One of the most difficult conversations a client and designer ever has is the one about money. How much do you have versus how much will it cost?
I have learned that the only way to tackle this is like you would a bandaid. Just rip it off. Dig right in. So it becomes one of the very first things we discuss once we have agreed to meet with a potential client. This is what the conversation might look like:
Designer: What amount do you have budgeted for this project?
Client: I”m not sure. What do you think it will cost?
A couple of things I’ve noticed that are consistent with these conversations over the years are:
1/ clients often don’t have an exact dollar figure allocated in their mind
2/ if they do have an exact number, they’re often keeping that number to themselves
There is a fear that if they tell us a number we’ll spend it all. And the truth is, we will.
That’s why you hired us. To spend that money making sure you get either most or all of what’s on your wish list. So before you sit down to discuss a project with a designer I would strongly suggest that you and your partner sit down and crunch some numbers so that you can figure out what you truly have to spend.
The biggest reason that clients leave meetings feeling badly about money is not because they don’t have a hefty budget. It’s because they didn’t realize the number of things that need to be addressed. Maybe you put aside $20K for furniture but left nothing aside for having a new fireplace mantel built.
Or maybe you didn’t realize the cost of labour involved in hardwiring a wall sconce. Whatever it is, it’s always better to come to a meeting fully prepared to show your cards in anticipation of what your design process will look like.
We’ve created a checklist that we provide for our clients. We ask them to print it prior to our first meeting and check off all the areas that will be touching on during the working period. This helps to ensure nothing is forgotten or left out of the original budgeting phase.
Once you have a better control of what is involved in the design of each room, there will be fewer financial surprises that sideswipe your plan and leave you with half finished rooms.
We’re sharing our checklist with you so that you can confidently wade into the design waters on your own. Click on the checklist to enlarge.