Have you ever been working on a design job and somehow along the way you feel like you’ve been turned into your clients personal shopper? Or been told by the client that your presence is not needed at a particular meeting (when you know you need to be there)? Or that they don’t want to pay for project management (observation) but expect you to show up on the job site and answer the contractors’ questions?
All of these scenarios have happened to me – jobs wildly out of control, my time being swallowed up by dancing to other people’s agendas and feeling resentful because the clients have been taking advantage of me.
Why does this happen?
Because I didn’t understand how to position myself properly. I didn’t take charge as the expert in the beginning and lay out exactly how I’d planned to solve the client’s problem. (It is a problem, otherwise they would have solved it themselves.)
So, what is going on here?
The root cause of out of control design jobs is not setting clear boundaries and expectations with the client when you first contract for the job.
It starts when you just take payment for a few hours of time and jump into the job trying to sell a piece of furniture or two to get paid. This is a scary situation for your client because they have no clue how long it will take you and what it will cost in the end.
The trouble escalates when the client reacts to the scary situation of trying to control the job cost by excluding you from important decisions or by making purchases on their own. This obviously results in lack luster design, less than happy clients and a job not worth photographing.
The solution is to charge a fee to solve the entire problem.
At first it can seem frightening to present a big price tag for your own services, but when you link your fee to the process you’ll use to get the client the results they want and the budget they have agreed upon, it’s actually pretty easy.
Setting boundaries in your Letter of Agreement includes outlining the number of selections you’ll provide, design meetings, shopping trips and project observation trips you’ll conduct is the other key to successfully managing a job and staying in control of your time.
Since you and your client has agreed upon what you’ll be doing, when you’ll do it and what it’ll cost, the behind the scenes manipulation disappears and the result is happy clients and profitable jobs.
If you want to learn more, join me on the upcoming Designer Secrets Master Class Webinar: Design “Rock Star” Secrets Exposed! next Wednesday, June 8th.
Trust me – if you’re ready to be a rock star designer (in every way possible) then you don’t want to miss this FREE training webinar!