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What Questions Should An Architect Ask A Client?

Architecture Client Questionnaire – Top 3 Questions To Ask Clients


Why a Client questionnaire?

So you'll want to give some thought as to how loyal the customer is to your firm and the project before making any commitments.


One of the best ways to solve this problem is to build a client questionnaire for architecture or interior design.

What is a Client questionnaire? 

The Client Questionnaire is a checklist of questions that all your future clients can ask you. During client phone calls, this checklist may be used in conversation or as a physical document that all clients are expected to fill out.


When designing your customer questionnaire, here are the top three questions you'll want to consider.


Top three questions to include in the Client Questionnaire:


Q1. How Committed is the Client?

Perhaps a less delicate way of phrasing this question is:


“Does the Client have any intention of hiring your firm and completing the project?”


While you can never be 100 % sure, here are a few questions to guide you in the right direction:


  • How did they hear about your firm?

Was it a referral, a promotion, a web search, or something else?


  • Where are they in the process?

Do they actually own the land (or property) to be created, are they in the process of acquiring it, have they begun working, or are they shopping around at the moment?


Still Unsure?

If you are still unsure, give the customer an opportunity to prove their degree of involvement. This can be done in a few ways.:


  • Office Meeting:

Invite the customer to visit you free of charge at your office (not at their project site). This meeting will give them an opportunity for you and your organization to make a small (but vital) commitment. To get to your office for a meeting is a dedication of their time and money.


  • Client Questionnaire:

Alternatively, you can initiate the process by providing a questionnaire in written format to the client. This physical paper will give the client a chance to make you and your business a small (but vital) commitment. It is a pledge of their time and resources to complete and return to you the customer questionnaire.


Exchange Commitments:


It is important to note that it is your duty to choose the right customer, just as it is the duty of the customer to choose the right design professional.


This can be done at the outset of the partnership by an exchange of commitments.


So give some thought to how they will be willing to commit to you and your firm before committing to meeting with the client at their project site (or office).


Q2. How Well do you Know your Client?


Although asking a potential customer so many personal questions about their experience and financial position might seem intrusive, this should not discourage you.


You should have some knowledge of their willingness to complete their side of the deal if you are considering a business partnership with them.


Depending on the type of project, your visibility, and the client, your call is just how much you can investigate.


  • Here are some points to consider:

  • Does the Client have a history of successful projects?

  • Is there any evidence that the Client will pay on time? Or evidence to the contrary?

  • Will the Client make decisions in a timely manner?

  • Will the Client see the project through to the end?

  • Who is financing the project?

  • Does the Client have a design budget?

  • Is the Client willing to provide proof 


Q3. How Much will it Cost Your Firm to Respond to a New Inquiry?


Fee proposals and industry literature requests attract expenditures that are usually inevitable and reasonably manageable for most design firms. However, the expenses associated with winning a competition may be much more harmful. It is important to treat competitions with caution.


Design Competitions:

Careful consideration is needed for even paying competitions. This is because design contests are usually set up to achieve design excellence, not to provide competing businesses with a fair and equitable financial playing field.


Significant concerns such as design fees and contractual terms and conditions are seldom properly discussed prior to entry into the competition. It is more common for these problems to be left for discussion by the winning team.


This inevitably leaves the Architect in a precarious position , especially when the entry fee for the competition does not even start to cover the expenses already incurred by the Architect.


Design Competitions can be Expensive

Competitions often have the tendency of being much more costly than expected at first. In part, this is because the competition criteria usually define the minimum standard of deliverables needed for admission. In reality, most companies are expected to offer even more to win the competition.

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