I can't stress this enough. Budget rules! You can have the best ideas in the world but if your client can't afford it then those great ideas will go nowhere.
One of the keys to being a successful interior designer is being able to work to a budget.
Here are some tips to help you with this.
- Lists - yes a boring list. Get your client to write down everything they want in priority order. This way you can focus on incorporating into the design what is most important and spend the money wisely. They need to be realistic and know that they won't get the entire wish list but will get the most important things.
- Shop around. Know your products and how much they costs to install. Some items may be cheaper to purchase but cost more to install. So you don't achieve a saving, sometimes it can end up costing you more for a lesser quality finish.
- Be realistic at the beginning when you set a budget. Don't stretch people too far at the front end as lets face it - any job, be it a new home or a renovation always has additional costs that come up along the way no matter how well you plan. You don't want your clients to feel uncomfortable and worried that they can't pay to get things finished.
- Leading on from above. When setting a budget always factor in a contingency. Depending on the complexity a 5%, 10% or sometimes a 15% allowance over and above what you believe it will cost. That will be your true budget.
- Let your clients know up front if you don't think they can achieve what they want with their budget. They may not thank you for it, but better that than getting half way through a job and then telling them. That is not good for business!
- Most of all think creatively. Don't always take the easy option. There are more ways than one to achieve a result. You are a designer and you need to think that way - look at what you want to achieve and plan how you can do that, it is sound design practice to price an option three different ways before you build it or purchase it to be able to find out the most cost effective option.
Another article on budgeting for DIY jobs