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Question DetailsAsked on 9/21/2011

A design firm I hired recommended by Ikea has told me that I must place & oversee the order or pay over $400 for them to. Normal practice?

I paid $400 + $99 out of area travel for a design firm to help plan a kitchen renovation. A shopping list (for Ikea) was drawn up; I was told that I would have to place the order & oversee its correct outcome or pay over $400 extra for the firm to do it. I know nothing about stuff like this, which I mentioned at the first meeting, so I was startled & upset. They are doing the installation. Is this a normal way to do business?

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4 Answers


Not really. Make sure you have a contract with this company which spells out there scope of work. Usually a design firm will not charge for a design unless you approve their design. I would tell them to hit the road. The economy is too bad for a design firm to play those games. Find a new firm or knowledgeable contractor to do the design and work.

Answered 9 years ago by KP


Hello. Sorry you are experiencing this unfortunate struggle with a design firm. What the other answerer said is not necessarily true. A kitchen designer may or may not be part of a large firm that also sells cabinetry. These types of companies may offer design plans at no charge as they expect you will purchase cabinetry from them, thereby paying for the plan. No one can work for nothing and should expect payment for services.

If the designer does not belong to a large firm, they will charge for the work that goes into a design plan. The designer does not know if you, the client, will purchase cabinetry through them - or take your plan and go elsewhere.

Once the plan is approved, product selection can be made by the designer and client or the client alone. If the company from which you purchase cabinetry does not include installation (many do) then, you would need to hire someone to install. A design firm usually has someone on staff.

Normally, at an intial meeting, all costs and responsibilities for the project would be explained up front and either a contract or letter of agreement would be developed for client signature. My company is dead set on communication and the client understanding every aspect of the project before we will move forward. Communication and understanding is key. If the firm is responsible for placing the order, checking the order, receiving and inspecting the order, follow up on any items that may have been made wrong, received wrong, missing items, etc., the design firm should be paid for this work. Again, no one works for free.

If you planned to do the ordering, then, yes, it would be your responsibility to do that work. Again, these choices should have been discussed up front. A lot can go wrong. A lot of time can go into ensuring the cabinetry is made right, receiving right, etc.

Hope I was able to clarify this for you. If you have any other concerns, feel free to contact me directly. I wish you the best and hope the outcome is a good one.

Answered 9 years ago by Maria


A contract with scope of work and clear explanation of fees in advance is very important. Any design firm or contractor that does not satisfy this requirement should rightly have your alarm bells ringing.

That being said - it is not unusual to have one charge for specifying/designing and a separate fee for ordering/project management unless these costs are built into the price you are paying for the products.

I wasn't quite clear from your question if the design firm recommended IKEA or was recommended by IKEA.

Either way, if you are paying a kitchen design firm to specify a kitchen that is "contractor ready" for installation they should be responsible that all of the necessary parts and pieces were correctly specified.


Answered 8 years ago by HMDhome


One payment of $400 +$99 in travel expenses sounds like a reasonable amount for a simple kitchen plan that's detailed enough to be used as a guide. (In fact, I'd say you got the best end of this deal if the plan is satisfactory to you.)
But, in my opinion as an interior designer, that amount is not nearly sufficient if you expect the firm to also actually execute and keep track of the order and supervise the installation.

Answered 8 years ago by Guest_98543251

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