trade tales | Sep 23, 2022 |
How to navigate a client’s pricing questions

Without mincing words, it can be uncomfortable to have a client question your pricing. It casts doubt over the trust and communication in the relationship, not to mention the value that interior designers provide. We asked four industry pros—April Gandy, Summer Jensen, Tamara Feldman and David Pascu—how they handle questions about pricing.

How to navigate a client’s pricing questions
April GandyCourtesy of Alluring Designs

Out of the Gates

“We have a solid and transparent process starting from initial contact with prospective clients, so we rarely have issues with pricing, and we focus on seeking the value before we discuss it. We also provide the expectation of pricing before we establish the investment a project [will require]. If there are still questions after that, we have a conversation about how costs are broken down so the client can see how pricing was established. If that isn’t successful, that’s probably not the client for us.” —April Gandy, Alluring Designs, Chicago

How to navigate a client’s pricing questions
Summer JensenCourtesy of Hawk & Co.

Cost of Custom

“I find the most difficult aspect of the business of interior design is trying to convince someone of your value. What value does a design hold in their own life? Second, what value do I as the designer hold? That value directly translates to my fees. Our designs are custom, with no previous road map of stylistic cues, so research, design and documentation are critical for the subcontractors to understand things they have never built before. That results in a different efficiency value, which also translates to fee. That increased fee is sometimes hard to explain to a client. It would be like someone picking a bed from a website versus [our firm designing a] customized, automated bed with hidden throw-pillow storage, built-in nightstand USBs and reading lights in the headboard. Sure, they are both still beds, but the care put into what we offer is just greater. My role as CEO and principal is to show clients that added value and to publicly build brand integrity so that people understand our value before we sit down to negotiate.” —Summer Jensen, Hawk & Co., Los Angeles

How to navigate a client’s pricing questions
Tamara FeldmanMarc Richard Tousignant

Keep It Simple

“We make it very easy for our clients to understand our fee structure, so we rarely encounter [questions]. When it comes to entire projects, we have a very simple way of charging that is thoroughly explained to the client: A flat design fee is calculated based on the square footage. Separately, our clients have access to all of our trade discounts.” —Tamara Feldman, Tamara Feldman Design, North Miami Beach, Florida

How to navigate a client’s pricing questions
David PascuCourtesy of Abramson Architects

Road Map

“When we first meet with clients, we share a document that explains our collaborative process in depth. Because of that document and the ensuing conversations, our clients understand the value of our services. Each proposal that I write is based on a detailed description of the scope of work, and our services can be tailored to suit our clients’ needs.” —David Pascu, Abramson Architects, Los Angeles

Homepage image: An office room by April Gandy incorporates high-impact metallic details | Laquisha Love

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.