Thursday, June 21, 2012

10 Reasons Your Designer Might be Thinking of Firing You

I'm part of an online designer forum and today we were discussing a designer's difficulty  in having to fire a client.  Sometimes the fit is just plain wrong but sometimes a client has overstepped their boundaries and the relationship can no longer continue.

Here's a list of the top 10 reasons your Designer might be thinking of firing you.

1.  Missed Appointments - Unless you have passed away in the night, you will be jeopardizing your good relationship with your designer by not showing up or cancelling at the last minute.  

2.  Indecision, Indecision - Changes to a design plan are a part of a good, healthy relationship between designer and client.  If you are soliciting the opinions of your neighbours, parents and clerk at the grocery store you will have too many reasons to feel scared and confused.  You are not a focussed client and you probably require way too much hand holding for this to be a viable relationship.  

3.  Non-Payment - You should have signed a contract with your designer indicating when payments will be made throughout the process.  Non payment is pretty much a deal breaker and/or a very good way to put a stop to any further progress.

4.  HGTV-itis - Sarah and Tommy are NOT showing you the entire process in a 30-minute episode.  There are months of preparation to get to a finished room.  Don't base your expectations on what you saw on tv last week.

5.   Cutting out the Middle Man - The relationship your designer has with workrooms is one that she/he has spent months or years establishing which is why you get such great prices and work well done.  You are not part of that relationship so do not ask for the phone number or address.  

6.  Saturday Night Dinner Guest - While it's true that you have your designer's cell phone number it does not mean you should call them on a Saturday night to ask about hardware choices.  Make a list of questions and bring it to your next meeting.  

7.  The First Baby Syndrome - You know how cousin Jenny is expecting her first child and talks about it as if nobody has ever had a baby before?  You might be doing the same thing regarding your reno.  Your designer has done this many times even if you haven't.  Trust that she/he knows what they're doing and that they've seen this exact issue at least a dozen times.

8.  Designers are the Design Professionals - Decorating is fun and lots of people are good at it.  That doesn't make them designers.  You don't go to your dentist and tell him/her to take into account what your brother's fiancee thinks so the same courtesy should be extended to your designer. 

9.  No Return Policy - Designers are not personal shoppers.  Unless it has been included in the contract or previously discussed your designer will not be returning all the items you didn't like for the decorating portion of the process.  

10.  She's Just Not That In To You - Sometimes the designer and client just don't connect and it's like a bad relationship.  Once things go sour there may be no turning back.


  1. Great post Carol!! My designer told us that we had "champagne taste on a beer bottle budget" so I fired him!!!

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  2. This was great. Wow, it must be so hard for designers, these days, with all the internet and tv shows. You are so right about Tommy & Sarah. I love them, but know that the pile of props behind the camera, is huge! Asking for the workroom phone number is just crazy!

  3. Great list -- keeps things realistic :)

  4. Oh such a wise list. Especially number 8.

  5. Well put Carol - love it, especially #2!
    People - please trust your designer, asking your friends their opinion can only confuse you and remove the focus that your designer has worked so hard on.

  6. I'm so glad somebody made a list!! This can apply to all parts of this industry!! Have a great weekend Carol.

  7. Bang on Carol. Would just like to clarify that indeed, Interior Decorators are DESIGNERS by definition,we are trained and adhere to all the principals of DESIGN, however, unless they also have the qualifications , may not legally in Canada refer to themselves as ' Interior Designers' . In fact our professions overlap in many areas now. As you pointed out, the client must be aware of who and why they are hiring either.

  8. Thank you, Carol, for a great post. I think I'm gonna use that "I'm just not into you" line . . .

  9. I can certainly see these as being potential issues when doing a new design for a house.

  10. I want to talk about #9. How do you deal with returning items? If a client doesn't like something, they return it? What about your mark-up on it?

  11. Thanks for this refreshing and honest post. I think we tend to mostly think about whether the designer is the right fit or not, instead of realizing that the client might just not be the right fit.

  12. Wow - I get the feeling clients can be super rude. A lot of this list seems common sense to me (and just about manners, ie. calling Sat night). Good for you for being so honest and upfront about this.

  13. Ok - ouch!
    I was guilty of indecion - for sure!

    I was always so insecure through the process, thinking i must have been the worst sometimes I said 'yes' just so I could keep the ball rolling, even though I wasn't convinced! I didnt want her to hate us!!!

  14. This is so perfectly stated Carol! I love Sarah & Tommy too but people have come to expect their projects to be completed as quickly and effortlessly (and for as little money as possible!) as they perceive them to be on HGTV. As a design industry, we've definitely got some work to do on educating consumers about the realities of just how much hard work we do for them that they never see. Yes, it can be a ton of fun but it's really hard work too.


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