It’s in our nature to want to help someone when they are in a jam. At least, it’s in my nature to want to do so! However, this can quickly backfire, if we are not careful. The reality is that any good job takes time! More specifically, a great design takes time to plan and complete. You can still have a job done in less time, but it simply will not be the same quality as a job that had adequate planning and preparation.
As business owners, we become accustomed to producing a certain standard of work once you have been in business for a while. Most understand that the final job will reflect the time and preparation you have put into the design. In many cases a rush job, will often look like just what it is, a rush! Now, there are times when a rush job can come together well, but more often than not there are things that you would do differently if you had had time to shop for a different piece of décor that would simply look better than what you had on hand. It may be that to my trained eye, it doesn’t look quite right, but to others it looks great! However, when you become accustomed to a certain standard of work, it is hard to be happy with less!
I found myself in an unusual position a few weeks ago. I received a call from a Realtor I had never worked with. He was scrambling trying to find someone to stage a listing the following week. He said he had been trying to find a stager for 3 weeks! He had a very specific timeline and I explained I was booked with another stage job the day he requested and wouldn’t be available. My clients had booked me close to a month ago and it couldn’t be changed. I was booked pretty solid the following week and was leaving on vacation the week after, so I really didn’t have a lot of time available. He insisted it was a new home and the homeowners had very nice furniture so they really didn’t need much. I agreed to do a consult for the homeowner the Friday afternoon so I could tell them what they needed to do to get their own home ready for showings the following week.
Once I arrived, they wanted to rent some basic artwork, décor and accessories and have me stage the home. They were leaving for vacation and wanted the home ready for showings while they were gone, they were in a jam. I relented, genuinely wanting to help these nice people get the best price for their home. I agreed to squeeze in their “small” job and re-arrange some furniture and accessorize their home. Between designs, planning, packing and actual staging it took 12 man hours. Time I really didn’t have in an already jam packed full week, and we ended up working overtime in order to get the job completed for their timeline. In the end the job looked good. It certainly looked better than it was before we arrived. However, it has bothered me ever since. There were certainly things I would have done differently if I had had more time.
So while on vacation I realized that I did not do myself any favours! I exhausted myself and my team with too many overtime hours. For the first time working with a Realtor and a potential source of new leads, I did not make the best impression that I could have, and may have cost myself future business, as a result. Although the design did look better than how the home looked originally, it certainly did not give the best representation of my work. I was disappointed in myself for taking on too much and trying too hard to accommodate others. Sometimes, it makes more business sense to turn business away than to compromise your design and reputation. What an interesting lesson to learn and what an even more interesting position to be in to learn this lesson!
After all, a Realtor would never take offers on a home before they had adequate time to photograph, market and show the listing. From now on, it is more important for me to do my best for each job than to fit in a last minute job that I simply do not have adequate time to design to the best of my abilities. I would rather ensure that each client be thrilled with a fabulous job, than simply be content with a good one. In most cases, if the home lists on Thursday or the following Tuesday normally doesn’t make a huge difference in the sale price! Isn’t it better to prepare properly and take the time to do it right the first time?