Here we are in week two of 10 Things Interior Designers Won't Tell You, based on a little article I found online. Start at Part 1 if you'd like to read more about the article that began the series.
IT'S NOT IN MY INTEREST TO HUNT FOR BARGAINS
Designers may know where the best deals are, but that doesn't mean they'll lead you to them. For one, they don't tend to see that as their job. But in many cases, there may be more to a designer's reluctance to bargain-hunt than that. After all, if he's working on a commission basis, he stands to make more when you spend more.
The same is true when it comes to finding outside suppliers, from upholsterers to painters. Designers usually work with their own team of handpicked "resources," and the designers often collect commissions or fees for the referrals. Sarah Jenkins, an interior designer and co-residential chair for design specialties for ASID, says members of that group are supposed to tell their clients about all compensation they get from outside suppliers. But even if you know beforehand, you may find these outsiders are high-priced. You may be able to assemble your own qualified team for much less.
What can you do? If your designer gets a percentage of everything he buys, consider insisting on a sliding scale. That is, the more the designer spends, the more his percentage cut is reduced. If you're dealing with antiques, you can always have them appraised independently before buying. This helps make sure that neither you nor your designer is being taken for a ride.
As for outside labor estimates, ask the designer for one or two less expensive possibilities. They may not guarantee top-of-the-line workmanship, but that might not matter if, for example, you're decorating a child's room that'll have to be redone in a few years anyway.
Lets get into that very first paragraph, "Designers may know where the best deals are, but that doesn't mean they'll lead you to them. For one, they don't tend to see that as their job." As far as I am concerned, it is my job to get my clients the best deal, though the best deal may not always be the cheapest.
Designers work hard to build relationships to get their clients a good deal as well as the best quality and workmanship. They use the same circles for business over and over again, if a vendor does a good job and goes above and beyond for my client, I will continue to be loyal to that vendor even if they aren't the cheapest because I know I can count on their quality, workmanship, lead times, customer service, and shipping. This could in fact save the client money, time, and headaches down the line. So often the old adage, "you get what you pay for" comes true in these situations. By working with an untested team, the designer will most likely be spending more time vetting and conveying design details to the new unfamiliar team. It would be like visiting a new doctor, new dentist, new gynecologist, new dermatologist, and new dietician - they have to learn about you, your medical history, and there are dozens of pages of paperwork to fill out, plus you have to decide if they are a fit for you in practice and personality. So don't be surprised if your designer is not open to outside vendors.
The second point in that very first paragraph is, "But in many cases, there may be more to a designer's reluctance to bargain-hunt than that. After all, if he's working on a commission basis, he stands to make more when you spend more." This is probably true in more instances that I would like to admit, but this goes back to the point of this series, for clients to educate themselves and for designers to be honest and transparent. So if you have a budget set at the beginning this concern about "make more when you spend more" falls to the side because you know what is budgeted, the designer knows what is budgeted, and you feel comfortable with your designer.
If you want your designer to hunt down bargains on Craigslist, Ebay, or estate sales, expect to pay for their time. In reality, searching for bargains could take a lot more time and cost more money in the end. For example, instead of visiting the designer's favorite antique store, where the designer is certain to find that perfect dresser for the room, the client insists that the antique store charges too much for the curated pieces in their collection. So instead, the client wants to look on Craigslist, which ends up taking more time and delaying the progress of the project, but costing the same when all is said and done.
It is not uncommon for clients to reject items for too-high prices, but spending that money on design fees and hourly rates while their designer looks for something cheaper. Clients keep this in mind.
I have no problem telling my clients where they should spend and where they should save.
Do you like to hunt for bargains or go the more convenient route?
read the entire series: