I recently went to a friend’s wedding in Madrid. I’m so amazed that the Westerners take pride in doing up the place by themselves. The groom’s English & the bride’s Spanish. They bought a place in the outskirts of London. For the last 1 year, they spent most of their weekends doing up their place, bit by bit during their off days until it is completed. Labour cost is really expensive there, and the couple even mentioned that a “specialist” may even be an amateur when doing the job (Yes, they complained of a screw up kitchen cabinet job sub out to a contractor). With many DIY shops available, it’s no wonder that they would rather save the money and DO IT YOURSELF.
So... that sparked the interest when we've gotten our place. Encore - first step:
My main aim - MARKET RESEARCH.
After running around exhibitions looking and asking interior design firms to see my place and quote on the renovation works that needs to be done, I was so disappointed! Also, the worse thing is that, because these firms are unsure if you are a serious customer, they usually do a sloppy job in recommending designs for what you want. For me, the first impression in their office was already bad. I waited for 45mins from the appointment time and they were not done. My mum and I had to go for lunch to give them time to prepare. Afterwards, they whipped out two pictures that was done to a previous apartment and asked me to look at their previous portfolio for something that I’m looking at.
Prior to that, they came to inspect my place, I gave them & showed them pictures of the theme I was looking for and said they would recommend something, yet I still have to choose? The last straw came when they showed me the quotation. Boy! It was something out of my expectation. It was close to $100k for hacking and changing floor tiles, painting of house interior, building of an extension to 2nd floor (excluding PE fees which based on their estimate, mounts up to $5k-$15k), building extension to front porch, sanding & polishing the parquet, feature wall & TV console, and designer fee (which comes complimentary).
Moreover, I noticed there were other KIV items (I asked to quote separately) that were not included in the total sum. Already the necessary renovation works is close to $100k, what if I added the KIV items, the PE fees and not forgetting my furniture?!
We walked out. I refuse to be a “Chai Tau” (White carrot - literary it means "being chopped" cheated by a salesperson)!
Thereafter, other designer firms got back to me with similar quotes, so I guess the market rate is around there.
Immediately, I chucked the quotations & looked for other alternatives...