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Business Advice

I was just offered a huge project, and I’m terrified—help!

business advice | May 22, 2018
Dear Sean, I’ve been in business for about five years after working for a big-name designer in my area following design school. Most of my projects are local and on the smaller side: living areas, kitchens, bathrooms, guest bedrooms and even a master bedroom. I’m really happy with my projects... By Sean Low

My clients are out-shopping me!

business advice | May 8, 2018
Dear Sean, After my presentation, my clients proceed to take all of my item selections and shop them. They then show me either where they can get the pieces for less or provide me with similar items that, they claim, are “just like” what I showed them. As if that were not infuriating enough, ... By Sean Low

How can I get my clients to stop texting me?

business advice | April 24, 2018
Dear Sean: I am seeking advice on how to deal with text messages from clients after office hours or on weekends. They might be trying to schedule an appointment, sending pictures of furnishings/fixtures they found online or out shopping and asking for input, etc. I am finding the majority of ... By Sean Low

How do I explain my new pricing structure?

business advice | April 10, 2018
Dear Sean, Last year, I decided to stop charging by the hour and instead charge a flat fee plus a percentage on purchases for a client’s project. It has been going great! However, one of my old clients has come back with a fantastic new project and told me she expects the pricing model to rem... By Sean Low

My inexperienced assistant is opening her own firm

business advice | March 27, 2018
Welcome to our latest installment of BUSINESS ADVICE from industry expert Sean Low. Do you have a design business dilemma? REACH OUT TO US, and your question could be answered by Sean in an upcoming column. Dear Sean, One of my former assistants, a millennial, has moved on to start her own... By Sean Low

When is it OK to fire a client?

business advice | March 13, 2018
Dear Sean, My client hired me to assist with her kitchen remodel. I provided her with a detailed creative brief and a preferred list of vendors. I offered to manage the project for her, but she declined. Well, she did not hire any of my vendors and has “edited” my brief to the point that it ... By Sean Low

Are shopping trips a good sales tool, or a total time-waster?

business advice | February 27, 2018
Dear Sean, What is your approach to shopping trips? I find that I often befriend my clients, and it can become difficult to bill for time spent shopping with a “friend.” What does the ideal shopping trip look like? Are they outdated or a good sales tool? Signed, Shopping Buddy Dear S... By Sean Low

How to handle indecisive clients

business advice | February 13, 2018
Welcome to our latest installment of business advice from industry expert Sean Low. Do you have a design business dilemma? Reach out to us, and your question could be answered by Sean in an upcoming column. What are your tips on addressing issues that slow down my work that are outside my co... By Sean Low

What do you do when you haven’t been paid?

business advice | February 1, 2018
EAL’s latest columnist has the answer for every designer’s worst nightmare: What to do when you haven’t been paid. David Adler knows. He has been practicing law for 20 years with a focus on helping designers, creative professionals and organizations solve their legal problems. His practice fo... By David Adler

Why write a design statement?

business advice | January 30, 2018
Dear Sean Low, I get a lot of phone inquiries from prospective clients wanting me to share my pricing structure. When I follow their lead and tell all, I often hear nothing back. Do you recommend sharing everything during that first phone call, or do you wait until you meet them face-to-face... By Sean Low
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