I have a little bit of wisdom to share with you today. And that is to never, ever start a design job without a budget. It’s easy to skip over that piece, but it is a recipe for disaster. It happens every single time.

When you don’t have any confirmation about what people are willing to pay for something, and you guess, chances are you’re going to end up doing it over. That means you do the work twice, and you end up with a less expensive product because what you presented caused the client to fall over and faint about it.

One of the things that’s happening is there is no price awareness before you present. If you develop the budget first with them and talk about those things, then when it actually happens, it doesn’t turn into a shock for the client. That’s why it’s essential for you to talk about what things really cost.

I have to tell you that when you ask your client what their budget is, 99.9% of the time, they are going to come back and say they don’t know. Actually, they probably don’t know and likely haven’t thought about it until you asked.

Once they say they don’t know their budget, you can’t really go anywhere. That whole question about budget in your client’s mind translates into asking how much money they have. That’s not what you mean, but that’s what they pick up. Once they go there in their mind, they retreat back, and now you can’t talk about money anymore. And now you’re in trouble because this is expensive stuff you’re doing at any level.

The answer to that is to always focus on what the stuff costs. It’s an easier way to do it, and the client will be happy to talk about what they think a sofa or chair costs. When you talk about those things, you can get some real price agreement. You want to get those numbers out and get them acknowledged so that you have some real things to work on.

Watch the video above, where I delve into the details of how to do a Budget on the Fly and how you can move forward on jobs with this very simple technique. It also works on construction jobs by using an exploratory agreement, because it’s harder to pull the numbers together with just a cheat sheet. It’s a small fee to start with for the exploratory, but when you present the whole big job for remodeling, it will have everything included, and then you can talk about what things really cost. Once you’re into that conversation, the client can tell you what they can or can’t do. Then, your client can then make good decisions about their money, and you know the true and can call out a design fee.

As we’ve been talking about in our education and coaching programs, I know as a designer, you may be tempted to jump into jobs too fast and start the work before you know where you are going. However, you then end up spending double your time, doing things over, and facing no-profit pricing issues. This technique makes your time far more effective, instead of wasting your time or that of your clients.

If you’d like to learn more about utilizing this type of strategic structure for your design business, sign up for a free, fun clarity call with one of our coaches. Find out how we can help you and if one of our education and coaching programs is a good fit for you.

Schedule your call now.

Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.

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