Re: Kitchen replacement
I've not had a kitchen make over, but I have had all the windows in my house replaced and an attick conversion done. And my conclusion is that builders/trades men are the same all over - same tricks and the same issues.
The most common thing I have found it that they quote you once price at the start and then once they get the job the price starts to go up. The two usual excuses are the either the job is bigger than the thought or that it would really be better if the used more expensive materials. Either way you need to watch the price creep.
It really is very time consuming, you have to check everything yourself if you want to get the job done the way you want it. There are people who offer a service to manage the whole thing for you, but as far as I have seen this is only an advantage if you don't speak the language - otherwise you just end up check on a different person....
Good luck with the project,