The key to success in any project is preparation – the better you’re prepared, the better your interiors are going to be!! My favorite way to stay on top of my game is to start out with every single thing I can learn about my client. After all, you’re creating a home for your client to live in, so they have to be pleased. There are 5 questions that are always at the top of my list when I meet a prospective client, and they’ve saved me a lot of heartache and money over the years! Let’s take a look…
1. How do you live in your home?
This is SUCH an important question! You want to find out how the client and her family use each room, which spaces are more popular, and which ones just don’t get any love. There are, of course, a lot of follow-up questions that can spin off of this one, like “Do your kids like to do homework in the kitchen?” Or ” Which room is the one where the family watches TV?” Function is just as important as the design, and this one question will start getting you the information you need!
2. What do you love about your house currently?
You want to know if there are things the client would never want to change – especially before you design a workaround that now won’t work at all! And you want to be sure that she and her family get to keep what they really love about their spaces.
3. What issues or special needs do you want to solve?
The answers to this question are key! You may find out that she needs more storage for her pet’s food. Or maybe that her kids need a space to hang out with their friends. Or you might even get into more serious needs, like handles instead of doorknobs because her husband has arthritis. You’re going to be the hero when you give her solutions to issues in the home!
4. What is your timeline?
You know this is one of two questions that can make or break the entire project, right?! We’ll get to the second one in a minute, but this is where reality often gives your client a major wake-up call. Of course you want to deliver a gorgeous home as quickly as possible! But you won’t be able to give her a make-over by Christmas if you’re only starting in November! You need to be VERY honest with your client about what can and can’t happen within a specific time frame and this is where it starts!
5. What is your budget?
This is the big one – the one question we don’t want to ask and they don’t want to answer! And because a client will always try to avoid telling you what their budget REALLY is, I will always follow this question with a couple of others. One of my favorites is: “Where does a $10,000 sofa fall on your scale of what’s expensive or inexpensive?” Nothing gets a reaction more quickly than throwing out numbers like that, and the reaction will tell you everything. I’ve had people completely freak out at the idea of a $10,000 sofa. And I’ve had people say, “I think we spent about $8,000 on the last one, so that makes sense.” This is where you need complete honesty again, or the project is going to have issues.
Do you have set questions that you always ask? How do you get to the heart of what really matters? Download my FREE ROI Design Budget Worksheet to help you get your hands around that big issue!