Having been self employed for a well over a year now, I thought it would useful (for me as much as anyone!) to put together a series of blog posts highlighting and expounding some of the things I’ve learned.
Clearly, my particular experience is within architecture, but I guess many of the principles will apply across a range of industries.
Ok, so, lesson 1…….
The client may not always be right but he is always the client.
Architecture wouldn’t exist if there were no clients to ultimately foot the bill. Fact.
It is possible to believe as an “expert” in any given field, that our advice is above reproach, or that our designs unquestionable. However, the ethos behind Lacey Architectural Services, is and always has been to provide my clients with spaces that work for THEM. Them, not me, and my resolve in this philosophy has only been strengthened over the last 15 months.
My job is to advise, not impose, and sometimes that means compromising the design solution that I believe to be correct in favour of what the client wants.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just a robot drawing what I’m told. Many of my clients come to me specifically for design advice, and I’m happy to speak up if I think they’re heading in the wrong direction. However as long as I am content that I’ve advised well, then I’m nearly always happy to go with the client if they happen to differ in opinion to me.
“Why though? Surely that means you’re compromising your professional integrity”
No it doesn’t. For at least two reasons:
1 – There could be any number of reasons why a client wants to go a different way. Of course, good design is important and we’d all like that commission where we’re told to just design whatever we want, but they are very few and far between. My clients are usually investing massive sums of money (relatively at least) and will often have to live with or even in the building I design for them, so who am I to ride roughshod over their wishes?
2 – I’m not (and intend never to be) so arrogant as to believe I’m always right. I had a conversation once with an architect who was complaining that the client kept “interfering” with the design of his own house!
If you’re funding the project you get the final say. If your commissioned to help and advise, then you help and advise to the best of your ability.
Architecture is important, but without clients architecture doesn’t exist, so lesson No.1 is stay client focused