A detailed look at what you should be asking.
Are you overwhelmed with the number of choices you have in choosing an Interior Designer? Don’t know where to begin? Here are 10 important questions to ask when you interview potential designers. Asking the right questions will help you choose the right designer for you.
1) What type of design education have you had and are you accredited in some way?
Some people don’t realize that there is a difference between Decorators and Designers. Anyone with a “knack” for putting color and fabrics together can call themselves a decorator. But Interior Design is a profession and one that requires years of education and experience. In California, designers may qualify to take a rigorous exam, which deals with the California Building Code, Title 24 and California laws and regulations. This is especially important when doing a project that involves construction and building permits. A designer who has passed this exam is a Certified Interior Designer in CA (CID). It is a legal title. CIDs are concerned with the health, safety and welfare of the public, first and foremost.
Debbie L. Talianko is a Certified Interior Designer in CA. At Talianko Design Group, our designers are required to have a formal education in Interior Design.
In addition, Debbie Talianko is a member in good standing with ASID or the American Society of Interior Designers, a national networking organization that requires its members to have both an interior design education as well as work experience in the field. In our firm, we have over 20 years of experience collectively.
2) What makes you unique?
Ask why you should hire this particular firm. What makes them stand out ahead of the pack?
We do things a little differently at Talianko Design Group. Our hands on approach and excellent follow through are evident in the testimonials you may have seen on our website or otherwise.
- We have many tools at our disposal to help us get to know you and your project needs quickly and efficiently.
- We also begin the planning phase with a budget. We don’t believe our clients should ever start spending money without the end game in sight.
- Our accounting software is industry specific. This means we work very efficiently when it comes to billing and purchasing, etc.
- Our follow through is excellent. We treat people the way we’d like to be treated.
3) Do you have a mission statement?
A mission statement can say a lot about a company. What is it that drives them? Are they a cohesive group with a common goal?
“At Talianko Design Group, LLD, Our goal is to ensure that our clients fall in love with their homes. We make the process easy and convenient for them, because we believe this is the way people should be treated. By listening carefully to their requests, we can thoroughly understand their needs. And in the end, we produce something both beautiful and personal”.
4) Have you worked on any projects similar to ours in the past?
Ask to see examples of work done which is similar to your project. Listening to the designer explain the project will give you insight into whether or not they understand your own project needs.
This is a question that will be determined when you first call us. We will tell you if we are comfortable with your type of project and if we have had experience with similar projects in the past.
5) What specific challenges do you think we will need to overcome on our project?
This is an important question and one that will allow you to peek into the near- future.
Our hope is to overcome any challenges by managing your expectations at the onset. So let’s make sure we do our due diligence, plan properly and communicate with one another throughout the process in order to avoid any misunderstanding.
6) Are you able to complete our project on time and on budget?
A reasonable inquiry and by asking this question, you’ll get a feel for how knowledgeable and experienced your designer really is.
Your budget is your investment in your home. We take this very seriously. That is why we begin every project with a budget. Time frames will vary depending on a lot of factors. The thing to know is that we will communicate these factors well to you so that there are no surprises.
7) Will we work with you or someone else?
Is this design firm too busy to take you on? Will you be shuffled around? How “hands on” will they be with your contractors, etc.?
At Talianko Design Group, we work as a team. You will know our team members well. We will work with you and on your behalf as your liaison and spokesperson when it comes to meeting with contractors and architects, etc. We are careful to manage our workload in order to keep on top of all of our projects properly. Sometimes, we will ask a new client to wait for a period of time for this reason.
8) How do you charge for your services?
There are many formulas for charging for design services. You’ll want to find someone who is completely transparent and open about this topic.
We are flexible in our approach to our fees. They are based on the scope of work required for each project and time required to complete the scope. On occasion, we work on a consulting-only basis and this is quoted by individual project.
9) Do you do the purchasing for us?
Some clients will want to do their own purchasing and some will not. This may be because they know that it takes a lot of time and follow up when furnishing a room or several rooms. You’ll want to find out if the designer you are considering has a system in place to manage this part of the process for you if that is what you choose.
We at Talianko Design Group, have industry specific software that helps us be very efficient when it comes to purchasing and project management. It is item based which means once the information is entered about each specific item, the remainder of the process such as proposals, purchase orders and invoices follow more easily. The more efficient we can be, the more time we have for the creative side of your project and the less it will cost you.
10) Are there any other fees for your services?
Again, an open and honest discussion about this topic at the time of the interview is a sign that you will not have hidden fees or unexpected charges down the road. An “open checkbook” arrangement such as hourly billing may harbor hard feelings and can ruin a relation between the client and the designer.
Before work begins, you will be presented with a Letter of Agreement, which will explain in detail, the scope of work that we will provide to you, the amount of time it should take and the fee required for this work. Occasionally, a client will add to the scope of work so a secondary arrangement will be made. This will be in writing, as we believe that everyone should always be on the same “page”. There are no secrets here.
In summary, here are 10 reasons why Talianko Design Group, LLC is your best choice:
1. Debbie Talianko is a Certified Interior Designer.
2. We use lots of tools to get to know you quickly.
3. We insist on helping you to create your budget.
4. Our team has 15 years of experience collectively.
5. Planning is key and we do our homework.
6. We have many systems in place, which help us work efficiently.
7. We are hands on and you will always know to whom you should turn.
8. Our approach to design fees and product pricing is flexible and transparent.
9. Our follow through is unrivaled.
10. We treat people the way we would want to be treated.