We’ve all been there. Someone calls and is in a panic to get something done NOW! As soon as possible, it’s urgent. We do our best to accommodate, without taking time away from already scheduled clients. You meet with the individual, go over all the details. They are in full agreement, have you book a time and date. Then, between the time they book and when they are to issue a deposit they change their minds. In some cases, they don’t even have the courtesy to let you know until you start to chase them to find out what is going on. It is very frustrating.
It’s so difficult to distinguish the “tire kickers” from the serious clients who are just busy and can’t get to it right now. Often clients misjudge how long it will take to get everything completed before we can stage. They genuinely want to proceed, but need more time to get things done. This is not unusual. De-cluttering is a big job and often takes longer than anticipated.
The biggest frustration are the ones who demand you drop everything and come out today or tomorrow. I always give an estimate over the phone based on the size of the space and how many rooms are to be staged. If they are comfortable with the estimate, than I set up a meeting to provide a firm quote. I explain terms and conditions and explain our booking procedures.
It’s really quite simple. I provide our next available date for staging. I ensure we allow time to source, pull, and pack the necessary stock. Depending on the job, this may require a few hours to a few days if we need to source items outside our warehouse or shop for specific items. Then we require a deposit at the time of booking, before we will commence any work. This protects our time against the “tire kickers” who absolutely “want” to stage, insist you book them in and then change their mind the day before. We’ve had a few times over the years where we’ve trusted people, only to have them change their mind after we’ve pulled all the stock and packed everything. Interestingly, these are also the ones who refuse to pay anything for your time. Very dishonest people. Then I’ve had clients who decide to take an offer, they cancel but are more than happy to pay for the time we’ve spent on planning/packing their job. I just LOVE these clients. They are the reason I trust people! Unfortunately, not all people are like this.
Without a deposit, all the time spent planning/packing is wasted and I’ve just paid my employees hours and hours for absolutely nothing!!! It didn’t take long for me to change that policy! If you are serious, you will give me a deposit to reserve the time and to pay for the time required for designing, pulling stock and packing. If you sell or decide not to stage after the work has been completed, you will be billed for the time and work that have been put in. Sorry we simply do not work for free. We are running a business and have to cover the cost of the time involved in planning and preparing a job.
If you receive an estimate today with a booking date next week when we are available, please do not take a week to decide and then expect it staged the very next day. When I give a booking date for staging, that allows us time before that date, once we have approval and a deposit, to get everything, designed, planned, sourced and packed. If you do not give me the go ahead until the day before, you’ve just lost a week! Keep in mind, you are not our only client and our only estimate. I always tell people, that date is available right now, but we have multiple estimates out and clients who are in the process of getting their homes ready. The first one to confirm a booking with a deposit is the one who will receive the time slot. I simply cannot reserve time slots for people in the “hope” that they will be ready and will decide to go ahead. Basically if someone is serious, they have no problem confirming a date and issuing a deposit to reserve the date. I understand delays happen, and if someone needs to push us back a few days or week, that can often work in our advantage and we can use the time to plan another job. I rarely bill someone for a reschedule, but if we have costs involved that incur losses, those are billed back to the client.
We try very hard to accommodate our clients and meet their deadlines. However, just as we respect our clients time and meet their deadlines, we request mutual respect from our clients. Please do not treat us like we “owe” you something for nothing. I do not know you and I owe you nothing. If you choose to hire us, we do a great job, are friendly and accommodating, however, we do require a deposit upon booking and the balance of the payment the day of staging. I’ve never had someone unhappy with our design on a job. So Tire kickers, who want to waste people’s time can go kick someone else’s tires. I have some pretty awesome clients waiting for my time.