Should You Give Clients Options?

Interior Designers! Is it good to give your clients multiple options in design presentations? #interiordesignbusiness #designpresentations #cktradesecrets #collaborationovercompetition #interiordesignclients

Something came up last night during our local designer’s dinner that I wanted to share with you. One of the designers had created a package option in which she did all the shopping and none of the procurement, almost like a local e-design.

She shared that she doesn’t provide options for that package, just the single design plan, and was considering doing the same for her full-service clients as well.

We were all shocked - I, because I didn’t realize that providing multiple design plans and options was a regular practice for them and the others because they didn’t realize that not providing the same was something that was possible.

This is why you need a group of designer friends! #collaborationovercompetition

One Design Plan

When I create a design plan for clients I am taking in all the parameters - the aesthetic, house, budget, family, lifestyle, etc - and distilling that into what I consider the *most perfect* plan for the project. There isn’t room for a bunch of options and I considered it a waste of time to provide many when there is *one* best way - as far as I am concerned. I tell clients this process from the beginning (because I am constantly setting up client expectations).

You need to be the authority and not providing options is telling the clients that you did your job and this is the best design plan for them.

Generally, any options I would provide would be second-best or second-choice. My clients deserve the best, not the inferior options.

For projects, I present one main design plan. Occasionally, I will include an option for an item or two if I am having a hard time deciding what is best - but never just to provide an option for options-sake. Mostly the design plan is fully-realized and complete.

During the design presentation the client can always let me know if there is something they don’t like or have questions about.

So why not give clients multiple design plans and options?

  • It’s hard on the designer. You have limited creativity and shouldn’t be wasting time creating three plans when only one may be used or the client will want a combination of the three - resulting in more work.

  • It wastes time. Designers are the authority and when there really is one best way, we shouldn’t waste our time or the client’s pretending otherwise.

  • More time means more design fees.

  • Psychologically, if a client sees three options they wonder how many other options you may not be showing them. They’ll want to know: what else are they missing?!? By providing one design plan, you are telling the client: With my experience & expertise this is the best option for you and your project.

  • Decision fatigue is real.

  • Positioning. You are the expert. You are the authority. Clients are hiring you for that.

Share! Do you give your clients multiple design plans?