April 1, 2019 - No Comments!

Working with Birdhouse: Budgeting + Procurement

Recent full-service interior design project in Omaha, NE.

This article is two of four in our Working With Birdhouse series. Read the first article on Discovery + Design here.

It’s All About That Budget

Design is always the fun part, but budgeting is really the star of the show. We create informed budget ranges and materials allowances and then respect them throughout the entire project. This involves first specifying the finishes, furniture, lighting, art, and decor. And then working with our construction partners to develop budget estimates for labor and construction materials.

But how do you know what your goal budget is? Well, that’s why you came to us!

Cropped example of a services proposal for a full-service project. A detailed construction bid would also be included for any major remodeling project.

Our first question before we even meet for an initial consult is, “What’s your budget?” Not because we’re nosy and need to know how much money you have in your bank account. Honestly, it’s always a little weird talking about someone else’s money. But we want to set up every project for success, and if we don’t start with realistic budget expectations, we’re creating a recipe for disaster.

The real design world is not an HGTV makeover where an entire house renovation seems to cost $10,000 and is completed in two weeks (or 30 minutes). After close to a decade working on everything from living room makeovers to multi-million dollar commercial projects, I can guarantee that pretty much every budget breakdown you see on TV doesn’t calculate all the actual design time, labor, and materials costs. Much of it is essentially donated for free in exchange for exposure. Obviously, 99% of real-life design projects aren’t sponsored by major appliance companies, so we work to educate potential clients on the true costs of furniture, design, and remodeling.

Example of our digital approval process for product and services.

Often our clients have never worked with a designer or contractor before and they aren’t really aware of how much quality materials and labor cost. After the initial Discovery process, we provide an itemized estimated budget based on customized project goals and the type of aesthetic a client gravitates toward.

Even the smallest projects have dozens of specifications. If you don’t line up estimates for all the pieces before you start construction, then that really beautiful bed (and quality mattress, please don’t skimp on that!) you imagined crawling into after months living in a construction zone won’t be there because you had to pay for the new furnace that nobody thought to budget for.

Cropped example of a paid invoice via our invoice management platform.

What on Earth is Procurement?

Basically, it’s buying your stuff for you. More specifically, it means we manage all vendor coordination, purchasing, shipping, and delivery as a one-stop shop for you. We put together a proposal that usually includes several phases, and once you’ve made your payment we do all the tedious (and let’s be real, annoying) work of placing a gazillion orders and figuring out ETAs for each piece. We even use an invoice management system so you can see exactly what you have and haven’t paid for throughout the course of the project. It’s super user-friendly and much easier than keeping track of all the paper copies of your receipts.

Most of our projects involve custom fabricated pieces or to-the-trade only items, but not all clients opt for full-service design with procurement. If you want to stretch your budget a bit more, we offer design only services for people who feel comfortable (and have the time) to manage all the ordering on their own.  We prefer to provide a soup-to-nuts style service, however it's important that we have options for clients at different budget levels.

Stay tuned to learn about the next step in our process: Project Management.


Published by: Jessica in Design Process

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