights online. Buy Phillips or Osram for down and ceiling lights. Forget the rest.
Get a general contractor for all the small ticket items. This includes demolition, disposal, minor works, painting, false ceilings and protection works.
Go for a carpenter or furniture maker for your custom cabinets. Never go through a main contractor. This is a large ticket item.
Go for a curtain or blinds maker. Never go through a designer. Your price will be at least 30% higher.
Buy your toilet and bathroom fittings directly and get the general contractor to install them.
You might need to do some co-ordination. The painter, general contractor and electrician always want the other to carry out their works first before starting their own. So have a project meeting with those involved to settle the schedule and sequence of work. Create a WhatsApp group and record down what has been agreed. Some everyday technology can go a long way.
Picket&Rail is the probably only true blue premium full range furniture and carpentry store left in Singapore.
The other furniture stores are mostly specialists focusing on either mattresses, sofas, or specific styles such as teak furniture with limited range.
The big box stores other than IKEA are selling mostly mattresses, sofas and some dining tables. They don't sell many side cabinets, buffers, shoe cabinets, dressers, study tables, bookcases, modular cabinetry, designer kitchen cabinets, toilet cabinets or custom carpentry services.