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How to navigate through a customer’s pricing questions

Without mincing words, it can be awkward when a customer questions your pricing. It casts doubt on the trust and communication in the relationship, not to mention the value that interior designers offer. We asked four industry professionals—April Gandy, Summer Jensen, Tamara Feldman and David Pascu—how they deal with price questions.

How to navigate through a customer's pricing questions

April GandyCourtesy of Alluring Designs

out of the gates

“We have a robust and transparent process that starts from the first contact with prospects, so we rarely have any issues with pricing and focus on establishing value before we talk about it. We also offer the expectation of pricing before we introduce investment into any project [will require]. If there are any questions after that, we’ll have a conversation about how the cost is broken down so the client can see how the pricing came about. If that doesn’t work, that’s probably not the customer for us.” —April Gandy, Alluring Designs, Chicago

How to navigate through a customer's pricing questions

Summer JensenCourtesy of Hawk & Co.

cost of customs

“I find the most difficult part of the interior design business to be trying to convince someone of your worth. How important is design in your life? Second, what is my status as a designer? This value translates directly to my fees. Our designs are custom, with no prior roadmap of stylistic cues, so research, design, and documentation are vital for the subcontractors to understand things they’ve never built before. This results in a different efficiency value, which is also reflected in fees. This increased fee is sometimes difficult to explain to a customer. It would be like someone picking a bed from a website [our firm designing a] Custom designed automated bed with hidden throw pillow storage, integrated bedside USBs and headboard reading lights. Sure, they’re both still beds, but the care we put into what we offer is just greater. My role as CEO and Director is to show clients that value and build brand integrity publicly so people understand our value before we sit down to negotiate.” – Sommer Jensen, Hawk & Co., Los Angeles

How to navigate through a customer's pricing questions

Tamara FeldmanCourtesy of Tamara Feldman Design

keep it simple

“We make it very easy for our customers to understand our fee structure, so we rarely encounter them [questions]. For complete projects, we have a very simple billing method that is explained to the client in detail: A flat-rate design fee is calculated based on the number of square meters. Regardless, our customers have access to all of our trade discounts.” – Tamara Feldman, Tamara Feldman Design, North Miami Beach, Florida

How to navigate through a customer's pricing questions

David PascuCourtesy of Abramson Architects

road map

“When we first meet with clients, we share a document that explains in detail our collaborative process. Based on this document and subsequent discussions, our customers understand the value of our services. Every quote I write is based on a detailed description of the scope of work, and our services can be tailored to our clients’ needs.” – David Pascu, Abramson Architects, Los Angeles

Homepage image: A living room by April Gandy includes striking metallic details | Courtesy of Alluring Designs

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