Today we are talking about a process for getting jobs done. When taking on new things with excitement, like a design job, we tend to jump in head first because we love the creative aspect. While that’s fun, it often leads to job delays and last-minute scrambling.
Starting with a plan will create a much better experience for you and your client.
You’ll spend less time on the job and get better results.
So let’s talk more about planning.
You should first identify what you want to get out of the job. You have a creative vision for the space and an agreement with the client detailing the project, but what do you want beyond that?
Would you like to photograph the result and publish it?
Do you want to make a specific amount of profit? I highly recommend setting profit goals for your projects.
Maybe you’d like to open a new account with a vendor you’ve been eyeing.
Perhaps you want to get the job done in a short timeframe so you can take a family vacation!
These are all great goals to keep in mind at the start of a job, and putting them on paper is vital for accountability.
The next step is mapping out your process. How are you going to get the job done? Don’t jump in without a plan because you’ll inevitably miss something important and probably lose sleep in the process.
Now let’s be real. Your plan will be part daydream and part reality. The daydream is mapping out the project as if it will work exactly how you want it.
How many presentation meetings will you need to get to purchasing? What is the sequence? You’ll need a programming meeting and then a meeting to discuss schematics.
How much time do you need between these meetings, and what do you need to do?
Presenting a plan this way gets clients to follow you instead of the other way around. When you’re clear about how you work, you won’t worry about what the client will do.
Now you’re ready to create a timeline. When you get the letter of agreement signed, you should set a date for the programming meeting. Allow yourself enough time to complete all the tasks you’ll need to complete before the schematic meeting. This should include things like developing a base footprint and a space plan, creating a concept, pulling colors and fabrics, reviewing the budget, and more. Then you’ll need to decide if you’ll have another complete presentation meeting or go straight to purchasing.
Since you’re fee-based, you’ll divide your hourly rate into the project fee to determine how many hours you have to complete the job in order to actually earn your $150 per hour rate.
Once you know how many hours you’ll spend on the job, you can start allocating time for each task. I like to plan out 80% of my hours and leave the other 20% as a cushion. I get extra profit if I finish early, but I’ve built in spare time if something comes up.
I recommend putting time blocks onto your calendar to complete your studio work.
This is how you end up being well-paid and maintain boundaries around your time.
The last step is figuring out who you can delegate to.
Outsourcing tasks to subcontractors can be beneficial when you start to get busy and is an excellent alternative to hiring employees. You can establish relationships with people willing to take on extra work when you’ve got more on your plate than you can handle.
A CAD draftsman is a great place to start because they’re affordable, and it helps speed up the job.
You can also call the reps you buy from the most and explain what you need for this job. They will send you to tear sheets and do research for you. It’s their job to sell that product, and they’re happy to help.
If you need a bunch of labor takeoffs, you can give your subs a heads-up to get that started.
And if you have an assistant, they can do pricing for you.
Get everyone involved in the beginning, so you feel supported throughout the process.
You’re not alone.
Utilize these relationships and start implementing this planning process to help you get jobs done more efficiently and profitably.
Watch the video above for more tips on getting jobs done faster and better.
And, if you’re interested in learning more about strategies and systems to streamline your business, book a clarity call with one of our coaches.
Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.