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As Designers, Are We Honest in our Business Dealings?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Feb 20,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Guest Blog: As Designers, Are We Honest in our Business Dealings?

Honest marketing for contractors and designersIn the design industry we have many challenges besides meeting the concerns, wants, and needs of our precious clients. Many businesses have resorted to marketing on the basis of something for free. It prompts clients to want what is offered for free, however, at the same time, causes the knee jerk reaction question to arise, “How can it be free, what’s the catch”?This poses itself as one of the challenges most noteworthy; the honest perception of value that is created. For a certainty, most trends are to downplay, for market segmenting purposes, the true value of reputable trades or product.


As designers we need to realize that no sale is really complete until a successful installation of product or service has been provided for the paying, trusting client. This client in-turn may or may not be a super advocate for our business’ success, depending on the final result.

Wouldn’t it make sense as designers to present all services and products in the true light of actual cost, thus leveling the playing field by being honest in our business dealings? Is it not tantamount to lying to present design or trade services as something that can be commoditized for less than its true value, or for free, when we know it isn’t?

Bait and Switch advertisingTo advertise something for “free” in reality means something else needs to recoup the costs related to the “free” product or service. This is, in all respects, “Bait and Switch” by offering something for free that really isn’t. Doing so may call into question being honest in our business dealings.

“Bait and Switch” tactics are used all the time by many larger corporations and have severely damaged flooring installation, renovation, carpet cleaning, vacuum sales and services, design agent services, product value and the like. The result leaves well intentioned clients in a quandary of who, why and what they can trust.

All operations that work on lowest price marketing set everyone up for failure and feed our waste facilities with massive amounts of materials, due to bad decisions made as a direct result of unscrupulous enterprises who are in it just for the money and opportune themselves to the consumer disposition being taught today. It may be manufacturers, distributors, retailers, advantage driven designers and sales persons who are not honest in their business dealings. Full disclosure of what is lacking in the offer is skillfully sold over to reap unjust profits, at the expense of the honest and unwary, with no regard to the environmental impact.

crossed_fingers-wrLowest cost marketing is not being honest in business dealings, as it may not spell out the true reason something is less, or much less, as many products and services, on the surface, appear to be the same. The adage, “You Get What You Pay For”, is usually visited after the disappointment comes, once the bargain fails to meet the expectation and the delight for the savings is replaced by the sinking feeling, “I’ve been had again”. As designers, is this really the outcome we want our clients to experience, let alone, having to deal with it once exposed?

As designers, we should never want to feed the greedy price shopper mentality created by corporate opportunists and smaller businesses who buy into this mindset. By reflecting on true value all the way around, it makes good sense to present our services and that of others in the true light of costs and need. Today many are thinking in line with “save the planet”. This means as designers we want to be the forerunners in leading and educating by example. Therefore, let us be honest in our business dealings, and thus save our designer business services, giving due representation to great trades, products, costs, the environment and education of our precious clients while we are at it.


Ronald Preston

Guest Blogger: Ron Preston started into the trades at the age of 13 with tools purchased from savings acquired working seven nights per week. Today at 53 he enjoys working with people to bring their dreams to fruition and writes regularly to share his knowledge and thoughts. Let Ron know what you think about his guest blog and the opinions he offers.


Topics: New Business Realities, Differentiating your Business, Guest Blogs, Marketing Considerations, Opinions from Contractors, Customer Relations