You’ve now had an opportunity to meet with a number of decorators and designers, and you’ve decided that one of them is a perfect match for you and your project – what’s next?
The last step is to request that the selected design professional submit a proposal that provides the following information:
A brief summary that reflects the designer’s take on the project – this ensures that everyone is on the same page at the start of the project. If, when you said “kitchen remodeling,” you meant “updating and refreshing” – but the designer interpreted it as “take it down to the studs, and further if necessary” – now is the time to know it.
Contact Julie Risman to discuss your San Antonio kitchen remodeling needs.
A brief summary of the decorator’s ideas – you are hiring them (at least in part) for their ideas and sources – so, what are they bringing to the party?
- What do they think about your ideas?
- How will they improve upon them?
- What closely-held resource(s) will they call upon to make your home décor unique?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with someone who proposes to execute your ideas verbatim – as long as their compensation is appropriately discounted to reflect their lack of creativity. But if you’re expecting an artist of interiors, and they are proposing to be a glorified “go-fer” – now is the time to know it.
A brief summary of the budget – the designer already knows the bottom-line number from your interview discussion, but what are their high-level ideas for using that money?
- How much for furniture, lighting and artwork?
- How much for materials?
- How much for labor and installation?
It’s not reasonable to expect a detailed budget at this point, but they should have at least some idea of where the money will go – or be able to explain why not.
A brief summary of the timeline – the designer already knows the deadline as well as the budget, but what are some of the significant milestones along the way?
- What are the key dependencies to bringing the project in on-time?
- What decisions do you need to make – and when – in order not to delay completion?
It’s not reasonable to expect a day-by-day calendar at this point, but they should have at least some idea of how long the major phases of the project will take – or be able to explain why not.
Be sure that seasonality has been addressed. For example, a project like yours might typically take three weeks. That doesn’t mean that if you start on December 10th, the project will be complete in time for your New Year’s Eve gala. The last ten days of December are generally a total loss – that’s seasonality. Ask what impact – if any – the school calendar will have on your project. Spring Break isn’t only for the kids…
A brief summary of how the decorator will charge for their services – you should already know this by now – but it’s a good idea to have this information in writing, and included in this proposal. This protects the design professional as much as you, and requires that both of you revisit this topic in the context of the work to be done.
A formal acceptance of the assignment – each of you should sign and date the proposal, and be sure that you both get copies.
- It protects you by verifying that you have read the proposal, and are acknowledging that the designer correctly shares your understanding of the project.
- It also protects the decorator by ensuring that you have read the proposal, noted any caveats that might have documented, and have accepted their fee schedule.
Is this a contract? Not really. But from this point forward, there really should be no excuse for misunderstandings or miscommunications.
>> contact Julie Risman to discuss your San Antonio interior design needs.