By: Guest Blogger Lissa Rolenc, ASID
As we start our ventures into 2013, it is important to make the right decisions when it comes to spending money on interior design. As industries reshape and restructure to work in the new economy we must analyze and make wise choices that are best for the future of our industry.
By: Guest Blogger Lissa Rolenc, ASID As we start our ventures into 2013, it is important to make the right decisions when it comes to spending money on interior design. As industries reshape and restructure to work in the new economy we must analyze and make wise choices that are best for the future of our industry.
I have heard many horror stories from my clients about how much they have spent with a design firm and not been satisfied. This is hard, because they are hesitant to hire another firm. They ask the question “Why” do this again. I’d like to share my thoughts on why an interior designer brings value, and offer some tips to help you find the right design firm for your organization.
1. Look for Enthusiasm – When the designer is on site they should be excited about the project. They should be taking in all the details and the building as they walk with you. They should express ideas of creativity as they are taking notes. If new construction they should be evaluating the plan and making creative suggestions for the project as if they already have been hired.
2. Do they ask the right questions? – A designer should show up to the site visit already knowing about your brand, they should have already researched your company’s mission and culture. At the meeting they should be asking you details based on their research. As you walk the building, or go through a floor plan, they should be asking programming questions about how your organization operates. What are your biggest issues with maintenance or operations? They should be asking questions that show that they are willing to come up with solutions, not just pick color or finishes.
3. Make sure the contract specifically spells out what you are getting for your money. – Most design firms charge an hourly rate or percentage. Make sure there is a limit on the amount you are going to be charged based on the project size and scope. The best type of contract is one that has a “not to exceed” amount in writing. In the contract it should say exactly what the project is, and what the designer will be delivering to you throughout the process. This all should be detailed by phase. If you do not understand the terms of the interior designer’s process, ask questions. You should be able to terminate the contract at any time with written notice. Make sure this is noted in the contract.
4. Google their name – Google the Interior Designer’s name and see how much is out there about them professionally. Read what you find. If nothing comes up in Google this may be a sign the designer is lacking experience. A personal Facebook page does not count. If they have a LinkedIn account check to see if they have recommendations. Don’t just look at their portfolio, ask them about their work. – Get their story. Let the designer talk about past projects. This will bring out their passion and tell you if they love their profession. Also it will tell you what their favorite projects are and what they like to do. Most of all it will allow them to share stories. A designers story and background can tell you a lot about who they are, and if they are the right person for the job. Finally go with your instinct. Make sure you are a match with their personality and you feel comfortable with them. Watch out for sales people, you should be meeting with the designer that will be working on your project. Interior Design is about building relationships, and if you build a relationship with the right designer, everything else will be successful. Lissa’s design practice is focused on the senior housing industry and she is particularly interested in designing for the emerging “boomer generation”. She can be reached at lissa (at) lissa4design.com Lisa’s website is http://www.lissa4design.com/
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