Budget is one of the first topics of conversation I have when meeting with a prospective client and it always plays out the same. The designer asks to know the budget and the prospect does not wish to reveal what they can afford.
Is it right for a client to withhold their budget? As in any industry there are those that perform with integrity and honor and those who cut corners and cheat. I don’t disagree with protecting budget information until you have eliminated any doubt that the business or individual you are dealing with is a true professional. Once you have identified a qualified professional, let’s talk budget.
Why is the budget so important to know up front? Think of the budget as the GPS or navigation system for a project. Without a set budget, there is no way to determine the proper course to take to reach the desired outcome. Valuable time is wasted moving in a direction that does not fit within the scope of your project or size of your savings account.
Expect an experienced professional to be direct and to the point when evaluating your project. Assuming they have done many similar projects before, they can provide a wealth of knowledge in advising you on what to expect and how to proceed with your project. Personally, I have been known to provide a budget to those who are struggling to get an idea of real costs. Of course all projects are subject to the personal tastes of the consumer. Some will only be satisfied with driving a Jaguar and others find Ford makes a well built, good quality car. A Jaguar budget will obviously be very different from that of a Ford. All budgets reflect the tastes and values of the individual.
Before starting the process of planning a project, do some research, what images are you drawn to in the renovation magazines? What manufacturers are credited? Google them. Compare ratings and prices. When you do begin a relationship with a design or renovation professional, you will be armed with resources allowing you to save valuable specification time and research dollars that you would have otherwise been billed for. Your project can also be quoted more quickly and accurately.