Hello guys,

It’s going to be another honest Blog post from inside of Interior Design work. I hope practical recommendations will be helpful to homeowners and young designers.  

As a designer, I find it’s important to work with every Client using individual approach and it makes every design project like a little story, where with many Clients you become friends. All my Clients know that they can call me 27/7, even on Sunday and late evening and I will find time to discuss whatever they find important. I know from business model it’s crazy and shouldn’t be so (somebody might say 😉 but for me it’s important for my clients to know that I Care. That’s exactly what I want to focus on in this blog. 

When we finish design concept and all specifications for contractors are ready, at this stage we usually know who will do Project coordination. Very often Residential Clients prefer to finish it themselves at own pace but there are number of Clients with bigger projects and with Commercial properties ask me to step up and lead project to finish.  AlenaCDesign work example

In any case, as soon we involve more contractors and professionals, our little story with Client becomes a whole Little Life with up and downs. There are two main conditions to call project successful: It was finished in Time and within Budget.

It can be tough if you are restricted in both. Although, to have project successful, it’s important to focus on finding contractors who Care! 

Project planning, setting schedule for each stage, finding contractors and collect quotations for each specific work – all these should be done before any work commence! Don’t skip planning, it is a key to avoid mistakes, misunderstanding with contractors and more likely you finish project in time. It’s true that it’s very important to hire right people and if you missed this part, READ in previous Blog: Your Ideal Contractor. 

Last time I avoided this topic but I think it’s important to share what kind of professionals I avoid to work with or reasons why I keep looking for opportunity to meet new ones. Each new contractor can be considered as a Business person as well as Individual. And I believe that even thinking business and expect to be charged fair fee, it’s more benifitial to work with people who Care.

 I believe in any relationships (business or private) there are three fundamental elements: TRUST, RESPECT, UNDERSTANDING. If one is missing, relationships fall apart. 

1. TRUST

Yes, I’m talking about Small & Big lies!

You know the saying “The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie”? 

Working in a tight time frame, it’s important to understand when person will be on site. Sometimes circumstances change and you always allow several days for this (as an emmegency). Otherwise, it all can be negotiated and agreed in advance. Working with people you rely on them and expect to be sincere. Unfortnately, there are exceptions. I met several different contractors who prefer to “jump on work” somewhere else or “work for best friend” and then they leave you with lie….. Simple stories from “I was sick” or more santimental “my wife got me get away surprize, can’t cancel”. Please don’t think I’m being very suspicious, it’s just these people have been caught working somewhere else when their told story was different. Can you work with person, you can’t trust?…. – I don’t think so.  

Caring Project Management via atlantic-umbrella.com 

Watch for ‘little lie’ signs from the beginning because Pro’s who does this regularly is like a chronical desease, it’s always there. 

Another important thing to mention is Money – I always make sure that jobs fairly priced and contractors get paid in time. Talking about fairly, I mean in ‘both ways’ – Not underpriced for contractor and not Overpriced for Client. To solve this dilemma, it’s great when pricing is trasparent, particularly for big scoup of work. We never negotiate to get anything for free but to understand what client pays for is one of the ways to establish trustworthy relationships.  

2. RESPECT

I’m sure you met one or two people, who are EXPERTS. I’m not talking about qualified, experienced and skilled people. It’s Pros who knows better than the others 🙂 They teach you, teach other contractors, teach your client. They don’t collaborate because they know better and they are quick to judge everyone else’s work. Althought, they are ok if you hire for straight forward work but they can be hard in collaboration with other contractors. One typical characteristic of this types – not easy-going and have poor sense of humour 🙂

Caring Project ManagementVia Instagram @earlthegrump  

3. UNDERSTANDING

I think it’s important ability to reach understanding, agreement and very often through work negotiation. Many contractors prefer to visit work site to provide a quote. But initial quote and scoup of work might be a subject to a change. Unfortnately, not all contractors like to come back to discussion and especially to participate in negotiation. Most of the times, we need to collect all quotes before we know where we are with final budget, especially if it’s a big scale project. Sometimes, we have to review design and plans in the matter to fit into Client’s financial expectation. Therefore, if contractor isn’t interested in a project as a process then it’s ok and it’s good to know at early stage.

Caring Project ManagementImage credit: The Clinton Street Theater 

I didn’t put CARE as essential characteristic for contractor but very desirable! I think it’s a shame when people work Business-for-business and money-for-wealth. When professional can offer a little bit, you get what you can’t buy – kindness and sympathy. This contractor is priceless and pleasure to work with! They are like diamonds and that’s why I keep looking for more to work with 🙂 If you think you could add something more into my list, please let me know about it or share your thoughts in a comment! I would like to know about your experience! 

Best of Luck!

Alena C