What is consulting?
I know what consulting is in general terms but how does it apply to my project. What would / could I be consulting about?
There are so many decisions that go into a great project. Many of those are based on personal preference or style decisions. Those are decisions that you will most likely make on your own. However, there are a number of considerations that go into making an informed decision. The information and guidance that consultation with a professional brings to the decision making process helps to assure that you are making the best decisions in terms of products, colors, lighting, design trends and functionality.
Why should I spend money for consultation, would it not be better to put those funds towards the material costs of the project?
The cost of consultation is most often a small percentage of the overall cost of the project. Many times the advise that you will receive will more than pay for itself in terms of buying the best products for your project. Consultation helps you to make the best use of the project funds that you have available. Keep in mind that you are going to want this project to be something that brings you joy not just now but though many years to come. Making the right decision and selecting the right product and design option now is important. You want to avoid making bad decisions.
How much consulting do I need?
There is no one answer to this question. Everyone is different. What is important is that you have available professional guidance when you reach those points in the project planning that you feel are beyond your comfort level. It may be as simple as getting a second opinion or as involved as learning what the most recent trends are in design, cabinetry, lighting, colors, appliances etc. There is no question that is outside the area of consultation. Remember that you are the one in charge of your project. The consultant is there to help provide the insights and knowledge that they have gained over their years in the industry, having worked on thousands of projects similar to yours.
How time consuming is the consulting process?
The consulting often takes place with a simple phone call, Skype visit or email. We are all busy and the use of our time is one of the areas that we always want to optimize. The consulting process is able to take place using whatever process is most convenient. Thanks to the ability to share photos using our phones as well as the ability to internet conference there is little in the way that can not be accomplished over distance and at times convenient to everyone.
Does the consultant take a retainer?
Yes. The best approach to consulting is to place the consultant on retainer so that they are available to you when and as you need them. You can establish up front a retainer amount that represents a reasonable expectation of how much consulting time you will need. In the event you exceed this amount additional retainer increments can be agreed to.
Can the consultant suggest sources where I can go to educate myself on areas that I feel I need to know more?
Definitely. Think of the consultant as a guide who can help you with your project. The most important thing that a good guide does is to furnish knowledge about areas that the client needs to know. Often this can be accomplished by suggesting reading material, blogs, webinars, newsletters and a host of other resources that the consultant has available to share. The more you learn the better you will be in your decision making.