I know you're really helpful. I also know you want to share everything you know about design with your clients when you meet them for an interior design consult.
I also know you're losing money.
Because you can't turn your effing mouth off.
For the love of Miley Cyrus, listen more and speak less.
I think that having a client pay for a consult where you come out, hang for an hour with them is great. It's a great beginning to a business relationship.
It is not the time for them to force you to vomit everything you know about design and how it will apply to their space.
It is not the time for you to start spec'ing the job.
It is not the time to rearrange their furniture.
Interior design consults aren't your signal to start designing
Design consults should be a time of chatting, getting to know one another, offer ideas (because you are getting paid for this consult), discover their design style, and figure out if the client is a normal person or bat-shit crazy.
I also know that during this consult sesh with your clients, one hour is not a lot of time... so when they want to pick your brain for every last effing detail about how to implement their new beautiful space... that's when you say:
I'd love to work on this project with you. My *whatever* design service will be the best fit for this type of project. It includes x, y, z and it's X amount of dollars. (If you'd like to say that this paid one hour consult counts towards a design service, throw that information in, but that's totally up to you).
If you want me to holler, you'll have to fork over the dollar!
When you're 45 minutes into your interior design consult, you've gone over the 411 about the project, their expectations, and the budget (don't forget the budget). You and your client will be on a foundation where you both know where you're coming from and what's gonna happen moving forward.
A signed contract with a deposit is your sign to start designing
If you both feel it's a good fit, get that contract signed and your deposit in hand. That's when you can start to pour your soul into the design project. Don't get invested in a project you're not working on - not matter how tempting or how helpful you wanna be.
p.s. If you're looking for training on how to properly go through the sales process and also know how to handle the client's objections like *cough* it costs too much *cough* it's waiting for you when you join the Society today.