Several years ago, when I first started my own Interior Design business, I went to visit a prospective client’s home. The owners wanted to redo their family room. It was a decent size with a fireplace and a high vaulted ceiling.
I proceeded to ask them many questions to determine the scope of the project, their style, and the amount they were willing to invest in the room. They needed all new furniture, carpeting, paint, and window treatments. They also wanted to incorporate antiques into the design. They were willing to invest $10,000.
Outwardly, I was cool. Inwardly, my jaw was on the floor. How were they going to pay me and be able to get everything they want? Here is the kicker; they had been watching Designers’ Challenge. They actually wanted three designers to give them three different presentations and then they would decide who would get the job.
Oh no, a really bad case of unrealistic prospective clients due to what they had seen on TV. I had to break the bad news and educate them. The only way this would have the possibility of happening is if the production company was looking for homes to work on in their area. Designer’s are not in business of doing the work first in hope that they might get paid for it.
Back then, I was just starting out on my own. I could have saved myself the trip to their house if I had the detailed telephone questionnaire that I have now.
There is nothing wrong with people getting to know different designers. You have to find the right fit and believe that you are comfortable enough to trust them to help you get the result you want.
Designer’s will show you a portfolio of their work or lead you to their website so you can see what they can do. They should be able to give you contact information of clients who are happy and very satisfied with their completed projects. They should discuss the type of design agreement that would be appropriate based on the scope of your project.
Designers do not work for free. We get into it because we love design. But in reality this is a business with overhead and other expenses and we have to make a living like everyone else. When you are thinking of starting a project and you know you need help from a designer. Save up for what you might need to hire them as well as what you may need to complete the project.