Opportunities for Building Designers Part 7 of 20
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The last six blog posts have intended to point out that a great many opportunities exist for professional services before the normal design stage. This week we wrap up this portion of the series with ideas on how to provide designer selection consultation.
How should a church group, for instance, go about selecting someone to design a new church facility? What does a group of parishioners know about hiring talent?
Generally, not much.
They and a surprising number of other operations need professional help in retaining professional talent.
A brief discussion of this point with most groups who have the responsibility of hiring a designer will convince them that you are not in the running for the design commission itself but can do them a great deal of good by helping select the talent.
It is a way of meeting a lot of influential people and making yourself known, and you can charge regular consultation rates for this service.
How do you get the Designer Selection Consultation work?
Magic “contacts” again, of course, but these contacts are in a slightly different field. Perhaps your church is going to build, and you don’t want the headache.
You can be hired as a consultant for the designer selection since you know the kind of questions to ask and how to check up on qualifications.
Your minister knows other ministers. In the business world, there are probably very few design jobs you would pass up to sit on the committee of selecting a designer, but the more you consider this, the more possibilities you may find.
It gives you first-hand knowledge of how various designer and architects present themselves to a selection committee and the mistakes they make, as well as the excellent salesmanship they use.
As education in how to get jobs and how not to get them, the work is so valuable you can afford to do it without a fee, although regular consulting rates are quite good. If you have decided that this represents an exciting departure for you, let your contacts know that you are available. After their initial surprise, you may find a better reception than you thought.
How to prepare for the Designer Selection Consultation:
It is essential that you know the full nature of the design project to be performed and all the ramifications of time and money involved to ask intelligent questions of those interviewed.
Since the list of designers invited is generally known well in advance, you can quickly check out the reputation of those you do not know personally and can inspect some of the work they have mentioned in their letter agreeing to the interview.
Be aware of any extra costs involved, such as for engineering that may or may not be a part of the services offered by designers interviewed. In other words, put your expert knowledge on the other side of the desk for this task.
How to handle the Designer Selection Consultation work:
If you are performing this service in your community, you will probably be interviewing designers you already know.
There is no room for personal friendships in deciding to award a job to one person over another since you have been retained on a professional basis to render an equally professional judgment.
Be as objective as possible.
Help the person who is having a hard time selling himself and try to see through the salesmanship for the super salesman, but at all times remember that your client hired to help them get the best possible design services for their money.
The possibilities for commissions before the design phase are certainly not limited to those discussed up to now, but this is an area where most building designers have not ventured.
At the same time, it is an area where professionals can help can get better projects started on the right foot. You will do your clients and yourself a favor if you make those services available.