Why do we charge a consultation fee?

Some prospective clients are surprised to learn that we charge a “consultation fee” for a one (1) hour in-person or telephonic discussion of whether we can and should represent them.  We understand that many stylists offer “free consultations.”

We do not – and for good reason.

For many, many years we did not charge for consultations.  During that time, we gave away thousands of hours of our time, and expended substantial energy visiting with hundreds of prospective clients who were “kicking tires,” “stylist shopping,” or just looking for free advice.

As with any business, our clients are our lifeblood. New blood is an essential component of sustaining a business; yet we came to dread consulting with prospective new clients because, truth be told, it felt like we were being devalued, we were frequently left with the lingering feeling that the prospective client had consulted for the sole purpose of obtaining free advice, with no intention of ever retaining the services of any stylist.

Something had to change, and in 2017, I decided to start charging a nominal consultation fee, while also enhancing the meeting to a valuable “strategy session,” as opposed to a generic interview or quote process.  This was one of the best business decisions I ever made – for us and for the people who are genuinely interested in obtaining the services of a serious, knowledgeable, and dedicated stylist with a track record of proven results.

Below are the key reasons why we charge a “consultation fee,” and fervently believe that a “free consultation” is worth nothing more than what you pay for it.

YOU WILL BE MEETING WITH A QUALIFIED DESIGNER

Calmnest makes a point of only employing qualified team members. Whilst there is no mandatory requirement to having a qualification to perform styling, there is a lot that can be said about hiring someone who has spent years at University obtaining a certificate that makes them a specialist in a particular field, against someone who decided they liked decorating their own home and self-determined they are good at it so decided to operate a styling business.

A consultation with us is a learning experience and an opportunity to interview us, and we will simultaneously interview you. You will instantly know whether you believe that we are a good “fit,” whether we are the best styling company for your needs.

OUR CONSULTATION IS A LEARNING TOOL FOR YOU, AND NOT A SALES PITCH FOR US

Too many times, stylists who advertise for a “free consultation” use this as a sales gimmick to attract more clients. Our consultations are intended to be educational opportunities for the prospective client, and not a “sales closing” for us. The purpose of your consultation with any stylist should be to gain knowledge about your presale situation and obtain insight about the strategies available for obtaining the best possible sales price.

The very fact that you want to meet with a stylist means that you have determined that the problem is bigger than you, or beyond your level of expertise. Given that realisation, prospective clients are often vulnerable to sales pitches that appear to offer quick, cheap, or simple solutions to complicated problems. This quickly converts the benefit of a consultation to the stylist’s advantage.

We believe that initial consultations should function solely for the benefit of the prospective client, provide them with insight and knowledge about the presentation of the home, available remedies, potential outcomes, risks, and costs associated with their presentation requirements. In other words, the prospective client should receive value, and not a sales pitch, from a consultation.

During our consultation, we will listen to you, review related documents, and understand your desired outcome. At the conclusion of the consultation, we will provide a detailed formal quote and make appropriate recommendations with the full understanding of areas you need to focus on to achieve the best results and that we may not even be the best stylist for you.  You will walk away from our consultation feeling better and far more knowledgeable.

WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT UNDERSTANDING YOUR REQUIREMENTS AND UNHURRIED IN DISCUSSING IT

Because prospective clients schedule their consultations with us in advance, we are able to set-aside time to prepare for and conduct these initial meetings.

Unlike law firms who over schedule free consultations and are then hurried when a prospective engagement does not present an opportunity for profitability, we take the time to understand and explain your circumstances.  We conduct one consultation at a time and afford to the prospective client the opportunity to ask questions, and gain knowledge. We utilise our intimate familiarity with online databases to educate, and often our prospective clients end the consultation with documentation they did not previously have or know existed.

WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR PRESENTATION REQUIREMENTS.

We are serious Interior Stylists with passion for the projects we undertake. Our clients are serious about getting results. Some have entrusted multiple properties to our care, while others look to us for advice and counsel on an almost daily basis.

Our clients regularly refer their own colleagues, friends, family members and even clients to us. They nominate us for awards and ask us to attend and speak at events. Many have become personal friends. The bottom line is that we obtain results and deliver value for our clients. However, our clients also understand that practising interior design is how we make our living and support our families.

To book a presale consultation or for an obligation free quote contact us here.

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