THE MEETING THAT MADE ME FEEL LIKE A DENTIST, NOT A DECORATOR
Tensions were high.
Beads of perspiration appeared around their hairline as they anticipated my next move. Both speculation and uncertainty filled the air so thick you could cut it with a knife. Sounds like a scene from a divorce mediation, negotiations of a corporate transaction, or perhaps the start of a root canal, doesn’t it? However, what I’m describing is the setting of a client appointment that took place recently. They weren’t my first encounter and probably won’t be the last.
Just moments before I laid out lofty visions for the home. Invisible pearls were being clutched and I even saw stars in their eyes. Nevertheless, our friendly exchange came to a defining silence when I mentioned the word budget.
“What is your decorating budget for this project, ” I asked.
The client flat out refused to give me a number. I could tell they had a number in mind, but just didn’t want to give it up. It was like pulling a stubborn tooth.
“So what’s your reservation for disclosing a number?”
The only reason I was able to uncover was that they were afraid of limiting my creativity if they gave a budget number in the beginning.
That fear couldn’t be farthest from the truth.
Most people have no idea what interior design services cost which is one of the main reasons why I now include pricing on my website.
Everyone has a budget, even the rich have limits are on what they want to spend for products and services. So since when did budget become the b-word?
Here’s an example I often use when trying to tweeze a decorating budget number from a potential client. If you were going to a cocktail party you know whether you want to spend $300 or $3000 on a dress. The dollar amount you decide to spend dictates where you shop, right?
The same example applies to interior design.
If a client refuses to disclose a budget number, there’s a great probability that I can spend hours and hours designing a space that could ultimately be outside of their price range. Those hours spent translate into dollars wasted. In this business, time is money.
Let’s be honest. I’m not here to encourage anyone to spend money they don’t have. Considering that 90% is my business is referral-based, that wouldn’t be good for my reputation. If the client’s budget is too low for what they want, I will make suggestions on how to trim the cost to get the same look. Or I would encourage them to do just a few things that will improve the current look of their home. Lastly, if they aren’t in a rush, then we will delay gratification until they can save enough money to get what they really want.
Before our meeting ending the homeowner happily became a client and I was able to get busy designing a home she will absolutely love. Don’t you just love a happy ending?
It’s really that simple.
So next time when someone asks, “What’s your decorating budget?” You don’t have to disclose those entire amount, but say something.
Having a budget gives you options. However, you will never know what your individual options are until you work out your finances. Decide what’s comfortable for you.
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image courtesy – Red Sky Dental Spa