You know I am the champion for designers being paid what they are worth. I believe that we bring huge value and benefits to the people we work with, and the environments that we work on. It is my mission to teach you how to get paid for all your design “genius” hours on the job.
Unfortunately, I have found that there are some hours that are just not going to be covered. Let me tell you why: often the lack of personal boundaries around your work can allow clients to take advantage of you. This shows up in extra on-site visits, add-ons and extra work that is not being billed.
You could alleviate that problem by limiting the number of selections and the number of design meetings in your Letter of Agreement. Learn more here.
Lack of boundaries and job structure often allow you to spend way more time than is necessary to complete a task. Sometimes this is the result of a lack of confidence in your selections and decisions. But sometimes it is just getting lost in your creative side, playing with the design process. Either way, your precious time is lost and cannot be billed or recaptured. Remember the amount of design time spent must be in relationship to value of the item specified.
What is the result of lack of structure, over-spending time, and over-delivering your services?
Staying up late to get your paperwork done and missing out on family or sleep time. The second big result is not making much money for all that effort.
If this is you, don’t fret… you can change this.
Here are simple some strategies that can help you through those time-eating situations.
1) Set Limits for yourself – Promise yourself that you will not just stop in to see the client and answer a question because…”well it is on my way and I want to be nice and help them.”
Nice is a good thing, but when you show up unscheduled, and then don’t charge for your time, you are sending a message to the client that your time is NOT VALUABLE. Keep to your scheduled appointments and immediately bill for additional requested consulting or project management time.
2) Pay attention to time allowed – Promise yourself (and me), that before you go to the design center to choose those fabrics you will look at your letter of Agreement and see how many hours you have allowed to complete that work. If it says two hours, then you have two hours (not 5 or 8 hours) at the showrooms to complete the task. Stick to your plan, do your research and walk out the door on time, fully confident about your decision.
Remember the client is just asking you for a good decision, not a masterpiece. Don’t spend extra hours of your precious time on over-researching a selection that no one will pay for.
3) Do not personally deliver the Living Room pillows because the showroom was gong to charge a delivery fee to do it. If you do this, you have told the client that your time is worth less that the guy who drives the delivery van. You are diminishing your value and the client will most likely expect you to do more and more. Put the delivery charges in the proposal so that everyone gets paid for their job.
Finally a note on over delivering: be clear in your Letter of Agreement about what you are going to do, and exactly where you are going to do it, and when you will deliver on all of the promises you made.
Here is an extra tip: Deliver just a tiny bit more than the client contracted for, say 105% and your clients will think you are gold!
Managing your time within a design job is one of the most important ways that you can maintain your lifestyle and put more money in your pocket.
Want to learn how to do this? Join me in Job Profit Secrets, so you will know how to define your clients experience, establish your boundaries, manage your time and preserve your job profits. Join me in my upcoming webinar series:
Job Profit Secrets: How to Use Your Letter of Agreement to Create Happy Clients and Profitable Jobs That You Love.