Who is the happy interior design client? You have probably heard of the ones that were not ecstatic about the designer that they worked with during a major renovation in their home. The whole business of interior design is an industry that can be full of traps and client-designer relationship disasters. Many of the bad situations that unhappy clients have experienced were spurred by the lack of communication, schedule conflict, even a tight budget.
The attitude of design clients have dramatically changed over the years especially after the recession in 2007. Now more than ever, clients already know what they want and they also know that there is plenty of design options.
The interior designer can be his own worst enemy if he fails to establish a good relationship with his clients. The designer’s decision should understand that the client’s requirements are more important than potential income.
The first step to becoming closer with a client is to establish your role as the designer. There is no such thing as an ideal client since it is you who needs to adapt to their requirements and wishes. If in case these wishes are impossible or are unfashionable, then find ways to explain in a manner that would not hurt the client’s feelings.
Set a certain demographic for your would-be clients. Would you like to become a designer that focuses in making stunning doctors’ offices? Then target doctors as your clients. Other demographics are income level, age, and location.
Create a Set of Questions
It would help if you ask a series of questions that will determine what your client wants. Have a dialogue instead of a monologue. Do not let the client monopolize the conversation, neither should it turn the other way around. You must share your ideas so that, together, you can achieve a beautiful design.
Ask also what your clients prefer. A happy interior design client is tantamount to having a successful project.
Every profession has its own set of issues. Make a list of all the problems that you have encountered with your past clients. Better yet, learn from the mistakes of others. Read about the common errors done by designers and steer clear of them. Once the issues are resolved, be sure to improve and deviate from them.
Discuss in advance how certain problems will be handled. For example, how will you answer your client if he says that he found a product on the Internet that was quoted at a lower price.
What will you do when the client changes his mind and you have already placed the order for the materials? How will you deal with late payments and designs that have exceeded their allotted budgets?
If you have to, allow your clients to buy some materials on their own. Discuss the deadline and set it on a date where you both agree. Set a solution for these dilemmas from the onset and you’ll have an easier road to travel ahead.
State Your Fee
Know that almost 70% of clients prefer to hire a designer with a fixed fee. If you work by billing hourly, then this puts you in a position that may not be too enticing for clients to hire. Once a level of trust is set, then the client will be more than willing to pay more for your quality of service.
The happy interior design client is one who has a good working relationship with his designer. Keep in mind that this is a relationship that exceeds the contract.
Remember that even the richest clients are stunned by large bills so do not lose trust by hitting on high profits alone. It is better to establish a good relationship with your client first.