09 Apr 2010

Are U a Good Client?

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When you interview me to decide if I’m the right architect, I also interview you to determine if you make a good client. I know I can’t win or accept every project I pursue so I have to be as selective as you are to ensure a successful project.

Are you a good client? You have criteria for what makes a good architect. You might seek an architect who is creative, experienced and affordable. Those are legitimate criteria and likewise I have criteria for what makes a good client. I want clients who understand our roles, are honest, open-minded, timely,

I seek clients who understand our complementary roles.

Be the Owner and Let Me Be the Architect:

You want an architect who listens, but are you a good listener? I’m giving you advice because I know people want to change the very thing you’re designing. Make me part of the project. You’ll be my advocate and I’ll be yours. Be the owner and challenge me to be the Architect.

I seek clients who are honest.

Honesty IS the Best Policy.

Give me your budget and give me your feedback. Tell me what you like and don’t like. If you have preconceived notions share them. I’ll tell you when you’re making a mistake and will propose alternate solutions, but you must trust me and share information so I can provide the best possible solution that meets your goals.

I seek Open-minded clients.

Be open to new ideas:

Don’t begin a project with preconceived notions and a ready-made design.  Be flexible and recognize things change. Go through the experience with me. Keep me involved. When you start making decisions without me and ignoring advice, I am not part of the decision making and can’t contribue. While I can produce documents, I’m not a production extension. Do you tell your doctor how to prescribe? Are you assessing your options? Do you try to see solutions or only one solution?

I seek Original clients.

Be OrIGiNaL: No Carbon Copies, Please:

Be Neighborly, but don’t be your Neighbor. Starting with a design you found in a magazine, the internet or from a neighboring property is like beginning a remodel project. Instead of defining your project, you start with “what’s wrong” with another project that is “almost” right. We create original work so there’s no need to start with a template and modify it.

I seek clients who pay timely.

Always Pay On Time.

Professionals do not respond to a carrot and stick approach. If you have questions about an invoice, ask questions immediately. I assume a risk designing your project because I offer flexibility to make changes without charging you for each change, but I can’t work for free. Withholding payments will compromise our design relationship.

I seek clients who plan ahead.

Pace Yourself:

Plan ahead so we have time to develop something. no matter how many times you’ve designed and built your own home, I’ve probably done it more times than you have. use my advice and recognize good design takes time. don’t be in a rush.

Think Big, but Design Small:  you design too large spaces and too much space

Are you excited about your project? I don’t mean excited to be finished. I mean are you excited about starting and evolving it. Doing what it takes, making decisions, being involved.

commitment: do you communicate exclusively or primarily through email? you’re not committed.

describe vs. prescribe: do you tie my hands with restrictive criteria?

Get to Know Your Architect: take the extra time to get to know me so you understand what i do, how i do it and what i can do for you. I spend hours, days, months getting to know you. Do yourself a favor and get to know me too. I publish personal information about my philosophy and business approach so you know how I approach design. i don’t begin the meeting asking what you want, i begin the meeting asking about you.

It’s simple! We can design your project right or we can do it twice.

About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 29 years experience in design, construction observation and life.