When Retreat Bathrooms was established over a decade ago...
Bathrooms were simpler, but just starting to become the next big home improvement within the home.
Yet unless you paid extra for the all-inclusive services of national company Dolphin Bathrooms, you normally had to design, source and manage everything yourself.
For installation; separate trades, plasterers, plumbers, electricians, tilers, fitters, carpenters, nobody taking control, or a general builder who was very willing until things got complex or creative.
As the bathroom industry evolved significantly, new designs, extensive choice and a whole lot more excitement around the bathroom as a significant investment encouraged the growth of more ways to get your new bathroom, complete.
Ten years ago bathrooms were a little simpler, but people acquired their new bathroom a number of different ways and there are still different groups of people:
Self-designed, DIY installed, products & tiles from various sources
Self-designed, separate trades/skills brought together for installation, products & tiles from various sources
Designed & installed by an installer or builder, products sourced by them or via retailers & merchants
Interior designer or architect, perhaps including a project manager
High street showroom with linked installer
General expectations have been that the cheapest route is DIY and the highest being designer, but it's not always the case.
Purchasing formats are now fast changing and increasingly diverse in almost every sector. People buy their new bathroom in different ways...
Years ago there was only one national company you could pay to take care of everything. We set-up with a simple formula that provided a big company feel, for a direct price.
This has helped us win almost every quote, because by slotting-in between the low service installer/builder format and the showroom who needs to charge a high marked-up rate, our customers believe through 10 years of proof, that Retreat Bathrooms offers the best balance.
Many people are busy with work and families and spare time seems to be a luxury unfortunately, so with increased complexity in the process, we find people lean on us to help them with service levels only our structure allows.
A few years ago we decided to move our retail and project 'division' from the shop to the office. This allowed us to be more mobile/on-site and involved and be free from the trade restrictions display policies impose. In addition, Retreat Bathrooms is linked to 2 of the area's other retailers covering both mainstream and premium sectors. Together with the direct brands, they provide us and our clients with the furthest reach of range, offering almost any brand on the market.
Although we are conventional in many ways, changing from a shop to an office-based company, people see us as an interior specialist in bathrooms and a retailer all rolled-into one. Add the associated installers on offer and it means our customers at every level have enjoyed the benefits:
Our structure provides
Unrivaled choice & totally unbiased advice.
We enjoy the variety of all projects in terms of size, style and budget from simple refreshes to elaborate designs.
A team free from trade restrictions and incentives that force us to corral our customers towards a limited selection of brands.
Reduced overheads allows us to offer free design assistance and products at internet price levels - without the internet risk.
We choose to remain small, similar to an architect's practice with a local approach to building a strong network of relationships with tile importers, showrooms, and specialists in many related fields.
We work for a small number of customers and this means a ten-fold level of service compared to shop-based retailers.
Our background in business-to-business means that we are used to working late and communicating when our customers are not working, so we can offer additional out-of-hours assistance too.
Working for commercial markets for many years, we wanted to create a 'product' that was attractive, but by being what people wanted and needed.
But we are all, companies, customers, all so individual, we never try to be everything to everyone. What we are may not suit the DIYers or those who want to rummage on the internet. Some may only feel the allure they need from a shop and the cost will reflect in that.
We never want to persuade anyone to purchase from us or to spend more on their bathroom than necessary.
We show the real bathrooms and introduce our past customers to allow people make their own choices. Everyone can say they are good. Instead, we let our achievements speak for themselves.
Products only represent 50% of what a bathroom actually is. Half of what makes a bathroom great is the quality of the installation. Bathrooms are part format and part bespoke. They involve the careful selection of components that are not designed by the same company. These components and every installation related detail need to work together.
There is much that could be discussed about this essential and important part of any bathroom.
We started with people asking if we knew an installer. We'd hand-out a card, but while we saw the price savings and other customer benefits in not employing or sub-contracting (especially as most others don't work that way anyway), we developed a format with Allied Installers Group so that people didn't have to endure so many separate meetings and discussions.
Allied Installers Group was formed as a group of independent micro-companies that could stay below the VAT threshold yet who worked with the same professional standards in bathroom installation and customer service.
While some customers have their own builders, plumbers or a friend in the family, most choose to work with the Allied Installers and us Retreat Bathrooms collectively to achieve the best balance of specialist quality at a direct price.
Installation nowadays is attempted by many, but mastered by few. It's hard work requiring just as much intelligence as craft. The Allied Installers are a collective of senior fitters providing all of the key skills within their team to complete your bathroom to a very high standard. They are not the only group we are happy to introduce or work with and we are also happy to liaise with fitters you find yourself should you prefer. While it's the installers who are expert in and take ownership of that 'department', at Retreat Bathrooms we are highly experienced and knowledgeable of the installation process, how to brief and guide installers and how to help make the process as smooth as it could possibly be.
The proof is in the reality of what installers create. Take a look for yourself. Ask to meet them or talk to past customers.
Independent status offers installation, VAT free and without a showroom mark-up.
Over a decade installing for Retreat Bathrooms' customers offering a smoother and seamless link with the whole process. Taking away the extra stresses and worries you'd have to deal with yourself.
Avoids the 'us and them' installer/retailer conflicts that can otherwise cost you time and money.
Pricing on components rather than days saves hundreds in extras bills or ambiguity.
The detailed quotation format provides a clear 'check-list' of tasks agreed.
Senior installers, some with over 20 years experience will be working on your bathrooms. The very same fitters who have produced the bathrooms you see on our website and those who you can talk to past customers about in terms of references should you wish.
Allied Installers believes in the value to them as much as you, in minimising the impact home improvements can have on the home as well as adopting a friendly and communicative dialogue.
Installers insured to £1m (£2m for larger projects), provide a 12 month guarantee on their work and provide a separate receipt. They will prior to work commencing provide their full contact details in a booking letter.
Although the installers are a separate company, we are happy for you to talk to us about installation details and with normal projects we stay involved throughout.