Here is a wonderful guest blog from our own Laura Lawrence, CKD! It is informative information that will help you understand the design/budget process. Thanks Laura!
Budgets. It’s tough to create one without doing actual design work. But it’s possible. My problem is I’m too thorough and too honest. Why too honest? Because in my time, I know the difference between plugging in $3.95/sf for tile and the costs of the tiles people actually choose (usually at the least $7.95/sf…..almost double). It seems that the general consensus is to use the bare minimum figures to get the job and then let the clients figure out how they are going to pay for all the overages.
No designer likes to lose a job. But it’s tougher to swallow when the customer bases their most important decision solely on the proposed budget….. without asking questions about what the budget represents? It’s a tough line to walk:”you CAN do it for this, but you PROBABLY end up spending this”. It’s so important to educate the client about all the possible decisions! Why is that tile so inexpensive? Is it based on a ceramic tile that will show the terra cotta base when it chips? It is a porcelain tile? With a rectified edge? Is it a natural stone? Is there an accent tile included? How will the edges be treated? Bullnose tile, manual bullnose, manual miter? These aren’t the questions some clients will ask, but they need to! They need to know what the budget figures represent!
Are the plumbing fixtures chrome? Do you get them from a home center? Are they plastic or ceramic cartridges (most don’t know the difference)? Numbers are numbers, they don’t reflect quality. They may not reflect and complete thought process (see “how will the edges be treated” above). It’s scary!
Educating the client, not only about what you are representing, but also about what others might be excluding is vital! Maybe I can maintain my thoroughness and honestly about actual figures but doing just that.
My name is Cheryl Kees Clendenon, a California transplant to Northwest Florida. Been in the interior design business for 14 years and learn something new every day! This blog is about the day to day running of a design business and the crazy clients, silly subs, vexing vendors and exasperating employees! Join us for the ride!