Avoiding unhappy marriages

Perth 13th June 2011

In our lighting design profession we are always in the process of building durable relationships with new clients. Generally our relationships are instant, the result of a speedy dating process. There is seldom a long term courtship between client and consultant. The client goes by our references or referrals and we go by their credentials (if we can!) and if we like what we see (or hear) the marriage is subsequently concluded. It is not  surprising that many of these “marriages” end unhappily and sometimes in divorce. We definitely have been “dumped” a few times in the past due to irreconcilable differences. We have also in the past replaced a relationship “partner” due to unhappiness with the former.

I touch on this topic today as in an unusual move today one of my new potential clients is actually suggesting a courtship first before deciding on our appointment. He has preselected us (and two others) based on our references and passed track record and will pay us a fee to prepare a concept. Based on the concepts they will finalise the actual appointment for the whole project. A bit like the “Farmer wants a wife” TV series concept. Test your future partner in different situations; get to know them before you tie the knot. They told me they had had unhappy marriages with lighting consultants before and now wished to do due diligence by engaging their preselected candidates first before deciding who to appoint.

I think this is a great approach, specifically because they value the consultants’ expertise by paying for the “courtship”. They appreciate that we need to put in the work and reward that with a nominal fee, regardless whether we tie the knot later or not. That is how it should be. Too often I have refused or rejected projects where we are asked to come up with a concept as part of our fee proposal! Considering that conceptual work is a key element of our services and earnings it is in my opinion not right to ask us to develop a concept for free…anyhow we do not entertain speculative design. Therefore this clients approach is refreshing and professional and augers good for the future should we be appointed 🙂

In Light Watch today beautiful Western Australia. As I flew to Perth I had the most exquisite view of the coastline with its deep blue water and sandy beaches. There are by the way some amazing webcams available on line that let you connect with world; www.earthtv.com is one of them…

Light Watch 109: Coral Coast Western Australia

13. June 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting design practice | Leave a comment

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