Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Off to Babylon where the pie don't taste so sweet..





About a month ago the lovely and wonderful Vicente Wolf wrote a post about client behavior. Clients tend to have high expectations from their designers. However, they don't always want to pay for the work required to get from point A to point B. Thus clients are prone to unrealistic, impractical, and often times unfeasible assumptions. They anticipate a storyboard of ideas and a jaw dropping presentation and soon drop their eagerness to move forward when the bill comes in the mail. "what! You want me to PAY for the time you spend to put together a presentation?" After awhile I got used to the response, but I have also become callous in my own expectations.

For those of you new to the design block, the bulk of a design project happens in the beginning stages of a project. Countless hours go into research, space-planning, color analysis, furniture, fabrics, lighting, and sifting through hundreds of books, materials and samples. I have personally invested over 30 hours doing research just to redo one room. I want the space to be perfect in design, concept and function. And like any research it is about experimentation and discovery. Once the materials and ideas are pulled, it needs to be structured and organized in an efficient and methodical order to best show the client the "vision". Countless hours!

Despite years of presentations, it still surprises me when I get the client that refuses to pay for this. They want to meet with two or three designers, to choose the BEST one. That is fine by me, but you will pay me for my TIME. I often try to put it in perspective for them. "Would you go into work an hour early and stay an hour late every day, without pay, because your boss wants to SEE if you are the best one?" Funny enough they always have an answer that favors their point over mine.

I will never understand why people do not respect this profession. I have a college education, in DESIGN, and I earn a living on my TIME. How do you suppose I pay my girls, my rent, my electric bill, my phone bill....?? By giving it away?? Afraid not. In order for me to pay my overhead, and carry the products I carry it takes money. The magical green paper that solves all the world problems. So the next time you want to drag me to Babylon and back, where the pie don't taste so sweet, think twice, because I have grown very weary of travel and Im real tired of bad pie. Remember dear clients, we live in the south where EVERYTHING takes butter, sugar and love to taste better.

11 comments:

  1. Very well put! When we met with Architects to see who we liked to do our design for our lot, we met with three, but no plans were drawn. We just wanted to see their work. Then we made a decision and started to pay. Seems to me that if you ask someone to do something for you, you should expect to pay for it!

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  2. My husband had the same problem in his practice as time is so ephemeral some people just don't grasp its value.

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  3. that is a very good example you give them, i can't believe they try to weasel out of it.

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  4. Good for you for sticking to your guns! I swear sometimes customers think we are in the donation business. In my industry (office products)they are notorious for demanding aggressive pricing and then take 90-120 days to day their bill. Grrrrrrr

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  5. GREAT blog! My sister's a designer in ATL and I think she would love it too. I'm going to send her by! I'll be back!

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  6. AMEN, SISTER! I second all of that!!

    ~Mary

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  7. Perhaps you should make up a small pamphlet that explains exactly this topic when people come to you for design work. When you know what to expect then there are no nasty surprises and if they don't want to pay, then they can try to find a free lunch somewhere else.

    Good luck!

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  8. well said... wish you were here to wave your magic wand over this place ;)

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  9. i hate people like that!! so rude and inconsiderate!!! well said!

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  10. well people actually think designers are like magicians, that they can pop up an idea in a jiffy and most of the times they do, but to make things more nice and beautiful everyone needs a lil time, if only the client could understand that..., hope the situation gets better :)

    take care and keep writing...........

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  11. There are many in this world who expect something for nothing! Great Post!

    Smooches,
    Sassy Chica

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