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Old 02-24-2011, 04:21 PM
Steiner Steiner is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Central NY
Posts: 365
Belgard University Verona NY 2011

Went to the Belgard University in Verona and saw Haig Seferian from HGTV fame. It was a good show.

I wanted to get my two continuing education credits from his classes to keep my ICPI.

He brought up a few good ideas, things to discuss I thought I would share here for further discussion:

1. He shared a story of how he got started. Said he was drafting in his basement and had a gentleman tell him he was talented and needed to go see his accountant. He went to see this accountant and he sat him down and he made a 5 year plan after asking him the question, "Where do you want to see yourself in 5 years?" They then worked back from the 5 years and that has changed his career. Anyone here ever made a 5 year plan?

2. He said no matter how bullet-proof your contracts are someone will still take you to court. He has used 12 page contracts, and he still has been to court. His best defense has always been his gut instinct. Every time he has been sued he had that gut feeling something wasn't quite right. He has always won in court. Do you guys have bullet-proof contracts and if so has anyone shot right through it?

3. He said to prequalify work he always has his office staff walk through a simple questionaire:
-Have you been to our website?
-What is your budget? (He said they ALWAYS have a budget, if they trust you, they will tell you, he won't leave without it on an interview)
-When do you want this work done?
-He also gives them some homework to prove their serious and to make them buy into the project, like asking them to cut pictures out from magazines of styles/designs they like.
How many of you prequalify and what questions do you ask?

4. Haig mentioned using iPads and leaving them with customers to look through designs he has preloaded from his huge library of designs (his and others taken from magazines/web/ driving around). He mentioned that you are wasting hundreds of month on yellow pages, since no one uses them anymore. He also believes that if you don't have a website yet you are bound to fail in this new world of high tech.
What have you done to take a leap with new technology?

I am sure I will think of more later.....
-Chris
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:15 PM
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MarkintheGarden MarkintheGarden is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 970
Hi Chris, Good post!
It reminded me of the value of doing some of the things that you mentioned that I have not done lately, The five year plan! I did this in 07, time to review, update, and focus on how to accomplish it in steps.

I find my self on a different page when it comes to contracts. I use service agreements and simple contracts for design and build projects. If you are doing lots of large and high end design and build work then the contractual arrangements will get complicated. The most important thing about contracts is that they put the buyer and the provider on the same page. It is important to me that the contract, my drawings and presentation inform my client so that expectations are met. Many people make the mistake of focusing too much on the cover my a$$ part of writing contracts.

I do give my customers homework and research assignments! Of course I ask them if they want to do some research first, and they always do. Because they rarely have a lot of time for this I keep it simple. A couple of my customers have put in a lot of time and over the years have learned a lot.

I leave books and catalogs with customers, so no, I am not too current with technology.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:14 PM
Steiner Steiner is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Central NY
Posts: 365
Hey Mark!

Mark:

It was funny the other night I was making my five year plan and trying to figure out what I wanted to be doing by then and the phone rang with the largest job I have ever landed! WOW!

Talk about karma.....
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:10 AM
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MarkintheGarden MarkintheGarden is offline
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Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 970
That's how it works, Build it and they will come!
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