When you have a job in interior decorating, there is one thing you may not want to skip: the interior design questionnaire for clients. It may seem like a small and unimportant thing, but it can be crucial for a job well done.
The last thing you may want is to go through the entire design process, only to realize that you completely missed the mark. The initial consultation is very important, as it gives you a good idea, but you also need to ask all the right questions.
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There are various reasons why you may need an interior design client questionnaire. Here is how they can help you with your initial call.
When you start questioning your potential clients, you get a better idea of what they expect from the design style. You will get more information about their taste, preferences, budget, and more. With your client questionnaire, you will know exactly what to expect and most certainly you will not miss the mark.
Sure, you can ask your potential client these things bit by bit, but it can waste precious time. It's better to get all the essential questions out in the open right away. This way, not only will you know the direction that you have to take, but you will also spare yourself from making any mistakes on the project proposal.
You and your client must be on the same page. Let's say that you completed your initial interior design consultation and you had a good idea of what you wanted to do - but later on, you had new questions to ask. An interior design questionnaire can help fill those missing gaps.
You may feel that questionnaires may bore your clients, but in truth, they show how dedicated you are to your interior design business. The initial consultation will show them that they made a good choice going for your service.
Every interior design client questionnaire should meet certain points. Here is what you should address with your prospective clients.
During the discovery call, you should address general pleasantries. Get to know the client better, and allow them to know you as well. They must know that you are a successful business, so you should show them all your credentials and design services.
Make a project proposal with the ideas that they suggested to you, along with technical information. This can include aspects such as how many rooms there are, what the purpose of the room will be, what the preferred style is, and all the information that may matter here. Access our free interior designer proposal template here.
When you are at the first meeting with your clients, you also need to talk about your vision. What style should the room have? Are there any favorable colors or furniture types?
For instance, some may prefer a light minimalist design, whereas others may lean towards a dark Victorian style with lots of black and red. Talk about the specifics of the design so that you can come up with a beautiful space.
In order to get the job done right, you also need to consider the space. Go from one room to another and take everything into notice.
It might be helpful to also take some pictures of the place. Take some measurements, and figure out where the items would fit better for their intended use. For instance, if you have certain decor items that you want to use, then you should make sure they fit perfectly in the available space.
if you are dealing with new clients, the questionnaire must have general information such as their address, their phone number, and other useful details about the client.
While you are in this stage, you may look up their neighborhood as well. For instance, if their neighborhood has a particular style that the client wants to respect, then you may add this to your design process.
Note: Before you send a questionnaire, make sure you are protected by a proper legal agreement to avoid any future problems. Bonsai has a free interior design contract template you can use to kick start a relationship with a new client. Try our software out today.
There are several questions that you may want to ask upon the initial call. These questions include:
This should be your conversation opener. Your client must see that you are willing to work closely with them - and the best way to do that is to inquire about their needs and expectations. Discuss feedback during the initial consultation and talk about potential solutions to their problems.
When creating the client questionnaire, interior designers must also inquire about the budget. Some people will answer this question right away, whereas others may feel uncertain and awkward about their budget.
A new client may be potentially unsure, so both you and the person you are interviewing should have an open conversation about this. Otherwise, you may not be able to meet the client's vision while keeping realistic standards. Try Bonsai's free quote template for interior designers.
Every detail matters, so a new client questionnaire should also include how they found out about the project. Did they use the Internet to find you, or did someone else refer them to you? Make a note to thank your previous interior design clients for referring them to you.
You may need to contact your potential clients for other projects, which is why your interior design client questionnaire should also include their home address, email, and phone number. You may also want to ask for payment details while you are at it. For instance, if they prefer to pay with Bonsai Cash, you will want to know about it.
Aside from the ability to contact them, it can also be helpful in other circumstances. For example, if they don't live anywhere near your service area, then you may refer them to other interior designers near them.
Words are a good way to gather information, but in order to truly get the client's vision, you should also get them to show you some pictures of what they want. If they are using Google forms to complete the online questionnaire, then you may ask them to submit the design ideas there.
Perhaps the client lives on a rented property, which means the interior designer may not have much liberty in the aspects that could be modified. Or maybe the interior decorating task has to be done in a short time. Either way, these things must be discussed beforehand.
Your interior design questionnaire should also include styles that they may or may not like. Perhaps they have a potential color palette that they like or may absolutely dislike. This can give you a better visual of the interior design style that they are looking for.
This question can give you a lot of relevant feedback in regard to your potential client. For instance, let's say that they worked with someone before who didn't succeed in meeting their expectations. Or perhaps they really liked what they did before and are looking for something similar.
You need to know all this beforehand, so that you may meet their expectations properly. The last thing you want is to make the same potential mistakes that other interior designers made.
Once more, this is a very important question that you should not skip. For instance, let's say that your client has a tiger-print rug that they really want to keep. In that case, the interior décor must have a similar style.
However, if it doesn't fit the design that they are after, it's your job as an interior designer to come up with alternatives.
Depending on who will live in the house, you may want to create your project around it. For instance, you may have to design a room for a 30-year-old adult and one for a 6-year-old girl. Needless to say, they will want different things, so you must adapt your design around their preferences.
Depending on your client's current design, you may require some extra time in order to create your own model. Moreover, if their time is limited, you also need to know the frame so that you may create a feasible project.
Take the client's time in mind as well. For instance, if they need to be at home or at least in the vicinity during that time, it can significantly affect your process. You may not be able to do much work if they are around. If the task must be done faster, you can make the most out of your time by using programs such as Bonsai.
Asking the right questions at the right time can ensure that every project of yours is a success. The more thorough you are with your architect client questionnaire, the more business you will attract.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?