Clients who want to internet shop continue to plague our businesses and we are all well aware that this is a trend that is not likely to stop in the near future. There are also clients who are highly focused on getting the very best possible price everything that they purchase. There is nothing wrong with that outlook, but from a designer’s viewpoint, this is not the sort of client that you want to be purchasing for.
There is no way that you can always provide the best possible price to your client, as there is always someone selling it somewhere for less than we can buy it for.
What is worse than that? Refunding the price difference to the client after you have ordered the product because they have found a cheaper source on the internet.
Feeling responsible to bring the cheapest price to the table is not part of your duty to your client. It is your responsibility to provide good quality and value for the dollars spent.
You as a designer cannot offer a Walmart-style, cheapest price guarantee. That kind of mindset is not in alignment with what professional interior design is all about.
What do you do about this challenge?
First of all, stop relying on selling product for your primary income source and focus instead on the value you bring to the project as the designer. When you and your clients understand the value of your creativity and the service that you bring to the job, you will be paid well for your contributions.
When you approach your job opportunities with this mindset it is easy for you to choose to have this kind of client do their own purchasing.
Tip #1 – Ask the big question in the first interview. “Do you like to internet shop? Do you like to order on line? Is it important to you to find the cheapest price possible on all your purchases? These kinds of questions invite your potential client to open up and talk about what is important to them. If you are getting “yes” answers then you can make an offer for design services that does not include purchasing.
Tip #2 – Make an offer to create the design and specify the furniture and finishes and include a couple of short review phone calls for her to show you what she found and keep her on track. Also include an offer for additional design time for more consulting calls or reselecting. (You know this will happen because this project is not as easy as your client thinks it is.) This method will be considerably more profitable than trying to purchase for your client.
Tip#3 – Add this statement to your Letter of Agreement. “Purchases made by the designer on behalf the client are made with quality vendors known to the designer. No claims are being made as to the purchase price for merchandise being the least expensive possible. The designer herein makes every effort to provide excellent quality for the dollars spent.”
Spending a little more time up front in your programing, to find out who your client is, and re-thinking the way you structure your design offers, will result in happy clients and you being paid what you are worth.