There is this one designer I constantly saw at trade events. I could recognize her because she always carried her dog in her arms. That poor thing seemed to have given up and never made a sound or move. Besides being unprofessional, isn’t this a kind of animal abuse?
Sales representatives also have stories of designers behaving badly. They lack respect for other professionals in the trade and often demand to be accommodated. One example is some designers do not draw out tile layouts and calculate quantities. They buy more than necessary (with the clients’ money) and insist on returning the excess. Most tile stores do not accept returns unless the products are defected. It is possible the refund did not get credit back to the clients.
Some people just have problems being prompt. Once I referred an engineer to a residential renovation project. He connected to the homeowner and made an appointment to visit the jobsite. I was shocked when the homeowner called me and said the engineer missed the appointment with no explanation. We were concerned if anything bad had happened. It turned out there was no good reason.
Unprofessional Attitude is what I find most annoying. I believe strong work ethics is as important as skills and experience.
I believe in looking the part when I am on duty. People do judge others by their appearance. I have a strong opinion about designers dressing too casually with tank tops and flip flops. It’s difficult for me to take them seriously. If we happen to be at a jobsite, I am concerned about their safety.
Once I was meeting a designer at home on a weekday morning. To my surprise, when I arrived, she was in her comfortable home clothes with no makeup. I felt uncomfortable like I was the intruder at her home. I was upset that I was not important enough for her to get ready.
Another thing that gets on my nerves is when designers are not prepared. Once on a jobsite, this other interior designer the client had hired for styling consultation showed up with her little dog. She had nothing to take notes with and did not have a measuring tape. She kept borrowing my measuring tape. A few days later, the client called and said the interior designer never sent the furniture plan she promised. Since I was planning the full renovation, I was able to create a plan so the client can keep the project going.
I have so many examples to share with this topic. Stay tuned for Part 2!
In the design and building industry, trade professionals often talk about bad clients. However, we seem to avoid discussing behaviors of our colleagues and teammates we find horrifying. I feel it is important to reveal these “horror stories” so we can all improve.
I will start writing a new series sharing stories from my personal experience. I do not intend to attack my colleagues. My theory is, if we are more aware of possible issues, we can create a better project experience for our clients and teammates.
What’s the Most Common Mistake People Make with Renovation Projects?
Definitely not budgeting enough time and/or money. It always takes longer and cost more.
It’s best to start interviewing design professionals as soon as you are considering a project. Experienced design professionals and help you with determining the budget and time line. Even for a DIY project, paying for a consultation session with a professional can save you time and money.
When it comes to money, I suggest setting aside additional 5% – 10% of your project budget as the “emergency fund”. Almost always, “unforeseen circumstances” occur during the construction process. If it turns out the extra money was not used, it’s yours to keep!
For best results, you should allow a minimum of 2 – 3 months for planning and designing for a small project. Large projects require more time for designing. No matter how experience the designer is, each project is unique and require time for study and research. You also want to explore different options and make the educated decisions.
Designers are expensive. My project is small and I am planning to do part of work myself. My contractor said he had done many similar projects and would help me with selecting products materials.
The truth is you can’t afford not having a designer. Designers are more than having fancy styles and good taste and know how to shop. In order to be professional designers, one has invested years of hard work to gain knowledge, skills, and experience. A good designer guides you through options, organizes the information, and prevents mistakes. Without a designer, you are risking spending more money and time and settling for a less-satisfactory result. You should figure 10% – 15% of your budget for design. You don’t always need a full-service package. Even small projects can use design input. If you can’t afford hiring a designer, you can’t afford the project.
Contractors are not designers. They may be design enthusiasts like yourself, but there is a reason they didn’t choose to work as designers. (Some firms do offer design and build services. In such case, you should check their qualifications for designing and building.) On the other hand, ask questions if a designers offers to act as a general contractor.