Everyone has a dream house in his or her mind, and decorating is about trying to bring that dream to life. But it can also mean managing expectations about what’s possible, so that clients don’t end up disappointed.
The wish list
Begin by finding out exactly what the client wants to achieve. Do they want a tiny space to feel big and airy? Do they have examples of the styles or colours that they’re interested in?
The reality check
The right colours can transform a room, but there’s a limit to what they can do. If a client expects their small space to look like a grand dining hall once it has been decorated, it’s important to correct them. Be positive but realistic, and highlight where the quality of natural light or the size of a space will affect the results.
Once the work is agreed, check your client’s budget and time expectations. If these are unrealistic, be clear about this from the beginning, but offer compromises. If you over-promise on deadlines to keep them happy, they’re likely to be disappointed later. While it can be frustrating for clients to hear you say ‘no’, showing new ways around issues shows a willing attitude.
Painting can be a messy business. While you take every care to ensure a quality finish, it is worth explaining to clients exactly what to expect: your working hours, who will be on site and how things will be left overnight. This should put your clients at ease.
Offer clients as much advice as you can, be prepared to be flexible, but if you feel that their expectations are unrealistic, be prepared to decline the work. Sometimes, the stress of a bad job can be worse than not having a job at all, and your time could be used finding new clients.