Monday, March 2, 2009

Business Of Design: James Swan's Great Idea

We're all about niche marketing here at TrendSpot. California interior designer James Swan's "After Care" program is a unique take on using a niche to create another revenue model for your business. Conceived when a customer mentioned to James that they had no idea about what was entailed in continuing care of what James' calls -the physical plant. The client commented that he didn't have a clue about how to handle the post project management in their new home. “Because I am a people pleaser, I said it’s done; we’ll take care of It “, says Swan. They started looking at the idea and realized this is not a unique experience and because we work with people who have fairly substantial properties this could be a great opportunity. Unique clients aside; each home is different. One might have polished brass hardware that needs to be hand polished three times a year and the house next door might have polished nickel that patinas on its own. Plus, Swan realized there are still gray areas about who does what and when- even if you have staff. Out of that conversation grew the after care program. The program is separate from his design scope of services. He uses it as a talking point when interviewing for a project. Swan hasn’t expanded the program beyond his existing client base, but acknowledges there certainly is a market for it.
Here’s how it works:

· Be clear about what ongoing care, upkeep and needs there are. Then quantify it by doing a through project and services inventory
· Use the All your Eggs in One Basket approach. Comb the property for items and system needs that need at least once a year then create your scope of services list from that.
· Present a proposal to clients in a face-to-face individually crafted to their needs and offering them options of doing it all, something in between or nothing.
· Present a contract that provides scheduling of tradespeople and craftsman, onsite supervision to make sure the project is understood and done correctly and follow-up including picture perfect cleanup.
· The client pays the craftsmen directly and you bill the client the supervision fees.

Sound interesting? Are there AfterCare products or services you can add to your scope of services?

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