For the last couple of months I have been writing blogs for showrooms about what they need to cross off their lists of ‘must knows’ and ‘gotta dos’. To know what I have told them, go to my blogsite and read “Dating” and “Let’s try this again…Installation date”. In these blogs I have pleaded with showroom salespeople to get time and money information from YOU about your project and your client.
Now it’s your turn to have my undivided attention and unrequested but now more than ever needed advice and assistance.
You are the kingpin (or queen bee!) of this entire design process. Upon you rest the aesthetic direction, how and when the project will go, what product is sourced and purchased, and the management of your client to follow the plan that you and they have agreed to. I know and appreciate that you didn’t become a designer solely to manage projects and people, and sometimes bristle at the sales and business end of being a designer. And yet those skills are critical to the project moving forward; the skills of bringing clarity and communication to all of the interactions among involved parties. And the skills of building partnerships upstream (client) and downstream from you (showrooms/vendors as your sales process partners) are as important as is the beauty of the project you are creating.
To that end are a couple of key components that never go away, and get more sensitive and critical as the project moves forward – namely, time and money. In another time that will not soon return, those were issues that might have been marginally discussed early in the process when wallets were wide open and the bottom of them miles away, these key points were less of a hot topic then than they are today. You don’t get it both ways – either there is a budget or there isn’t – yet. They are willing to discuss that with you or they either don’t trust you enough to share that yet or they just don’t know – the former of which is something to develop and the latter of which is something to discuss. Regardless, you gotta talk about the money.
Same is true for installation date. You may not be in a hurry to complete this project, but someone who is signing the front of the check undoubtedly is. Living in a construction site (unless it’s house #2 or #3 – and even then!) is not fun, and when the time and materials clock keeps running, and an event that might be driving this process is getting closer, someone is going to get anxious…and then we go back to the money conversation again. PLEASE establish installation dates and the dates by which, moving backward from there, decisions need to be made, deposits need to be placed, by DATE, so that the project can be completed on time and on budget. Even with social media as an important source of visibility, most designers are still operating without a marketing plan and relying on the referrals of clients to get new projects. When you create a drop dead gorgeous space, that fulfills the lifestyle needs of your client, AND complete it ON TIME and ON BUDGET, your clients have LOTS to crow about…. and will crow about YOU. Let me know if you need help with any of this. I’m in your corner.