Ask a Designer: 5 Questions To Answer Before Hiring A Designer
WHAT ARE THE TOP 5 QUESTIONS WE ASK A POTENTIAL CLIENT BEFORE STARTING A PROJECT?
There is a lot of detail in what we do and those first few conversations we have with potential clients really set the tone for how a project is going to flow. So here are the top 5 questions we like to ask any potential client before we take on a project.
1. Do you have a clear goal for the scope of work you want us to design?
You would be surprised how often we meet with prospective clients and they aren’t clear on the scope of their project. Sometimes we find ourselves standing in the entry of their home and they say “I want you to design a little of this and a little of that over there” and a clear plan isn’t really defined. In order to know our goals for the project we need a clearly defined scope. So when we sense that the scope is a little misguided, we help define what the priorities are and break it down into phases if needed. That way clients know what to expect and what will be focused on in the different phases of their project.
2. Do you have an idea of what your budget is?
As you can imagine, budget is such a sticky topic but the truth is that it must be discussed in the beginning of a project. We are all adults here, right? So you must have some idea of cost. And if you don’t, then at least we need to have an open conversation of about it so that we can guide you to what is realistic. If we are meeting a potential client and they say they only have $30K to furnish their entire 4,000 SQ FT home, we know that that are not on the right track. However, if the same client says they don’t know how much they should be spending, then that gives us the opportunity to start a dialogue about what it costs to have custom interiors professionally designed for a home of that size.
3. Who is going to be the final decision maker?
This one is such an important question to us because at the end of the day it’s the decision maker who will move the project along. It doesn’t matter if there is a group of people or it’s just a husband and wife, someone usually has the final word and we must know who it is. This way we can guarantee that we aren’t wasting time and beating around the bush on making decisions. We know that the person who makes the decision is also the one in control of the timeline and flow of a project.
4. Have you done a project like this before?
The reason we ask this question is to get a sense of how much time we will need to spend educating the client about expectations and of the realty of a large project. In our line of work, there are a lot of humans involved, and if our clients hasn’t experienced a large remodel or furniture planning project before, they can get frustrated very quickly due to the nature of human error or human communication. It’s a fact that this is the nature of the beast, so we ask this in order to get a clear picture of what we are entering into before signing a contract.
5. Are you and your partner/spouse on the same page in terms of design style?
As you can imaging, everyone has differences in taste and opinion, and when so many important and expensive decisions need to be made, it’s very difficult when the people involved like two completely different styles. So not only do we ask if they are on the same page, but we always ask our clients to show us photos and examples of what they mean. Vocabulary can be a very powerful tool and we want to make sure that when our potential clients use the terminology to describe a piece of furniture as “contemporary” they are showing us an image which reflects the same thing.