As designers, we hear that phrase a lot. Usually it is a potential client telling us that we shouldn’t expect to make much money from their job. Often, we need to educate our clients about what a designer is and is not. What we should not be viewed as are sales people. Instead, we act as consultants.
A good designer will find out what you need and try hard to procure those things for you at the price you decided was reasonable. I really do appreciate that people will forewarn me about their budget constraints, and I commend them for doing so. What they usually don’t realize is that the last thing on my mind is how much money I will put in my wallet as a result of their business. I care about helping my clients get exactly what they want for a price that makes them happy.
To illustrate this point, I want to share a brief story that I experienced personally:
I received a call for an initial consultation from a client that wanted to know what was new in the area of window coverings. They weren’t sure if they wanted to do blinds, shades, shutters, verticals, draperies or any other appropriate treatment, but they had heard of my service and made an appointment. This particular client had recently purchased the house and it was their first home. As a result, they were completely unaware of the costs involved in custom window coverings. I gave them a thorough consultation and provided a total cost for the project. I don’t remember how much the job was, but I do remember that it was an amount that was far beyond what the couple was prepared to pay. They made this fact known to me and told me that they would have to think about it. I knew that they were going to have to go the “ready-made” route, but I felt great about having given them a professional consultation, treated them with dignity and gave them an in-depth understanding of what I bring to the table for their project. What I didn’t expect was for that couple to become my best source of referrals at that time.
I received a phone call later that same week from one of the couple’s friends telling me that even though “they said they couldn’t afford me,” they had been so impressed with our service that they recommended me. That was not the last time I had that experience.
Clearly, you can see that even though your job may be “small,” it still gives us the opportunity to show you how we can help with even the smallest of jobs. Small jobs are actually very good for my business; clients are able to determine if they like working with us enough to work with us on the “big jobs” down the road.
A good design business will be grateful for your work, regardless of the size of your project.