How can I tell?
Warning sign #1: The client that tries to negotiate your rate. I charge an hourly rate that has been determined and earned through my years of experience and education. Yes, this is what I know I am worth! Hiring a designer is a luxury, not a necessity. If you can afford a $40,000 living room reno but don’t want to spend $2000 on the person who will put it together, maybe a designer is not for you. You are more than welcome to do it yourself for free.
Warning sign #2: The client that refuses to pay taxes. Yes, I know that because I am providing a service, it is very easy to complete a job totally “under the table”. However, at the end of the year, I need to declare an income. I do not want to have problems with the government. Therefore, if I say: “no I need to charge you taxes”, make sure it’s not a deal-breaker.
Warning sign #3: The client that blames you for everything. In my industry, along with many other service industries, there are a lot of factors that play into our projects that are completely out of our control. The contractor was late? Not my fault. The tile you fell in love with has a back order? Not my fault. The painter painted the entire house a colour that was one number off and now you have a light shade of pink covering your walls? Not my fault. I take full responsibility if I had given that contractor the wrong colour reference, if a delay was caused because I didn’t place an order on time or if I specified a rug that completely does not work in your space. I am here to help with mistakes made by others, and I try to help avoid them to the best of my ability, but I cannot take responsibility for every source I refer you to. I can work with someone 100 times but they are only human, so if they make a mistake the 101st time I work with them, all I can do is hope that they take ownership.
Warning sign #4: The client with unrealistic expectations. Every once in a while I get a client who calls me in and has no problem paying my hourly rate, but does not have a good budget for me to work with. I pride myself in working with clients of all budgets but this particular client expects the world. They expect something like their entire living room to be refurnished for $3000. Yes, I can purchase a rug, maybe an end table, a few accessories, and probably pull your living room together with a lot of what you already have. But I cannot work magic and give you and entirely new space. Another thing to consider is that working with tighter budgets means more shopping, bargain hunting and basically more time for me to spend on your project. Sometimes it’s just not worth it for me to shop the extra two hours to save you an extra $100 on your side table, since you will be paying me mor…