Bathroom Season: Are you ready?March 29, 2016
New bathroom season is coming – and plumbers need to be ready for the challenges that come with making homeowners delighted about their bathroom choice.
With bathrooms, a plumber should be firmly in charge and the other trades – joiners and electricians – will be looking your way to project manage the job. But, your customers are still kings and queens and you need to help them turn their bathroom dream into a reality.
About now, homeowners will probably start their search online, looking at bathroom furniture, shower enclosures, showers, taps, etc. The choice of styles and colours is endless, as is the type of furniture, with wall units that can be slim-line and standard, wall-hung or free-standing.
By the time they get in touch with you, the plumber, they’ll have an idea of what they want and you’ll try to accommodate their wishes as far as possible.
But what can you do to get the job off on the right foot and make the whole process as smooth as possible for you and the customer?
- Ask about their budget
What does the customer want to spend on the new bathroom? Straight away you’ll know what they want, from low to high end products.
- What are they trying to fit into the space?
Arrange to visit the house and measure up as soon as possible. Whatever they tell you about their old bathroom on the phone or on email doesn’t make it easy to design the new one in your head! Seeing the current space will help you advise what can be done within their budget.
- Get the customer to see and feel the products before buying
A customer might decide to buy their new bathroom furniture out of a brochure you recommend and then don’t like what they see when it arrives in “the flesh” for the first time. If you can encourage them to visit a bathroom showroom, a good plumbers’ merchant can either match the product or show the customer something similar. They need to be 100% sure about what they’re buying!
- Selecting the right materials
Fitting a new bathroom is an intricate job, so you want to have the right materials to get the first fix right.
So, things to think about include:
- What’s the pipework? It is cast iron, clay pipe or modern plastic? A good first fix on the pipework is essential so joiners can lay a new floor without having to make adjustments later.
- Have the new bath or shower tray been made in a non-standard size? You’ll need options for fitting them properly.
- Is the wall not flush and you can’t make it a perfect square? If so, wet wall panels might be a better option than tiles. They look good and are a lot easier to clean without the grouting.
- Are you moving the toilet? This a big job in anybody’s estimation as it has to tie up with the pipework and soil stack.
- Taking the snag out of snagging
To get the job right first time (or at least as good as it can be) make sure you invest in the best quality materials, especially adhesives and pipework. It’s vital to not cut costs “to the bone” on materials. And doing a water test helps to make sure the seals are intact and there’s no escape of water when the job’s done.
And it might sound obvious but when you first open up the materials, check that all the components are in there! If not, it means you have to go back to the supplier before it’s too late in the process. It’s certainly not something you want to be doing at the end of the project when the shower door won’t close!
Craig McKee, branch manager – Plumbase Paisley