Tactics to Get Adequately Paid for Your Services - Designers Show #105

designers show Jul 10, 2023
Tactics to Get Adequately Paid for Your Services - Designers Show #105

In this Designers Show, Design Build expert Kevin Transue and the rest of the Designers Show team take part in a lively discussion on design and construction professionals' tactics to get adequately paid for their services.

As a successful Design & Build Contractor, Kevin has the knowledge and experience to show you what it takes to make the world of residential design.

Welcome 00:01
Reconnecting since the Chief Experts Summit 02:28
How to Juggle Multiple Projects 04:44
Project Management Softwares 12:26
Pricing Projects 23:40
Generate Passion by Developing Interest 54:15
Reviewing Contracts with your Clients 59:09
We are all a Resource for One Another 1:01:05
Join us for Upcoming Trainings! 1:04:25

foreign we're live all right no we're not live you can say whatever you want no we're not live okay oh yes we are yes we are live nice wow uh welcome everybody to the designer show this beautiful July 7th um coming out of Kansas City here the weather is beautiful and I wish you well wherever you are I get to talk today um which is always fun for me I get to speak a little bit about the things that I find most interesting about the design build interest in industry but I also have John and Renee here to help me Robin is someplace in the United Kingdom right now sipping on a pint of some kind of an English stout or something so and by the way it's like six or seven o'clock in the evening there so yeah yeah she was having tea and crumpets earlier uh sorry if that's offensive to anybody that actually knows what I'm talking about because I don't um but uh there's Paul hi Paul um so I am interested today in talking to you about uh some things that have to do with the business end of the design technical technology domain I am open to all questions and answers anything that I can can uh talk about is fair game and you've probably seen the invitation that we would like to talk about things about oh the process of a construction project and who benefits from having that process how does that how does the customer actually benefit from having that process what kinds of services you can offer where do you fit in in the process versus the other people who are involved in that process and the one that everybody cares about which is how much should you charge and how can you profit from this adventure so any of the topics that were in the original list of questions are fair game and I would love for this to be a open conversation not only with John and Renee but also with anybody else who wants to join in so without further ado what would we like to talk about Renee John do you have anything in particular you'd like to start with uh how about you mentioned before about reconnecting you want to go ahead and start there sure I would actually um I am I miss everybody we had a great Summit in February and uh I thoroughly enjoyed that um sorry I lost my screen I thoroughly enjoyed that two weeks that we had there uh a week for for each of you in attendance but John and Renee and I were there for the whole two weeks made some great friends and some great networking but as happens with these things they kind of fall away as we get back into our daily lives and we start missing each other um I know for me I miss all of you so before this meeting I decided I was going to just open up the possibility of reconnection uh I created a simple calendly post or calendly link that uh uh did we get that John I'm going to see if yes I have it right here okay good actually share my screen actually go ahead and post it again and then okay there it is so the link that's popping up from from Dan and Renee which is in the chat stream over to the side of your screen is uh just a calendly calendar scheduling link and I'm inviting you all to make a connection with me call me up to tell me about anything whether it's uh the new the new rabbit that your kids got or whether it's uh you would like to talk about an issue or question or challenge that you're having with your business but really anything is open because I like people and I miss talking to you all so please link with me um all right I call Kevin and for the most part it's pretty fun to talk to him you've got to have a sense of humor with these things especially when you're talking with Renee it can be it can be a good time so please call uh talk to me there's a good question on the screen here for you Kevin uh it's from Nikki Kelly morning I'd love to hear any of you talk about how you juggle schedule projects and how you like to plan out your year like I think that's that's a great place to start some people have projects that are massive uh you know these are things things are going to take over a year just to get planned and scheduled other people have projects that they're that they're scheduling you know four five six seven eight ten projects a month and it's going to be a very different process uh I know for me my challenge was always trying to figure out not only how to capture the initial introduction and meeting but then how to follow it through and you guys ever experienced that where suddenly you realize that Mrs Jones is calling to ask what your progress is and you can't remember who Mrs Jones is all the time all the time so that one uh that idea of how do we get control of this there there are CRM tools out there customer tools out there that you can keep track of to keep track of the sales cycle there's a very expensive processes like um say you'll say what's that product called the big the big one Builder Builder Trends Salesforce Salesforce Builder Trend uh co-construct but it is no more um and job tread things like that that are built specifically for uh for maintaining your your workflow from beginning to end but also there are companies like my company was a niche company if I had five to ten projects a year that was a lot uh so for for me I tried some of those tools like Builder Trend and co-construct and I found them to be not only very very expensive for my type of work but also pretty cumbersome and I was able to look at that as in a different way where I would use a hierarchical checklist or um I suppose you could even do it in a spreadsheet but a simple way is keeping things simple where you can simply move through the phases of a project from the initial introduction to the uh from the client call to the initial internet and Shuffle It Forward to bring those things uh to always maintain a list of what's current and what's coming so that gets me through the immediate that gets me through the present workflow um there's also then how do you look at that over time what does that mean to you over the course of six months or a year or whatever you're planning for a lot of us have seen work this last year or two that was pushing us out to where we're scheduling for 2024 in the beginning of 2023. so we have to be able to look at that and not only project the time but also project the value of those opportunities and where that was gonna where that was gonna benefit your business down the road that gets that allows you by doing things like that and looking at things that are a year out six months out you're in half out it enables you to look at where you want the business to go or not go in that time and be able to be more selective about what you take if you've got business six months to a year out you can be more selective if you're looking at business you know a year and a half away you can choose what you're going to accept or not accept to put on the list in the first place those are all I have a question yeah how do you keep the people that you've scheduled out a year year and a half engaged with you good question yeah well you definitely can't say I'll call you in a year and a half exactly yeah that doesn't work but you can um let them know initially I I always would want to let them know that sorry I just ran over my dog sorry buddy um you want to let them know that uh you are scheduling that far out and is that going to be okay or not an issue because all things being fair you completely understand if that doesn't work for them and they need to consider someone else and by the way I'll even help you find that someone if it if it helps you right um I'll I'll add to that I tell clients that you need a hard start date it's six months but usually I'll get to you start getting to you a little bit sooner and I even explain why I say our industry is such that our clients push us out our contractors push us out everybody's shifting schedules so it's really hard to pick Hard dates and because everybody's shifting schedules all of a sudden One schedule frees up and I get some time available to me which means because of that and because of how that industry moves I have to overbook and because I'm overbooked I either sometimes have freedom that came earlier than I thought it was going to come or sometimes everybody hits me at once so as long as you're okay with that ebb and flow you know I might get to you sooner than my hard start date and then I usually do and so if I've got a project that's say six months out someone might hear from me in two weeks and I might just be sending them an idea because I thought of their project real quick just one little tiny little blurb of info that might make them feel like oh they're thinking of me you know I I completely agree with you in terms of setting that expectation it's it's really important to do that but it's also really important to do it in a very human empathetic way like you did it's good to it's good to say um you know I'm I'm gonna try but honestly uh I it will be a challenge for me to go to to you know establish anything where I can make a claim that I could be there sooner um is that going to work for you you know etc etc then I think John's question really had to do with okay if if they are a go at that point and then they're saying okay we'll wait then what do you do in that you know 18 months that's in between so I like to um if there was something that I found I ran across something that was interesting to me and it flagged my memory and I said you know this would be good in the Jones job when that comes about you know it's maybe something vague it might be I saw a new way of of uh shedding rain off of uh off of an arbor roof or something but that's what they wanted was a way to cover their roof that they could open and close it I will send them the information about that that just tells them um I'm thinking about you yeah and uh and what happens with them the perception I think from people is that you care and that you actually understood their needs and you are solidifying your relationship with them got a question here and I want to mention one that I know that I forget to mention in all shows which I know might be helpful to people um zendesk bought a software called cell and it's great for individuals certainly can use it but for the teams out there I know that it has the option to track your phone calls and it is looking for your clients and so it will track not only phone calls it'll track all communication text phone calls emails to your client from any team member so that if you're someone that's trying to just Wrangle in your whole project team and figure out who's contacted who when it will track all that for you and I mean that's that's one and I feel like every one of these softwares requires another software to get all the things that you want out of it and that gets really expensive but um so that's my take on that someone else mentioned um have you thought about House Pro if Robin was here she would say no no no and I would agree yeah you'd agree too yeah and then quite a while ago and then I I'd let you guys take the floor on this if you have any other ideas on this one on the uh project so the cell the cell one you mentioned Renee is it a it's an app right yeah and is it SEL l or c-e-l-l um I think it's s-e-l-l and it's zendesk and I mean it's supposed to be sales CRM tool um I just know that my old company used it to track all communication to clients and that worked really well when you can remember when you talked to someone and where you talked to them because nowadays clients get me from Facebook Messenger they get me from text they get me from email they get me from all kinds of things and tracking that data it can be really challenging across you know so many clients not only not only for your own memory and your own sanity when you're trying to talk with someone but also uh to register and re and record and measure where you're getting your interest from is also very important which is the reason that I dropped um what were we just talking about House Pro it was it was beautiful for window shopping what I did was it I had a time in there where I had tens of thousands of people that had seen and captured my work but I probably got all of about two real physical leads out of that and what that really meant was I was giving away everything that was my competitive advantage to everyone else who said hey Mr Builder I hope it's something that looks just like this so I would uh I would prefer especially if you've got a competitive advantage in the form of something aesthetic I'd prefer to to protect that a little bit the um I'm sorry back to the links back to maintaining your connections where they came from and uh and how to uh keep your sanity there like you said there are so many possibilities now that in my single line checklist I record who that who that is what it was about that project that I found interesting in that initial conversation uh what that person's real pain point was in that conversation what are they what are they seeking what's their time frame what's their anticipated budget for that project and uh something about that connection whether they found me on Facebook and we've we have decided to stay in touch that way or whether I'm supposed to call back in three months all of those things help me when I go back and look at that list to remember what I'm supposed to do with that list you're kind of tying into what Jeff just said here let me just saying yeah there you go yeah and and absolutely I know this is strange but I don't understand why tools like um Google Calendar don't have the ability to take something that is a task in making an event or something that's an event and turn it back into a task I tend to walk down the street think of something throw it on my calendar and as a effectively a to-do right I'm thinking you know if I put 10 of these to Do's in there that are all separated by 30 minutes a piece that is a full day and then they don't get done that way so I just shuffle them to the next day on the calendar and shuffle them to the day after that on the calendar it works like a to-do list but it sure would be nice if these tools allowed you to bounce things back and forth between real task list and an event but they don't so that remains a challenge sometimes I I use what I call the hot client method and it's it's not as fun as it sounds but it's who's giving me the most heat at this moment that's what I should work on I like the name but uh yeah I think I think that used to be called the squeaky wheel um yeah so if they're not hot under the collar completely yeah my previous company I was literally called the grease man for the squeaky wheel analogy nice that was my job I could see that I can see that I've seen you fairly greasy at times now Renee's a great guy um I have the most admiration for him if I abuse him it's only out of friendship likewise so uh so let's see someone's asking um can we explain why we don't like house it sounds like they're really considering you know going that route and you know I would always encourage someone to give something a try because things change um I didn't like it before maybe it's improved yeah different areas have better success with it than other areas it didn't work at all for me and I think I think different genres also have uh better effects than others I think if your interior design you've got you know it's a great tool for that um I didn't find it to be particularly good from an architectural design standpoint and I found it to be very expensive the client the type of client I was getting from it well and no offense everyone and you can specify what you're looking for in the clients but if you don't uh for instance our work was never simple everything that we did was very complex pretty kind of over the top and all of a sudden we were getting deck requests I mean basic deck requests like a deck replacement or whatever we were getting those five out of six of the of the times that they would call it's about a deck I don't understand why am I getting all these deck requests when we're specifically looking for large-scale projects that are a hundred thousand dollars and more and all of a sudden that well turned out somebody on their end whoever our current representative was had changed something in one of the specifications for us and suddenly we were getting all of these other things so you have to keep up with that you have to stay close to your sales representative and that sales representative you have to understand also you know the one that you got introduced to yesterday they started the day before that so they don't know a whole lot about what they're working with either and like any of us when we start a new tool we make a lot of mistakes so you have to you have to stay up with things like that no matter what service or tool that you pick and make sure that you're getting out of it what you're expecting to get out of it okay um I have several people mentioned using Builder Trend um and that brings me to a thought that I want to share which is Builder train can be great but the cost adds up pretty quickly and for a small firm um a lot of times it doesn't make sense and what I would encourage this I know some of you out there may have or some of you out there may know someone that may have had a software built for you specifically for your construction team that caters to your needs and a lot of us out here have those same needs and this is part of being in an asset pool is let's get everybody in touch with someone that might have already invested in a system that works very specifically to what we do so if you're someone out there that knows someone someone out there that's developed that before um shoot us a message call Kevin yeah call Kevin that for us um my wife and I came from a 20-year career in the information technology world before we decided to start getting back to what I dearly love which is designing and building and when we made that change we brought with us 20 years worth of business experience uh from the corporate world and their processes The Good the Bad and the Ugly with us tried most of them one way or another through the course of our design build career which was another 25 years and in that process there was a lot of things learned that taught me for a small boutique company Simplicity is better now you may find that you love the toys or the complexity or the system or whatever it is and that's great but it seemed to me that every time we tried anything from Builder Trend to job Trend job tread to co-construct to whatever product X was what we found was that you pretty much have to hire somebody full time to just to keep up with the software yeah and we could do the same thing as a boutique company we could do the same thing using simple off the desk tools like spreadsheets and word decks you know so we decided to go towards simplicity and we have always been happy about that in fact my wife now works for one of our competitors she chose to go back to doing what she does best which is production management project management and she works for a competitor and was finding that the complexity of what they're experiencing in their tool um she would come back and say I'm so glad that we took an approach that took us back to something simple this is really difficult for a small company to maintain so just a couple thoughts on those I want to pin this let's pin this one from Justin ball real quick he's talking about some pricing so he's saying um he's suggesting you work off a retainer give a good faith estimate with an outline and collect that retainer and have a clause that is hourly billed after exceeding a certain total numbers of the estimate and then if you do if you get objections for that do a flex cap which is client sharing risk 50 50 if refund under the estimate shared 50 50 if over the estimate take this and give three options in one contract a fixed price a time in material on retainer Flex cap I know that I don't like billing straight time so if I'm billing straight time I'm going to be really clear that I collect a margin on that time and that margin changes over you know different periods of time I I like that approach um Justin I don't know you but I'm just going to guess that you're probably more of an a-type personality than a b type personality that you are able to look at those kinds of things and break them down into a system and act on that system and if you're that type of Personality fantastic I know Renee and I know that for him um he will just as likely find himself at four o'clock in the morning working on a project as he will at four o'clock in the afternoon consequently his time recording abilities give way to his passion and his passion puts in 10 times the hours he's going to bill for no matter what so so uh so I know that because I I follow that same pattern but not to the point of his obsession so um so I think if you are somebody that does things systematically you can look at some very specific um processes like that and execute them and and be able to do everything that you hope to for the rest of us Mortals um I found that uh my main intent was to do value accounting and um look at what I was providing for the for the project and feel good about it and if I could feel good about that price that's what I charged so that that allowed me then to not have to record specifically what I was doing every minute uh it just said you know this is this is what I'm going to charge you to do this project and if I got that amount of money I was happy whether I was working at four in the morning or four in the afternoon actually I still follow that deal I still design I'm still designing I've got four projects on the table right now uh but I you know I followed that method that I I just charge what I believe it's worth and and then I'm happy yeah if Robin were here she'd be like no charge every ever ever I track every hour but she's very much process oriented and yeah very much an A type person so it works for her and that's great that's great I can't see that one's better than the other I do do say I read into that first part of your comment um Justin I read that you do things on a retainer base and that implies that you've learned a lesson of giving away your um what's the word intellectual capital and you should never never never never never never give away your intellectual Capital that said it's hard to do because no matter what when you're sitting there at that first meeting you're giving away something you're you're you're allowing them to see into your head about something but when it comes down to something that you're going to actually spend time producing and handing off that is always done under contract and it's always done paid first and given later uh so I I redid my contracts this last week again for a troubling client someone uh earlier in the comments said that they had a really tough week they got fired by a client and they and they ended up firing a client I was very close to doing the same and now I've adjusted my contracts and it's so it's all experience based and as soon as you run into that issue yeah go make some adjustments in your system so that you're covering yourself because it's impossible to know even with historical data that's 15 years running long it's impossible to know when you're going to run into that client that goes over your limits and you don't have any way of capping those limits right yeah there's nothing like experience to teach you wisdom yeah and then um this is Mike some builders make life hard by telling clients the design will be free if they will go with that Builder and I think that this is specifically coming from a design build uh firm and I know Kevin you were from design build I was from design build I'm not sure about John yep and it's yeah that's a different world we never valued the design fees and because we rolled it into the construction costs because if we we didn't undercut designers then we got the construction job and and we'd make our profit there okay we we differ in that but I I never never took that approach I I tried to very much advocate for design being the most valuable number of the most valuable rate that you're going to pay it's the most expensive number of dollars per hour you're going to pay and it provides the most value to the project without a good design you cannot have a good project but um I can see why you would do that for the sales standpoint but I think the other side of that was is by presenting the value of the design I also sold the project in my case then people would hire us because of the quality of the design and the build just sort of fell into place but I could see it working the other way too depending on your product so how did you get your foot in the door because so it's the same it's the same overall thing that happened was the design fee ended up being what it was supposed to be in the end but the foot and the door part of that was that this is our nominal design fee and it never ended up being that price it was double that price um well so again I think part of it just has to do with salesmanship and I don't mean cheesy salesmanship but I just mean good storytelling salesmanship where you're letting them know what they're up against but some of those things and you know we can talk about um value and cost all day long and and we'll hit about 80 percent of what people are looking for there's just so much to consider but some of those things are that um that I would definitely qualify people on the phone before I would ever leave the house if I was selling garage doors that qualification might have to do with the believability and whether I felt like that product was going to sell to those people at at the price of of our projects it was more a matter of finding out if they were committed to us which meant that I was going to talk to them about what I believed was possible based on a completely blank phone call and then I was going to let them know that if I come to your home there's a 250 dollar fee for me to come discuss my ideas with you and the people who said you know thanks but no thanks we're probably never going to be my client in the first place so my foot was in the door as soon as somebody said Okay I accept that fee well and they needed to qualify you too yes be it from some recommendation or we're going to tie back into like Jolene Services where your you know your social media and your websites look so good um that that's something that qualifies you to them in some way okay and this might be a really good time to point out that Jolene is um Jolene who does the marketing for this show as well as many other things is uh doing a help me out here guys it's a class right um on on marketing that is coming up here pretty soon that hasn't happened yet yeah okay yeah okay yeah and although I don't I don't know if you have a link to it John but I don't have anything you could that you could put up there but uh uh again if you stay in touch with um Chief experts and you've seen what Jolene can do from a marketing standpoint um the class should be a really good class for anybody who's interested in taking the taking their work to that next level I'll see if I can grab that while we're kind of looking at stuff and then um someone just said let's see if you do charge by project you would still want to keep track of ours yeah I always take a census of hours I always go back and look um yeah it's still it's still good to know that the only way that you can go with a ballpark price of what you believe the design is going to cost is to have some idea of what you typically spend on it so however you rate that um I think I probably have taught in my classes that there are you know five or six different ways that I can I can show you that all come out to what you hope to make annually you know so there's just different ways of thinking about it in which everyone's most comfortable for you is the right one for you or your company um posted the link but this is in the comments this is for the Skyrocket your lead generation course that doesn't look like the right link Renee is that the wrong one my URL says Skyrocket your lead generation I thought that was what it was that's not what it says something that you put posted there oh interesting I'll try again okay so we got avoid desperate flippers I was lumped into the subs with a 60-day payout after sales say what sorry the guy he thought he was King he's always got some flavorful comments to get him out to one of our events yeah we did are you coming next time Mike it's uh we're doing the uh we're doing the annual uh Summit again in late February late February the first week of March first week of March I think that's what it is especially some of you regulars you should come come hang out with us uh you'll learn a ton and have a great time in the process I got a comment from Norman jamesona and I'll comment to this I'm charging for the hour can be great but for Renee most people uh does not reimburse them any that many hours of time learning the ability to be super efficient um I do separate some amount of time on every project and designate it as overhead where the overhead is me improving my system so I'm more efficient for the next project and over the last two or three years that percentage of time spent improving efficiency has grown versus the percentage of time working and the capital is the same so I'm not making any more than I did the previous year but I am faster so at some point maybe I'll stop working on becoming faster when the rate of return dwindles right and then just get to the grind and push through more projects well spend more time considering what I'm working on as I pointed out before uh I will never John will never and none of you will ever reach Renee's level of obsession so so the idea that he will ever stop working to become more efficient is is is insane um I believe the comment you made at the summit last time was uh if you have to hit two keystrokes instead of one then you're gonna find a way to reduce that so uh so yeah good luck with good luck with slowing down but sometimes I do hit a point where the amount of time spent trying to make a system faster doesn't equate right the rate of return is so small that it's it's no longer even fun for me um so that's when I move on to something else yeah I like what you're saying Norman obsession is best is the best way to describe passion and vice versa um I like this other one uh earlier it was a kiss uh the acronym test for keep it simple yeah yeah yeah uh I think I think um there was there was a how much time will we get um there was a show on late night talk show and when my kids were very little and my wife was going to bed early and I was busy washing dishes I'd watched this late night talk show and it was Charlie Rose who no matter what you think of him as a person he was a great interviewer had a great show and his the people that he had on were unbelievably good at their fields they weren't um you know just strangers pulled off the street one of them was a photographer Cliff something a world-renowned photographer and when um and when Charlie asked him in the middle of his interview what is it about people like you people you or people like you that make you as good as you are what makes you different and he immediately responded without hesitation obsession and I so agree with that the uh I I believe that Obsession gets a bad name um when it's tied with the other letters uh and it's it's suddenly uh it's tied with c and d and it's now called a compulsive disorder um then it might get it might get bad but if you just look at it by itself I don't consider it a disorder or compulsive I just really like Obsession um because it uh it allows me to go deep into the things that I want to go deep into and become very very good at those things so I celebrate Obsession and that's a flag I will carry to my death feel free to chime in and agree with me Renee you're hanging me out here no I was just yeah give it a little pause I was just um letting it sink in it seeing where it took me so so this is a really hard question here but do you want to tackle it sure can we can we get more exact what should you charge exactly what you're worth um if you are worth 15 an hour charge fifteen dollars an hour but if you look out there and say I'm not charging enough then you're not um so if you if you believe you hit your your number and you're comfortable with that and that number will change over time if you're new into the industry your number is going to be low lower than somebody who is experienced um and has developed efficiencies and processes and things to to do the same task in less time or With A Better Effort so the answer to how much should you charge is going to depend on what you're trying to do what you're trying to accomplish and what the market will bear but I will suggest to you say that one last thing what the market will bear is a is a really good point yeah because I will suggest to you that the nature of a designer and the design build business is that we are not our personalities are not charging what we're worth uh just as somebody said Renee was talking about how they might underprice the design in order to build it into the the build contract somebody else said it devalues the designer the Common Thread there is that people in this industry tend to not charge as much as they should for what they're delivering because the public doesn't perceive it to have that kind of value I think the key to how much you should charge is to learn how to promote your expertise in such a way that you built the value into the conversation which would bring me to what did you do on your last project to set yourself apart from anyone else that that client has ever worked with in any industry why was your service so nice to them that it would stick in their mind and may recommend you right and I mean that's a that's a big thing to me is how well are you treating your clients that they might go tell their friends that might want to go hire you for their next project if that's what your business model even is I used to deliver something completely unexpected with every project something that that the client didn't even know they were going to get I would deliver as a part of that project and you know suddenly they got a handmade polished uh uh zebra wood countertop between their vanities or something that they didn't even see coming and it would so floor them that they still talk about it 20 years later you know that those are those are big deals or I would uh I would give my clients a case of wine as a parting gift or something like that just things that do set you apart I think um when you look at that like what did I do that set me apart and and made them want to call me again uh one client who were at the time that we did this project as he wrote his last check in the driveway he said to me he handed me the check and he said if you would have told me ahead of time that you were going to Triple my budget and I would still like you I would never have believed you [Laughter] that's great that's a great one but there we were you know celebrating and having a good time and that um that we had just finished a 455 thousand dollar basement finish and uh when we went two years later when he decided that he wanted to put a million and a half dollar Edition on his house guess who he called you know even though I had tripled his last budget so um it's important to you know to it's important to how do I say this confidently eloquently and persuasively put your value out there yeah here's here's the thought as a I was more interested in being a Craftsman than I was in being a businessman uh and it's just I think it's the same way for designers sometimes and and you kind of had this happen to you Kevin if you can get somebody between you and the price for at least a short season so that you can get that done it I think it would help a lot I later on in my career I thought man I should have had somebody in between me and given the person the price that I could lay this off on you know my my boss says I can't go any lower than this because I was always interested in the craft you know yeah and you had that happen to you with your with your friend that said you're worth two hundred dollars an hour or whatever it was you know yeah yeah you got somebody in between you and the price and it encouraged you to to get going there so find somebody that you trust that has a more of a business mind that knows what kind of money you have to make to make your business successful not your craft but your business and I think that would be very helpful that was a beautiful segue to me doing a uh a plug for myself um that that is what I am doing these days is selling my services uh basically selling the wisdom that I've gained over four Decades of of doing this kind of thing to help people who are trying to figure out how to do this kind of thing so if I can help any of you please call me um please check in with me and uh I am I am a possible option for you link your website we need your website clicked onto the screen dang it we do yeah uh it's actually it's up there isn't it isn't it uh it's part of the you put it in that comment as part of your uh email like yeah I may have um design Builder buildmentor.com designbuildmentmentor.com that website is in under construction but the email works so okay wow send me that uh my my existing website uh under my old company name is out there as well CHC design build but if you just put something in the uh in the comments or send me an email verse that uh um to that same address Kevin at design build mentor.com I'd be happy to uh call you up and chat about it for a little while I see this comment here um a number of my projects are on a hillside how can I incorporate designing retaining walls into my contract it seems that the clients are so used to receiving quotes based solely on the livable area and I've got a little quick response to this uh make a separate contract and um something I tell clients all the time about contractors are that across all of your various contractors you may see a different price but they're not necessarily quoting the same exact Service as the previous contractor and when it all comes down to it you're only really seeing a five percent difference between one contractor to the next in terms of price per actual service rendered and so the same goes for us as designers or drafts people Etc is that the difference between one of us to the next is not going to be that substantial you're still going to get the same service for a very similar price and so making that clear to the client is helpful so in that case you're selling you right it's it's do you want to work with me because my price isn't going to be all that different regardless of what it says on the sheet so if you think you're getting a different price from someone else I encourage you to come back to me because we might be offering different services in our quote and so an easy way to do that is just let's break up the livable area to the foundation wall but by the way we have to build this foundation wall so I encourage you to go get a similar quote well I think you can definitely do that if you if you want to isolate that um I think that is a fine method of doing it I also think that you can say that this number is unknown you can say you can put an allowance in if you have any idea of what that allowance might be but when it's unknown tell people it's unknown let them know that you know if you are relatively new in this business your tendency is going to be to say uh I think I could do that for twenty thousand dollars and when it turns out to be 60 it ate up your profit on the entire project so I wanna I wanna ask you what do you do in that in that scenario and I also want to share something because I'm going to forget it if I don't um I'm on a big Hillside and I'm in Oakland California and Oakland res um not recent maybe five six years ago put in a um a property tax for any undeveloped Lots because we're trying to get more people stuffed into Oakland so if there was an undeveloped lot then you got charged six thousand dollars per year for that undeveloped lot whereas previously you weren't getting charged even remotely close to that amount so suddenly you have to develop these lots and some of these Lots especially on my Hillside are so steep that the retaining walls used to build them need to be 30 feet tall and hold up the entire Hillside and so they had to build a couple houses down underneath my house and it ended up being that the first excavation team walked off the job they're like we're not doing it it's not worth our lives the truck's about to tip over so anyways just share that story real quick and then my other question to you Kevin was what happens when you're getting over a retained amount or an allowance and and it's going to be egregiously over and is it just communication what do you do well definitely the communication but if you've gotten to the point where you were that far off something didn't happen in the right order to begin with um so if you for instance say um I you know this is what major health is going to cause structure whatever it is it's going to cost to build by the way it's going to require us to do some pretty major work off of the hillside in the backyard or wherever it might be we should get those costs before moving forward uh you know from this what the cost of the construction are unless something changes based on that on that Hillside but we should get those costs so that you're not surprised in the end usually they're they love it when you're willing to go out on limb to help them and and I and I believe in doing that you should go overboard in whatever you can to help them uh not not plan on every single hour that you spend being compensated for Sometimes the best hours spent or the ones you're not getting paid for so so Kevin what happens when I I love towel I want to work with Kevin but I have a project that Kevin has never even come close to before I'm going to make you design an elevated gorgeous looking boat dock and you don't have any historical data for that you don't know what the hell that entails and how to price it what do you do first of all thank you I'm looking forward to that with a cigar lounge I want a cigar lounge in the boat okay I like that too that comes up actually it happens fairly regularly uh I had a client one time say um have you even ever done this before and I said oh hell no but close to what I do most of what I do I've never done before so um it's a strange comment to throw at them when they're looking for confidence but the fact that the fact that I could say it confidently and tell them most of what I do I've never done before and yet my walls full of wards you know I can I can do these things even though I may not know how to right now um one of those a client uh stood there and looked at a wall with me and we were talking about what we're going to create out of that wall in this particular case it was going to be a reproduction 1930s Art Deco space in about 1800 square feet of space that was all going to be looked like a 19 it would look like Gatsby himself was stepping out of that space and I I said to him this is going to be great I've never done Art Deco before I don't know anybody who's ever done Art Deco before and I don't even know where to find the resources for it we're going to have a blast and uh and they were he just kind of chuckled and said okay you know if you feel okay about it you can do this and I said oh I can do anything it's just a matter of trying to figure out how so it wasn't so much that I was being arrogant or pompous it was that I was being confident and just saying I I love to explore new things I'll go after this with you you know let's do it so then how do you price it how do you figure out what to charge well then they'll give you a backup question to that one the inverse what happens when you're on your millionth subway tile request in your and you want that same interest and Intrigue in the project and make them feel like the subway tile is innovative and new and it's going to be amazing for them the fact that it's called subway tile and originated in the Subways shouldn't be a clue at all but uh but um uh let's see so from from the first one what was the first one what did you what was the first thing what do you do when what happens when you get two add kids in the same room together and try to ask what the first question was [Laughter] Dan comes in the room and goes well you two like button it up you know okay does anybody remember the question um passion passion and focus I think that would be to trigger words you know how do you get passion from something that you're not initially passionate about oh that's a rough one um but you can create passion you know you can you can find passion in something and offer it if somebody chooses not to accept it I I had a client who literally no matter what I presented every time without hesitation or without fail chose the opposite as what I would have recommended in the end like I was building a before picture but she was thrilled she loved the result and she was happy with that so it was hard for me to maintain passion about something that um that I couldn't find I couldn't create passion in but that's the exception I think most of the time you can you can find something it might be a single element might be something that's just like I'm going to do this one really approval thing over here and it's going to be great um the other thing that was that was Finding passion somewhere the other part of the question is start to generate Passion by developing interest yeah your every project matters every person matters it does and the and the other thing is everybody has the right to dream um there are people with lots and lots of money who can dream really big and there are people with not much money who who a small thing is still a great Dream It's a dream that is going to change their life and so you can find passion in that um no matter what just knowing that you're gonna You're Gonna Change you're gonna rock their world you're gonna change their life it's just on a lesser scale than building an art deco basement for somebody you know I like to think that there's a ceremony that is a kickoff where I get to decouple my brain from all of the paperwork and the communication to even establish work right which you know feels like it's a grind and feels like it's droning on and then there's that kickoff moment where it's hey we get to start doing something interesting or fun right and and it should feel like ceremony to me it should that makes a big difference it said I think one of the other moments that I treasure in a build is uh the moment where you can no longer see what was you can only see what will be I love I like this comment and I don't know what it's referring to but I could guess when you guys were laughing I don't know if they thought you were drinking or what was going on Cheers I I think we might have just got caught in the middle of a drinking game and that was yeah Scott was there he knows um yeah if you haven't made a decision to come to the summit yet maybe this maybe this presentation will get you there because we have a lot of fun um I have a great one here um a last little well we got some some time we're moving through this quick uh Mike said good question I have no passion for rendering Mike sent me a referral to a rendering job and I bumbled that client by the way Mike and I have not told you that because I got into a stream of vacation and I have to figure out the designer show you know and I'm putting it out there I did I absolutely did and that happens and sometimes I'm I I drop the ball or I don't make all the connections or um you know what do you what do you do when you feel like you want to reconcile and also um there might be the case where you don't really want that job or there might be the case where you want that job but you did Bumble it and you want to recover and and handle that and you know how do you how do you deal with those kind of situations um I feel like it's inevitable I answer millions of emails a year and things get missed it's human nature you're gonna mess up yeah I think uh for for those who haven't for those who those of us who have and I know I've messed up my share um you understand that it's inevitable and there's nothing you can do about it for those of you who haven't understand the same thing you're going to do it it's inevitable when it happens Don't Let It Crush you um but also you know don't take it for granted either recognize it understand it apologize to the people who need to be apologized to and make the amends that are necessary sometimes the Bumble is your fault sometimes it's a matter of circumstance but you're still the one with egg on your face so you know we had we had three projects one time going at the same time and the cabinet maker fritzed out on us on on all three the cabinets were due like one or two weeks apart on each of the three and he didn't deliver so we suddenly had egg on our face times three and had to go back to the clients and and face that and it's uh it's not pleasant but if you are uh empathetic to their concerns and um and if you are sincere about what you're saying they tend to understand you know they tend to they tend to give you that I've I've actually had to ask a client before um will you let me prove myself to you I've I've screwed this up and I know that it's caused you to feel uncertain about me and my abilities and uh will you let me prove it to you because if we go on this way or we go our separate ways you're never going to know that I really am the guy you thought that you were hiring so I would really if I can make this up to you I will make it up to you in any way I can so it's important I added some things to my contract this last week and it brings it prompts the question for me um do you sit down and review your contract with your client yes it doesn't always work um you should sit down and review your client review your contract but sometimes the client is in a hurry you know sometimes the client is pushing you out the door because yeah I've seen a million contracts before I don't care they're also going to read that contract a day or two later and come back to you and argue some points about it because they didn't agree with these things so you should but I believe also um legally I don't know that that if you were held in a court of law that someone would would completely burn you about this but I believe that they would push pretty hard that you were negligent in going through the process you should have by nothing contract with that they need to be signing off on each page that they've read that they read it like for instance the bottom of my contracts had an initial line on every readable page and they had to initial that saying that they had read that page so I tried to make sure that I was going through everything with them to let them know what that was yeah um I didn't want them to come back and and you know have an issue somewhere down the line or there was a problem or something that you know some disaster happened or whatever and then to come back and say you never told me about this and I don't have any way to say yes I did so um so I you know just just for the purpose of protecting yourself make sure that you're doing that but from a matter of uh cordiality and uh compassion you should be reading you should be going through it anyway unless they tell you to skip it um we're running out of time but I want to mention something I know and have a personal relationship now with everybody that is in our comment section we can see comments from all platforms from Chief experts YouTube from my YouTube from our Facebook groups multiple different Facebook groups this is a simulcast that's getting fed through all those different groups it pulls the comments from all those places and I just realized I have a personal relationship with everybody in the comments section and I think that nothing that I do is is truly in a true Innovation it's pulling resources from the resources that I have available to me and I see you all as resources and if you're unfamiliar with someone else in the comments section get to know them because they're going to be around and they're great people and we've gotten to know them and it's it's pretty amazing what we can do as a group together there's resources out there that you guys have we're presenting what we know our knowledge of what we know but any one of you could probably be on the show and go through the same topic and have some um great responses so um just you know throwing it out there keep keep interacting with us interaction really um starts up conversation and we can get some great things done yeah I couldn't agree more I I really really appreciate the comments uh that come in and the questions because they spawn the next conversation the next chuckle the next concern so thank you very much for that also know that uh the people who are on the show are experts in their field uh John is phenomenal at uh at teaching Chief Architect and and is doing his traveling uh traveling and teaching Renee's unbelievable at the high tech end of things that have to do with renderings and things that the rest of us can't even figure out what he's talking about um I'm I tend to concentrate my efforts on the business of design and and also you know out there selling my services so if we can help you in any way from a from the standpoint of being a a paid um resource I'm sure all of us would welcome that call as well but for just for the Friendship the camaraderie the networking the joy of seeing you guys and talking about things you know thank you for all of that um if you've never been a chief experts event uh John is actually a great presence I love hearing him from the other room sometimes he can be a little he could be a little scary but he's just a teddy bear I think he's fantastic oh I've met this individual this person found me in the wild out in public in Oakland he lives in Oakland as well I mean what an awesome experience to get to know people from the internet and have them meet you in person um and he also none of my close friends really know what I do and he treated me like a superstar which was really embarrassing for me but it was also really fun um so just back on to that yeah get to know you from the first the next yeah it's uh um like someone else said this is a great community we know Diane we're going to see oh Diane are we going to see you in August um I don't know who else is going but uh late August September I am going to the Chief Architect what is it called Academy for the advanced level 2 courses and there's a bunch of interstitial events that happen there where we all get to hang out in fact go in there let us know because Dan and I will be there John you going yep John will be I'll be there Kevin dad's got Dan's got three houses rented if you're looking for housing there's still about there's still about four or five bedrooms left in those houses and it's absolutely the best way if you are looking to take your uh Chief knowledge to the next level to hang out with that level of expertise enough people to fill three houses so come join us it's incredible yeah so if you didn't if you didn't catch that maybe we'll bring it up again but um we have housing available if you're going to that Chief uh Academy event um so yeah it's really a great event so yeah so there's that event that we'll be at and have houses that and if you're not staying in the house you're welcome to come join us in the evening if you want to um yeah it's because some of us go to bed late uh Renee doesn't go to bed at all but the rest of us uh you know we'll be there the other next event is Dan and I are doing a training I believe it's August 6th 7th and 8th in Bloomington Minnesota um just a three-day class for anybody that wants to come to that it won't be as intense as the the summit of course because we won't be staying together but and then the Summit is March 1st to the 10th 2024. so you can go to chiefexperts.com to check that out and see what you can see what you want to do and finally in case you want to stay tuned a little bit further into the future I'm still working on an intend to wrap up and present a class uh an online class in the business of design so hopefully um you know you guys can learn more oh man that's going to make me leave it one last comment if you're ever worried about making the perfect thing to publish to put out there to the public to you know initiate um you're gonna drown in the pursuit of perfection get it out there and then add some revisions Kevin good show guys thank you thanks everybody that website that website isn't chiefexperts.com I think you can get there with that but it's chief chief expertsacademy.com that's where you want to go and if you want to reach me I'm putting my my note Back In The Stream at the bottom now so thanks guys appreciate everything thanks guys have a great weekend