Behind-The-Scenes: Three Times You Must Put Your Foot Down With Clients

Dear Preston:
Being in this business for 35 years has taught me one thing: At one point or another, we are all going to have one or two wedding disaster stories. Mine were a direct result of my inability to insist on things I knew to be important.  A few years back, I had a client who owned one of the most beautiful properties I had ever seen. She insisted that she wanted to have an outdoor wedding around her pool.  My first question to her was, “What happens if it rains?”  Her response? “Don’t worry Preston. In all of my years here, it has never rained in September.”  I wasn’t sure I liked those odds, but I told myself that she was the client and to follow her lead.
Well, guess what?  The beautiful September morning transitioned into a torrential downpour hours before the event.  So strong was the rainstorm that the pool flooded which caused the dance floor to be totally hidden under water! This was my first lesson in learning how to hold my ground with clients.
In Today’s blog,  I would like to suggest three times it is necessary to put out foot down with our lovely clients:
I. Have a rain plan.  As showcased above, it is essential to show humility when dealing with Mother Nature.  If your client tells you not to have a tent as a part of a rain plan for an outdoor event, just let them know I have had events in the desert that needed one.
II. Nix post-event payments.  You should be paid (in full) two weeks before the event. No exceptions.
III. Demand a deposit before you show your designs.  Unless, of course, you want to give them away and risk the client taking them to another designer to copy.
It is important to be fair and reasonable to your client and yourself (and staff).  At times, we need to just say, “I’m sorry, but no.”
Questions: Do you ever show your designs Ideas before a deposit? Have you ever said no to a client? What do you insist on?
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