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Question:

I completed our “budget on the fly” process with my client and she agreed to a reasonable budget. Thanks Terri!

Now I am showing her my product choices that stays within budget, but she keeps picking out things that are way too expensive.

What do I do? I am afraid that when I present all the final costs I will be so far over the agreed upon budget that she won’t buy the job.

Help…

Answer:

This is actually a good problem!  You can use her penchant for picking out expensive items to your advantage quite easily.

Think of this as a budget on two levels; one that is on target (yours), and one that is far more, but includes all of her “I love it, I must have it” finds.

You are obligated as a professional to produce a good design for the agreed upon budget so make sure you have a good specification for every item that is price appropriate.

For her splurges, add an option column on your budget sheet for the item or items that she loves that are over budget (we use an excel sheet, see Purchasing for Profit in our Design Biz Tool Box for “how to” info).

This separates her choices from yours, and lets her make the choice to go over budget and have what she really wants. It is fine to encourage her to purchase the things that give her pleasure and make her happy. You want her to love this room!

Remember you are in charge of being a good steward of the budget, not in charge of managing her money for her. Those are two very different responsibilities.

This is a win-win situation for you because, in the end, you completed the job on budget.  You made the design better and more personal by allowing her to have what she really wanted, and you made more profit or purchasing fee on the more expensive items.

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