On Being Thrifty
Today, I want to talk about being thrifty and saving clients money on design. We’ve all done it at some point, and it usually backfires.
Here’s the thing: It isn’t your job to save your clients money unless they make that specific request.
One of our designers recently met with a prospective client. The interview went well, and after discussing her design goals, they settled on a budget of $100,000. Sounds great, right?
I have to tell you; I raised my eyebrows once I found out it was for four rooms. Something seemed off. Come to find out, the designer proposed doing two high-end rooms and two rooms with items from Wayfair.
The client is living in an apartment temporarily while she builds her house. Once it’s finished, she’ll hire a designer again for that project. So, the designer offered this thrifty solution to save the client money and secure the job.
The problem is that she killed her profit in the process.
Inexpensive items take time and effort without any return on your investment.
You may save the client some money, but let’s be honest, your ideal client is usually not looking to save money. They’re looking for service and value.
Being thrifty with interior design clients may seem like a good idea at first, but once you crunch the numbers, it usually isn’t worthwhile in the long run.
Let’s look at a comparison:
Say you source a $3500 table and plan to spend 15% of the item’s value toward compensation for your time and effort. That comes to $525. Divide that by your rate of $150 per hour, and you’ll see you have 3.5 hours to work on this part of the project. Very reasonable.
If you’re talking about a $350 table, you have $52.50 to put toward your time. That only covers 20 minutes! You’ll never find and purchase a table in that amount of time. Time is money, and you’ll lose it operating like this.
Don’t let attempts to be thrifty for clients steal the profit out of your business. Especially when the client never asked for it in the first place. If a client does request this, my suggestion is to have the client order the inexpensive furniture. That way, the job isn’t cutting into your time and profit.
In this example, the designer created the problem by trying to be helpful and show her value to secure the job.
There’s an essential piece at play here. This designer has a scarcity mindset and assumes everyone else does too. Her ideal clients aren’t interested in being thrifty because they have an abundance mindset. They want white-glove service and are willing to pay for it.
You must learn to let go of scarcity thinking and step into an abundance mindset that aligns with your ideal client.
Are you interested in learning more? I’ll be covering this topic in The Real Deal: Own that Remodeling Job and Get Paid What You’re Worth.
We have a limited number of Tickets for The Real Deal still available – make sure to get yours soon before prices go up!
Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.