What happens when you ask a potential client for their project budget?
You know ahead of time what is answer will be because you’ve heard it a hundred times at least.
They’ll say, “I don’t know… or they actually do know and but don’t want tell you because they believe if you knew you would spend it all.
Sometimes a client might say, “ I don’t have a budget, if I like it I will buy it.” This person doesn’t yet understand how expensive high quality furnishings can be and needs to be educated.
And then there’s the nice lady who, while standing in her empty 16’ x 32’ formal living room, tells you with a big smile that her budget for furnishing this huge space is $8,000.
From the client’s side, these statements are often the truth. They really don’t know what the project they are wanting will cost. But if you stop there and accept those answers… you haven’t done your job.
If you start designing without this budget information you could be going down the wrong path and end up presenting a design the client cannot afford, or worse yet, a design that isn’t up to the quality level that the client wanted.
Either way, you’re going to have to do it over at your expense and this really sin’t a pretty picture.
So what do you do about this problem?
You can get a budget from a client in about 15minutes in the first meeting if you know how to ask the right questions.
Here are some tips to get you started.
First thing is to ask the for clients permission, “I can help you figure out your budget in just a few minutes. Would you like to do that?” This works every time and gets you a big “Yes!”
Then start calling out, piece by piece, the furniture you’ll probably need to complete the room. At each individual piece, ask what they would be comfortable paying, making suggestions where needed and asking for agreement.
Write these items and prices down as you go, naming all the items you could possibly need in the room and the total your list, Voila! Budget!
Is there more to this process? Sure
Does it really work? Yes
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