The 'Surprises' Your Design Clients Will Not Love
There is nothing better than walking your client through their finished home and surprising them with all the stunning details and incredible design! It's fantastic to know that you've amazed them with your talent and creativity, right?? But there are SOME surprises that clients definitely do NOT love during a project. When things don't go to plan, and you aren't communicating, that definitely can wreck your relationship. Here are the surprises that you should try to avoid at ALL cost in your projects!
1. Budget Surprises
There is nothing worse than going back to your client and having to increase the budget. And if you have to do it MORE than once - that's a disaster! Clients are already nervous about the investment in their homes. So when you go back to them with an increase in the budget that they weren't expecting, it causes trust issues. Not good!! You want to offer your clients a budget that is as close to reality as possible, with a bit of a cushion to keep you from having to ask for more money later in the project. Avoid this surprise as much as you can!
2. Timeline Surprises
Since Covid, there have been delays. That's just reality. I've known some projects to be pushed back weeks because the contractor has had staffing issues due to an outbreak of illness. But as much as possible, you want to stick to your timeline and the deadlines that you've given your clients. Most people can understand delays that are out of your control. But deadlines that are due to your lack of planning or organization are NEVER a good surprise!
3. Surprise Challenges
This is one surprise that is mostly out of your control. You know what it's like to have a wall knocked out, only to find a major leak or issue. Or to have a sofa discontinued weeks after you actually ordered it. I hate surprises like that!! For this issue, it's all in how (and WHEN) you tell your client about the challenge that's the key. Wait too long, and the client is again going to question their trust in you. The BEST way to handle this surprise is to quickly formulate a solution or two and then present the challenge to your client with the solution all ready to go. They'll appreciate that you're honest and upfront, AND that you have everything solved!!
4. A Surprise Photo Shoot
Your clients are always so thrilled after installation day - they're back in their stunning homes and ready to get back to their lives! And then you tell them that they have to stay away for a couple of days so you can come in with a camera crew and take over their home. YIKES. Don't surprise your clients at the very end of a project like that! Of course you should have language in your contract that says you're going to shoot their project after it's all installed, but you should talk about that from the very beginning, too! Like a lot of things, it comes down to communication. If you have great communication with your clients, then you can avoid scary or upsetting surprises!
And to help you get that budgeting issue right, download my FREE Guide to Staying on Budget! It will help you stay on track with your clients' projects!
PS - I have an AMAZING announcement coming SOON that will also help you with your photo shoot issues. It's BIG and I cannot wait to let you know. Stay tuned!!!!
PPS - Don't forget to watch the video on YouTube:)