Welcome to part 1 of my 4 part series: What It’s Like Working With Full Service Designer. If you are interested in learning more about my E – Design service click here. There is A LOT that goes on during a full service project. You can expect to be in each others lives for a good chunk of time – but don’t worry, during most of that time (depending on how involved you prefer to be) you are just sitting back and enjoying the show.
My Design Process
I have my full service design process broken down into 4 phases:
1 – Consultation
3- Design Presentation + Design Implementation
For today’s post we will be talking all things consultation. For example, I will be addressing those questions such as “What goes on during the consultation?” “What do I need to do to prepare for the consultation” and the biggest one… “Why do I charge for a consultation”. So let’s get into it friends!
So, let’s start from the very beginning….every client project starts with a discovery call. A discovery call is a quick (and complimentary) 15 minute phone chat where I will just simply ask you a few questions regarding your project such as time frame, investment, and project goals.
If the project seems to be a good fit we will go ahead and schedule your 2 hour in home consultation. The cost for the consultation is $150.00, which includes our 2 hours together as well as travel. If you live outside of the 30 mile radius there is an additional fee.
Preparation for Consultation
After the consultation is scheduled and the invoice is paid in full I will send you over my welcome packet as well as a “Getting To Know You” questionnaire. My welcome packet explains (in a nut shell) who I am, services that I offer, what to expect, business hours and contact information. Thorough completion of the “Getting To Know You” questionnaire is essential for me to have a really good understanding of your functional needs and style preferences. It gets my creative juices flowing so I can offer lots tailored advice during our 2 hours together.
I always suggest my client’s start a fresh new Pinterest board geared towards their new project(s). You can send me the link before our consultation but we will likely review it again during our time together to really pin point what it is about each inspirational image that you are drawn to (example – is it the paint color on the cabinets, the fabric or wallpaper, or the layout of the furniture?)
As you can see – the most work that YOU will have to do is up front. It is so important for me to nail down your style, the functional needs for your home, as well as get to know you and your family. 🙂 As I mentioned initially – full service interior design is a longer term commitment together…and I love making beautiful friendships as much as I love making beautiful homes. You can be involved in the design process as much as you would like – but initially it will require a little bit of work in deciding what you like and don’t like in terms of style. Sometimes client’s know exactly what they like – they just don’t have the time to get there. Other’s need a little help figuring it out – which is A – OKAY too…that is what I am for. And some clients are drawn to my signature design style of eclectic pattern mixing + traditional elegance.
Here is a sneak peak of the “Getting To Know You” questionnaire. It should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Another important ask I have of my clients is to do a deep dive into investment. How much money do you want to invest in your project. During our consultation we will have a discussion regarding your investment desires and whether or not it is manageable within the scope of work. I welcome any and all budgets – however, I may recommend my e – design service rather than my full service in order to stick to your budget. The initial steps of the design process is still the same, however after step 2 – create…the baton is handed over to you to complete the ordering and installation.
If my client’s are really struggling to determine their investment amount – or if they are on separate pages, I will often give them my investment worksheet. The goal for this worksheet is to come up with a range of what you would be willing to invest for each item that will go into your new space (example – how much are you comfortable spending on a rug, coffee table, ect). This not only will help alleviate any “sticker shock” on how much quality furniture and accessories can cost when all totaled up, but also helps me see how you rate each piece in terms of importance. Click the link below to download my investment worksheet.
Alright, the big day is here! Consultation day! Here is what you can expect from our 2 hours together. I take advantage of every minute together to ensure it is full of impactful information/advice tailored just for you. I treat this consultation the same for every client. Not every client turns into full service after our consultation – so I ensure to pack in as much as I can while we are together!
2 Hour Consultation
We will start with a tour your entire home. Regardless if you are wanting to just focus on one area – getting a tour of your entire home allows me to see how you live in your home as well as potentially offer advise on areas that may not be priority at the moment – but may be down the road. Please, no worries on feeling embarrassed of areas that you aren’t proud of. TRUST ME – that is what I am here for. 🙂 Not only will we tour the home – but we will chat about each space regarding how it is working and not working – what you like and don’t like.
After the tour we will sit down to discuss priority areas in more depth. What specific questions do you have…what options have you been considering…what would be your ideal situation. We will review your Pinterest boards and/or any inspiration images you have sent – and I will share ideas and suggestions that I have as well. We will review my welcome packet and I’ll answer any questions that you have.
So to answer the question of “why do I charge for my consultation”. Well, I strive to provide meaningful feedback during our time together. I strive for my clients to feel like they have some clarity and/or ideas to move forward even if they aren’t able to move forward with hiring me for full service (or e – design services).
Design Fee and Scope of Work Proposal
Within 48 business hours of our consultation I will follow up with a design fee proposal which includes a detailed scope of work for your project and design fee to move forward with my design services. I will often include other areas that we addressed during our consultation and client’s can scale back to what they want to focus on now if they aren’t ready to tackle other areas quite yet.
Your proposal is laid out very clearly in exactly what you are paying for with my design fees. I charge hourly – but determine the amount of hours it will take up front to complete each task so you know exactly what you are getting. For example –
Basement Living Room
Floor plan with furniture layout
Specify color palette
Select all furnishings, accessories, accents
Design/Elevations for built in
Digital presentation board with all key design elements
Total hours: ___
Prepare purchase orders
Other admin functions
Total hours: ____
Coordination with contractor
Coordination with electrician
Coordination with drapery workroom
Total hours: ____
Shopping/selecting final accessories
Coordination with delivery for install
Install day styling
Final walk through
Total hours: ____
This process eliminates the unknown for you as a client. You know up front what you are paying for. I’ll explain what procurement, coordination and installation all means in the future posts in this series.
Design Fee Payment
Once the proposal is approved and signed by my client I require 50% to be paid up front in order to move forward with designs. (this covers my time to complete the actual designs as well as any coordination with trade people during this time). The remaining 50% is due after our design presentation meeting.
I typically do not complete measurements during our initial consultation (unless a very small project), as I do not want to take away from our time together. If you would like to proceed with full service interior design I will schedule a measurement meeting where I (or someone from my team) will come out to your home to complete measurements of your space(s). This meeting does not require active participation from you as the client – only to let us into your home to grab these measurements.
Design Presentation Meeting
Another meeting I schedule right off the bat is the design presentation meeting! I like to schedule this meeting right away as it gives my clients something to look forward to as well as keeps the project timeline accountable. The design presentation meeting is often scheduled for 3 – 4 weeks after the scope of work proposal is signed (dependent on designer’s schedule and size of project).
Stay tuned for parts 2 – 4 of my “What it’s like working with a full service designer” series where I’ll share in depth depth the next steps in my design processes!