Renovators’ Roundtable, Vancouver 2015

Contractors and Designers – Working Together for Better Business

Designers and contractors often work on projects together, but are they really making the most of their relationship? Panelists Ian MacDonald and Scott Lumby of Fifth Element Constructions, and Amber Kingsnorth of MaK Interiors joined us at the Vancouver Renovators’ Roundtable to discuss how working with designers can save your time, reduce your headaches, and lead to new business. Here are some key takeaways from that session.

Despite some misconceptions (designers cost too much money or add another cook in the kitchen), the truth is that designers can save you time on the job, meaning you’re able to take on more projects.

The simplest way designers save you time is by working with the client to get key design decisions wrapped up, and the materials delivered on time. “Where exactly do you want your heated towel holder? Will it encroach on the toilet or cabinet?” says Lumby. Too often, “the client’s put in the position of having to make a quick and rash decision, or hold up the construction. A good designer will have all the details fleshed out ahead of time,” says Lumby.

“No more managing design-decisions. That’s what I do best. You should be doing what you do best,” says Mak.

Designers also help weed out clients with unrealistic expectations for what they want will cost. “The vast majority of homeowners have no idea how much renovations cost. ‘I have $20,000 for a kitchen and I want granite countertops,’” says Lumby.

At the end of the job, if everything went well, you’ll have a new partner to share business with. “All things being equal, we’d rather do business with people we know and like. Amber becomes part of our marketing team and we become part of hers,” says MacDonald.