It surprises me, but often friends ask me to tell stories about life as a kitchen designer. Funny stories usually involve customers not valuing our input as professional designers and the calamitous results, or our punking other designers. See this previous blog.
Sometimes I’m astonished by how customers think about professional designers
Like the customer, whose budget was stretched, and I provided a free double trash can pull-out. Why spend $80,000 on a high-end kitchen and eliminate the trash can to save a few hundred. After the kitchen was finished, she decided that she could live without a pull-out. She asked to return it for a refund. When I reminded her that we gave it to her for free. She responded “Sure, but you can sell it to someone else.”
Another equally frugal customer had a multimillion-dollar vacation beach home. He talked to me while searching for a gas station selling gas for 4 cents a gallon cheaper.
Too often, our initial conversation with a customer starts with them saying they don’t need us.
They tell us that they know what they want, and they just need us to price it out. We then begin asking questions which make it completely obvious that they have no idea what they want. Do they want custom, semi-custom, or stock cabinets? What kind of wood do they want? Do they want inset, beaded inset, full overlay, or standard overlay cabinets? Which of our 8 cabinet lines do they want? Which of the thousands of door styles and finishes?
Every week, we get calls from people who would like to make an appointment day of or the next day. Same week appointments are rarely available with good kitchen designers. Often, these same callers have already ripped out their present kitchen, “just to get started”.
One time, a customer called during a company meeting, upset and wanting an appointment “ASAP”. Her husband had ripped out her kitchen! One of our designers agreed to come out immediately following our meeting. Upon arriving, he realized he had measured and designed her kitchen 16 months before. The kitchen was ripped out when he was out last.
During a 4th design meeting with a customer, she continually told me what her friend, who was a “designer”, recommended. Finally, I had to ask why she was getting advice from someone less experienced, and not even in our industry. I tried mentioning that I was an internationally recognized award-winning kitchen designer. So why was she not listening to my advice over her friends. She said, “good question”.
I routinely get referrals from past customers.
Their friends or family love the kitchen we did. They call to inquire about our design process. When customers find out we require a $150 deposit for the first 4 design appointments they want to think about it and shop around. Most customers don’t understand that this deposit is for our time and expertise as professional designers.
The moral of these stories is that people don’t want help and refuse to accept input from experienced professionals. This waste large sums of money on a poorly designed kitchen that often have many problems during their projects.
Hoping that you’ll let us, as professional designers, help you create an amazing kitchen.