Let's be honest: is it possible, at the same time that you know the client better and your expectations for the project, already present your costs? Many professionals believe so, however, it is important to review that position. If you also think the ideal time to price your work is the first meeting with the customer, know that this may be a strategy that could hurt your prospects. How can you work out the value of a project at the same instant you are familiarizing yourself with the demands of the customer and the needs program, for example? Without knowing the client's profile, his preferences and particularities, any hit runs the risk of being a "shot in the dark".
In addition, the chances of you making a mistake in your budget composition increase and can compromise the work as a whole, making you have a minimum gain or can not make a profit from doing the job. The first meeting should serve you in many ways, but especially so that it is possible to know in detail what is being requested. Even if you know your client beforehand or have already had contacts by phone or email, it is in the presence of any doubt that you undo and you can identify all the variables present in the project.
Technically, you need to know details of future work: the purpose of the project, location information or responsibilities on the implementation, for example. This way, you are able to outline the total amount of dedicated hours required, necessary offsets, or even how many of your team members will be assigned to the project. Information related to your client's personal taste, especially linked to finishing and finishing, is for moments after the contract is closed, but can also be discussed at the initial meeting as future design guidelines.
However, there are details about the client and their routines that need to be considered when designing any budget. What is your availability, for example, for meetings and project monitoring? Can meetings be held during the day or do I have to schedule activities at an alternate time? Is the customer able to move to your office or do you need to find him? In addition, trying to identify customer reactions to everyday situations of a work or renovation, for example, is a good indication of how they will behave during the course of the project.
Therefore, measuring the size of work does not depend only on design issues, but it is also something that relates to the client and its "complexity". The combination of these factors needs to be considered so that its price faithfully expresses its costs and the gain necessary to make the work worthwhile. Thus, it is foreseeable that the architect's first encounter with the client can not have the budget as a guideline: there is a risk that the client, by disagreeing with the value presented, simply does not return. So, consider this initial meeting as a time for you to meet the customer and their demand. And that's it!
Take advantage of this initial meeting to present (either to your new client or even to those who already work with you) your work routine and all the moments that make up your service. It seems obvious, but "start from the beginning": familiarize the client with the steps of a project from conception to final steps, making him understand the complexity of an architect's work. Conquer the customer at all times and make him realize that you are the best professional for the demand he has.
Meetings with prospective clients are commonplace in the routine of an architect, and for them to be fruitful, you need to be always prepared. Be always ready to present yourself with quality and organize your portfolio in a compelling way. Think of all the details to win over the client by choosing a quiet place to meet. However, do not forget: you invest time and prepare to receive your client in comfort, however, there is no guarantee that such a meeting will be converted into a new project.
If your doubt is how to get around this situation, let's give you an idea that is the result of our own professional experiences. One strategy to mitigate losses is to forecast a small fee on the first meeting. It may seem strange, but this meeting could be equivalent, for example, to a consultancy you charge about the value of your working hour. If the contract is not closed, at least you end up being paid for the time spent.
In the reverse situation, if the meeting becomes a project, you will simply discount that amount in the budget to be calculated, integrating it into the final value. There is no exact formula for collections, however, valuing your work is critical for any project to be profitable. Another tip: each professional counts on his ways of elaborating prices, but does not find his variables only in tables and static data.
It is important to have references to establish your price, however, understand the importance of the moment and the design for your customer, knowing each step of the project. A well-crafted conversation, with availability so you can understand your client's behavior, has great value in organizing your work. Remember that you are being hired to materialize someone's dream, so paying close attention from the very beginning is important for good results.
After tracing a customer profile and knowing the project in detail, you are able to set up a budget with quality and should schedule a new meeting with the client. Next to the budget, present the scope of the proposal and general guidelines for the development of the work. Always prefer a face-to-face meeting, avoiding to the maximum your budget by email or telephone, unless your client is in another state or country. The "eye in the eye" is the best way to present any job proposal and undoubtedly the best strategy for anyone who wants to close good deals!