One of the Best Gifts for Your Clients
We're moving quickly into the holiday season, and that always makes me think of gifts for my clients. One of the best gifts that any designer can give their clients may seem too mundane but is SOOO important, and that's the maintenance binder! WHAT?! A binder full of paper?? Yes! You will make your client's life so much easier for years to come with a gift like that, but only if you include what's really useful. Here's what I always put into the maintenance binders I create - including a few extra special touches!
Make It Special
First, be sure you select a gorgeous binder in a pretty color. Create tabs in complementary colors and use a label maker so the type is neat and professional. You want the binder itself to make an impression. I like to find binders and dividers that actually match the decor of the kitchen or laundry room, since that's where most binders will be stored! (Binders.com has some great leather binders!)
Include the Essentials
A maintenance binder has to have the essentials. But what are they?! There are 3 key things that should be in every version: manuals, warranties, and receipts. The manuals should be for any appliance or machinery that's part of the home - they'll help a client if she forgets how to reset the clock on the fridge, for example. Warranties are key if anything breaks down, and that's why she may also need the receipts. Use plastic sleeves to organize all of those books and papers so they don't fall out.
Think like a homeowner when it comes to these binders - what would you REALLY want to have in yours? I always make a paint scheme for my clients, so they know exactly what paint color is in every room. That way they can make any necessary touch-ups if there are chips or accidents - and don't forget to include the sheen you used. I also include cleaning instructions for all rugs and upholstery. Life happens, and your clients will thank you every time they need to clean up a spill from a child or pet.
Keep in Contact
One way that I pay it forward for any of my favorite tradespeople is I include sleeves of business cards. My client will now have access to my favorite plumber, electrician, and HVAC specialist. But I go above and beyond that to also include great lawn services, housekeepers, pest control, dog groomers and more! It's a nice way to help my client, but it also shows my local tradespeople that I'm here to support them, too!
Is your client new to the neighborhood? Then add in extra pages for the best local restaurants, the dry cleaner you love, and a list of great salons, veterinarians, car mechanics, and more. Make your clients feel really welcome - you can even include a few gift cards for things like the local coffee shop. Other clever ideas include pages with some before and after shots of the home, renderings of the rooms, and other detailed drawings. These help your client celebrate all the hard work you did together!
Speaking of binders, do you keep a binder about your client?! My client binders have actually paid off for me and led me to new work with past clients! Download my FREE Guide to Organizing a Client Binder here to see how that works. See how much fun it is to get a great gift?!