Client, Contractor, Creative: Different Ways to Do A Project

We are in an era where opinions are rampant. We have blogs, magazines, reality TV shows, and television stations with reality shows that are dedicated to the home improvement and construction market. Much of this information we are exposed to is managed by way of promotional sponsorship, where a supplier or manufacturer supplies free product in exchange for name drop, or with an edit on the cutting room floor, where a producer is splicing together a story with an angle or a spin.

The Three Legged Stool

In order to have a successful result for a design and construction project, you need three essential components to work together. The Client is the money and the decision maker. The Contractor takes the money and constructs the project. The Creative takes the money and provides design solutions. All three legs of this stool make for a sturdy and solid foundation. Take one leg away, the whole thing falls apart.

Design-Build Firms

Design-Build firms are businesses where the creative and contractor are managed under one roof, or business name. There may be sub-contractors, but everything from the direction, process, agreements, purchasing, and management is directed under one business. These types of projects offer the perception of more service, integration between departments, and may be met with higher costs to the Client.

Clients should expect to see a minimum $5mil insurance policy here.

Joint Agreements

For those who want to know, this is how we operate.

Joint Agreements are where creative and contractor are separate businesses and may have worked together before, which has benefit. This is the most common practice amongst creative and construction professionals and the Client benefits because both legs of this stool are autonomous from each other with a direct line to the Client. Joint Agreements offer the Client more control and usually are more financially viable because they do not have larger overheads like a Design-Build firm.

Clients should expect to see separate insurance policies from each that are not lower than each parties part of the project budget.

Designer acting as Contractor

This set-up can be common in some markets, but there are cautionary tales about this process because it is about liability. There may be some interior designers where this works well, but in my experience it is best for each of the legs of the stools to work in their own zones of genius.

Clients should expect to see a minimum $5mil insurance policy here too.

Seeking The Right Professional Advice

A dear industry friend of mine likes to remind us about the difference between opinions, advice, and recommendations and I’m inclined to agree with her conclusions. Opinions are based upon emotion and ego, not on fact or details. Advice is based on a broad-stroke type of situation and it may not be specific. A recommendation takes all facts and analysis, plus professional experience, and provides a solution, or path forward.

So, with all this media opinion, it’s no wonder why this industry and design process is confusing to most home and business owners.

If you want to talk to us about the right options for your design project, you should book a call with Corey and find out more.