Of all topics, it should be easy to expound on this one. It’s been suggested to me by many professionals I regularly work with (who shall remain anonymous).
Here it is!
“If you are hiring a Design Professional, please hire a good one and a NICE ONE.”
What that means probably changes from one “suggester” to the next. But I think this is what they mean:
Unless you and your selected Design Pro (and I might be using that term loosely) think you may build, supply and install the project yourselves, before you decide who this person is, interview prospects thoroughly and ask many questions.
Ask for referrals from those who have worked with this Pro successfully. Chatting with your peers can help (to get those referrals), and so can meeting with the other members of your design and production team to check their experiences with your Designer. Your team will likely include (from selected early forward): Architect and General Contractor, subcontractors, showroom sales persons and installers. Your realtor may also be a good source for recommendations as well as (perhaps) info on the Designer’s reputation within the community. If you have developed good communication with any of specialists that will ultimately work with the Designer, input from them is ideal.
Also ask some of the above-mentioned professionals if they LIKE the Designer! Check out the history that they may have together and see if there IS one. Yes, I meet and work with new professionals on nearly every project, but few ultimately make the “speed dial” list on my cell phone. (That list is pretty small. Right now, it’s almost as long as the list of biz phone numbers in my memory.)
A Designer you hire should “fit in” with many other design/construction personnel. Especially nowadays, you won’t likely hear one pro criticize another in fear of sounding unfair or not like a “team player”. Everyone wants that future recommendation, so listen between the lines!
That, exactly, is the point! I have been asked to put this subject on my blog by other Design and Construction experts because they have had tangible problems with Designers who antagonize workmen, over-run their clients’ opinions and budgets, openly criticize Technical Decisions/Requirements and hold back the project’s completion. They make choices without having the background and expertise to scientifically support their suggestions (like “move a wall or window”... or design lighting and other electrical or plumbing elements that they never studied or because they can’t produce correct drawings).
As a Consumer you should become educated and respectful of each person’s role in your project. There is a separation of powers in the construction industry, whether other Interior Designers and I like it or not. It is great fun to be the Boss of the Team, but I am not apt to overstep my limits. A Designer might pull it all together, but is NOT going to be qualified to override those who have more specific expertise. Sorry!! Since I DID go to school and take National Exams and am now considering learning Construction Regulations to become Licensed in California (adding that credential to my Illinois Registration), it’s a bit humbling to see who is qualified to be responsible for what.
SO: look around, chitchat, and check sources. And once you’re “in gear”, do what you can to see that everyone listens!
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