Starting Your Career as an Interior Designer: The Business of Interior Design
It happens to all of us at one time or another. The fabric we had on reserve and just ordered is now on back order and will be delayed for another eight weeks. What to do?
A – reselect and hope the client doesn’t notice
B – Don’t say anything to anyone and pretend it hasn’t been delayed
C – Notify the client of the change and offer to help them reselect should they decide the wait is too long
I certainly hope you selected C. This is not the time to put your head in the sand. It is a great opportunity for you to strut your stuff. As a professional we know there is always more than one solution to our design challenges and the re-selection of fabric can, in some instances, improve your already beautiful design. And it’s not just fabrics. Furniture can be delayed because of cutting schedules. Accessories delayed because the vendor runs out of a certain trim or finial. All the things that can delay the delivery of goods to clients. This also points out the need for your office to maintain some sort of process of follow up and management of goods on order.
During our weekly staff meetings we discuss the status of each client we’re working on at the time. We run through all open proposals, take a look at each and let the other staff members know what the status is of each order attached to that proposal. Should we discover a delayed shipment date or some other reason for delay it goes back to the designer to decide how to handle the problem. It’s important to inform the client as soon as possible. It’s also a great time to make contact with the client in this time we call “the twilight zone” of the process. We contact our client once or twice a month with a status report on the goods ordered. A great way to touch base and an opportunity to find out if other items might be needed and give you a chance to create an add-on sale. So, there are those times when being upfront with your client is the best choice. Actually, it’s always the best choice.