A friend of mine recently engaged the services of a designer/architect for some modest alterations to her home. What started out as an exciting project, quickly turned to a series of headaches and frustrations that could have so easily been avoided.
Having had a fair idea of the outcome she wanted from the design work, my friend told me that she was fascinated to observe that the designer lacked any urge to challenge her, or enquire about her use of the space or ask any questions that might fuel the brief. In fact, the only question she did ask was what the budget was. Now at this point perhaps she should have followed her gut and declined to engage any further but for one reason and another she proceeded.
What followed was an underwhelming design that lacked any of the elements that she had communicated were important and a whole barrage of others that were both in-practical and far too avant-guarde for the space. But perhaps the most disappointing outcome of all was the designers reaction to my friends lack of enthusiasm. Clearly this was a showcase piece for her portfolio so wow factor was a must and my friends needs appeared to be secondary. After much eye rolling (hers not my friends) and another 3 sets of designs she relinquished and completed the design – just as first communicated, nothing more, nothing less.
Now it is possible that my firend was her “nightmare customer” but I’d like to think that wasn’t the case. The reality is that my friend paid several thousand dollars for drawings and a delayed project simply because she proceeded to engage with a designer that she didn’t really gel with from the get go.
Next time you engage the services of a designer, take some time to get to know each other and ask yourself honestly if you really see yourself working well together – it could just save you some long term headaches and hard earned dollars.