Why Isn’t the Initial Design Consultation Free?

Diva by Design in Harlingen, Texas

Everyone has a different way of going about their business. Including those of us in the design business. We are all creative in different ways. And we all have our own process. Call us what you will – designer, decorator, home stager, re-designer, etc. – we all have one common goal for the design of your home though we each have different ways of getting there. The ultimate goal is for you to be happy with the design of your home. Is that it? No. There is so much more to our work than that. Let me explain:

1. Usefulness – The spaces or rooms designed for you should be useful and each one should serve at least one purpose. Some rooms will have more than one use and a good designer will give you a space that functions for all of them. Comfort, support and functionality are important or you won’t want to spend time in your home. Not a very sexy concept, but it serves a basic need.

2. Cost Effectiveness – This isn’t just about the budget, which is absolutely important, but about saving time, resources, materials, and even the environment. Your lifestyle wants and needs determine where we allocate that budget to maximize the return on your investment. Because designing and decorating your home are investments. Not just monetarily. You are investing in your well-being and peace of mind. Again, not always a fun concept, but necessary.
3. Beauty – Now we’re talking! The fun stuff. This is the part you are waiting to see in the end. The result. Beauty is also personal and subjective. I help you find what’s beautiful to you and that takes time on both of our parts. Sometimes you don’t truly know what you want. That’s okay. It’s a process and I will help you discover it. That is the goal of our initial consultation.
4. Style – Your style. Your likes and dislikes. The colors you love. The colors you hate. What type of materials and fabrics you want touching your skin. How you want it to sound when you are walking through a room. How you want to feel once you enter that room. You. The investment you are willing to make into the design of your home will dictate just how personalized the décor will be. This one is up to you. My goal here is to help you bring these concepts from just ideas into reality within the possibilities determined by your budget.
5. Lifestyle – Who are you? How many people live in your home? How do you spend your time? What is important to you? A good design will take all of these factors into consideration and the more homework you do about yourself before our initial meeting will determine just how much we both get out of our first meeting in the process of interior design.
The initial consultation is not necessarily about me showing you pictures or examples of other design results. I can do that, but selling a concept or my business is not a part of this meeting. That was what happened in our phone conversation. Others use the initial consult as a sales pitch. That’s why they don’t charge for their time. I don’t do that. In our meeting we will already be working on your design. We wouldn’t have gotten this far if you weren’t interested.
The initial meeting is, however, all about YOU. This meeting is me taking the time to get to know your wants, needs, budget, time line, floor plans, and personal style. All of this information will be my basis for a unique, beautiful, and livable picture of you that will show in the very fabric of your home. It’s research, and work. The more illumination you can give me about yourself before we meet will enable me to give you more ideas about what your design will include during our consult. That way when you get the final design concept and love it because it speaks volumes about who you are, you can then see the value of our time together.
Do I charge for this time? Yes. Learning about you is part of the process of good interior design. It is only the beginning stage of a method that will determine just how happy and satisfied you are with the home you are providing for yourself and your family. Without this information, the design will fall flat and the result will be far short of your expectations.
It may not seem like it at first glance, but the time we spend together in the beginning is integral to the rest of the design. I cannot choose what will go into your home without learning about the most important element – you.
The Only Drama is in the Design…
Click here to learn more about my  home decorating packages. I have different options based on your interior design budget. And, I am going to be adding more very soon. I can’t wait to unveil them! So keep checking back periodically. I am still working on adding them to my website, so please be patient as I have to do this in between meetings and designing for you. Remember, what you are willing to invest will have an impact on the final result. But don’t let that scare you! I can work with any reasonable budget, but I specialize in a luxurious look for less.
I’m Christina Rodriguez and I am the face behind Diva by Design Interiors. You can read more about me here. I like to get feedback (comments) on my blog posts because when you comment or ask questions, it gives me an idea of what you’re interested in reading about. It’s a great way for me to get an idea of what to write about next. I’d love to know who my readers are and what projects you are thinking about starting (or finishing) in your own home. So I would appreciate it if you would take the time to introduce yourself in the comments! Thanks!
Copyright© 2015 Christina Rodriguez. All rights reserved.

16 thoughts on “Why Isn’t the Initial Design Consultation Free?

  1. Hi Christina, great blog post! I’m an Interior Designer too and sometimes come across potential clients who are not sure why designers charge an initial consult fee. I break it down and usually they are happy to proceed. I think it just takes a little understanding about how and why a design process works the way it does for all parties to be happy. Clients usually realise pretty quickly the end result will be well worth that initial fee 🙂

  2. Christinia, I love this post and the way you broke it down. I am 100% behind you on your approach to charging for the initial consultation. I, too, do not like to waste time with another sales pitch which is exactly what you get on a complimentary consultation. Instead, I have a comprehensive questionaire and phone consult prior to scheduling that facilitate that first meeting or answer any questions to help determine if we are a good fit prior to meeting onsite.

    1. Yes, Terri. I also have a questionnaire and a free phone consult. It always helps to speak to the business person before you decide to hire them. You can get a better feel for their personality.

    1. It makes such a difference in the design decisions. If someone tries to copy someone else’s lifestyle and their own doesn’t even come close, how can a client be truly happy in their home? It would be like being a visitor in their own home

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