Benefits of Hiring a Professional
Debating whether the cost of hiring a designer to help on your project is worth it? Here's a few reasons why you may want to consider hiring a pro...
1) Education & Experience
Like any skill, design is a learned talent. While a good designer does need to have a natural ability, formal training is also a necessary element. Just as a good carpenter has natural talent, he or she also needs to have some form of training in order to know fully what they are doing, as well as to gain professional respect and client trust. Experience goes hand in hand with education. Designers who have been working for a number of years have gone through a series of projects, both good and bad, big and small, and are able to lend their experience and knowledge to your project.
2) Relationships with Suppliers & Tradespeople
Good designers work hard to build solid relationships with good suppliers and tradespeople. It is in the best interest both for the designer and her/his client that relationships with suppliers and tradespeople are positive, with open communication. Suppliers and tradespeople, in turn, respect their relationships with designers as business is often brought their way via designers. A good relationship with a supplier means that the client will often have access to samples of product to take home, a good understanding of expectations of the supplier in terms of delivery time and quality, and the client has a common contact point via the designer who will understand and remember the details of your project.
Skilled tradespeople may often be hard to find, especially if you have a project on a short timeline. While this is not always the case, tradespeople who work with a designer often will do their best to help the designer out when a timeline is crunched. Simultaneously, the designer has an open stream of communication with her/his chosen tradespeople which speeds up any on-site questions and issues.
3) Understanding of Space, Use, Traffic Flow and Scale
Formally trained designers usually have a good idea of space, use, traffic flow in a given area and scale. What does this mean? A good designer understands that an area in the house (a 'space') may have multiple uses. How do you go about defining that space? What are it's intended uses? How does traffic move around, through or into the space? What is the scale of the space? Not just square footage but volume, positive and negative space, light flow, etc. When working on DIY projects, this is where most homeowners run into trouble. Yes you measured your living room and checked carefully before ordering that sectional or side table to ensure it would fit into the room, but did you consider the scale of the sectional? Or that of your living room? A good designer understands not only what this means, but is able to point you in the right direction, or, at the very least, steer you away from a bad, and possibly costly, decision.
4) Understands the Lingo
When you hire a plumber, do you ask him in detail what he is doing or about to do? If you do, do you understand more than 25% of what he is saying? When you look at a set of plans, other than a 3D rendered image, do you understand what it all means and how it is going to look when it's all grown up? Think of designers as the translator between you and your drawings/tradespeople/contractor. The designer understands the look and feel you are pursuing in your home and her/his job is to help communicate that to the people who are bringing it to life. She/he are also able to advise you when something in 2D does not add up to your desired outcome in 3D. A designer is your translator, your tour guide.
5) Confirmation in Decisions
If you are a DIY person, and you prefer to do all the work yourself, that is great! But do you have a full understanding of what all those material samples you've chosen are going to look like when they're in place? Or are you trying to apply the design aesthetic of a home you fell in love with in a magazine to your home? Do you know absolutely 100% that it will work? Not all designers will, but there are those who will be happy to sit down with you and go over your plans and selections to confirm you are on the right path.
Alternatively, if you are not a DIY personality but you 'know a guy' who's going to do the work for you at a lesser cost, having confirmation of your selections is invaluable at the start. It gets expensive very quickly when a poorly made decision at the start needs to be fixed or replaced. There is cost to hiring a designer, yes, but it would be money well spent, especially if you were headed for a fall that you could not foresee.
6) Your Designer is Your Advocate
Noted back in #4 that a designer is like your translator or your tour guide, your designer is also your best advocate! She/he understands your vision, understands your concerns and desires and understands your budget. While not all changes are avoidable, your designer is there to ensure that one small necessary change does not turn into a gigantic project overhaul. Designers are skilled at paying attention to the details. They are also a bit notorious with tradespeople for being sticklers in keeping to the original design, even if it means it's not the 'easiest way'. Your designer is there to ensure the project ends the way it should - the way you planned, dreamed and told all your friends it would.
On this note, be cautious of working a designer's costs down. While you may think you are saving valuable financial resources you can apply elsewhere, what you are truly doing is undermining the value and experience of your designer. A good designer will have a fairly accurate understanding of the cost to you of hiring her/him and will do her/his best to not overrun your financial capacity with design fees. However, good design takes time. A designer doesn't "just know" exactly what works in your home. She/he will need to meet with you, gather valuable information from you and then pull together all the pieces of your home puzzle. And that requires time.
Speaking of time...
7) Save Time!!
Ok, so you know you want to consult with a designer before you go ahead on your project but you'd rather not spend the money to have them source the material/products for you. A good question to ask yourself is this: what does your free time cost? We all have only 24 hours in a day and most of us have full time careers, families, social agendas, fitness desires, etc. Consider how full your days and weeks are now. Now consider how much time you will need to invest to not only select your materials or products, but to research where to go, make your selection out of the many, many options available, take them home, see if they will work with your home and your family's design aesthetic and fit within your budget. It's starting to add up to all of your free time or a project that won't be finished for a few years, right?
Here is where a designer is often worth every penny. A good designer knows where to go for the products you're looking for, has a good idea of which products/materials will fit within your budget and, having hopefully ascertained a good idea of your and your family's design aesthetic, can pull together a few great options for you to choose from. Does this cost you some money? Well yes, designers don't give away their time for free. But having all of your spare time available to you to devote to your family, career and friends while your designer is making the selections for you - wouldn't you say it's worth the cost?