Helping a client to develop their dream space is more challenging than it may appear on the surface. Often, a homeowner knows they want a change, but isn’t sure what exactly what they want—or maybe they don’t have the budget for their full dream remodel. Other clients may be afraid to make dramatic changes to their home, or disagree with your recommendations.

That doesn’t mean you can’t help homeowners accomplish their goal with alternative suggestions. Little changes can accomplish as much as big ones for the client. Help more cautious home improvement clients who have big goals but aren’t sure how to get there find their “just right” solution by gently guiding them in the right direction.

Talk More About Purpose
Why are clients choosing this particular remodel? Do they seem out of their element discussing design elements of the project? If so, make your client feel at ease by discussing the purpose of the space. What feeling do they want guests to have, and what is the main attraction of the remodel? By talking about how the homeowner will use the finished space, you’ll get them excited and turn the renovation into a passion project for you both.

For example, if you’re remodeling the backyard, what should be the main feature? Is it a walkway leading out to their prized garden, or should it be the welcoming addition of an open indoor/outdoor floor plan? Figure out their passion and let them know that you truly get it.

Share Comparable Past Projects
The client who feels uneasy is likely afraid of relinquishing control for fear that the project won’t turn out how they expect. Maybe they suspect their own ideas for a remodel are completely unreasonable or are missing something.
Show the client how specific changes make a big impact. Help inspire them by sharing past projects, describing development over time.

A client may know they need to remodel a rickety old staircase and expand the foyer to make it more welcoming, but not much else. You might talk about removing the carpet on the stairs and saving the original wood, as is possible, or discuss the construction of a new safe and attractive staircase with a decorative rail.

Get Comfortable with the Final Picture
Many clients are fearful of change because they’ve become attached to the space on a deep level. It’s hard to see beyond that connection.

Help clients connect to their future space by concentrating on how they will fill it. Some homeowners will have to follow the steps to complete a home renovation in a non-standard process. Help them really see the space they want to develop by considering together what goes in the space and the necessary number of furniture pieces. Creating mock-ups or showing them potential designs by doing research and finding examples of accent pieces to fill the space will make the final picture feel more real and like home.

Focus on the Solution
The client may have anxiety because they’re not sure how any change will ultimately solve their current challenges. “Go big or go home” isn’t the only reason to remodel, and there is a definite solution that the client is seeking with this project.

For a growing family in a small space, the solution to completely remodel the kitchen isn’t always feasible, nor is picking up and moving. This family will have a strict budget in mind and will need to make the most of it to meet their needs, likely one project at a time.

Mike Mantucca
Mike Mantucca

Go over solutions that fit their biggest need without breaking the bank. This may mean knocking down a wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room; it may mean added shelving or the creation of a unique kitchen island with multiple storage units. Open or glass shelving may be particularly useful to help the kitchen look larger, as will adding shiny appliances and light colors.

Reassure the client that working on one project at a time is realistic. Start by remodeling what will get the biggest bang for their buck and meet their needs most efficiently. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and with a little creative thinking, there are so many ways to make the client happy by finding the right solution.

Successful small remodels are particularly rewarding for the cautious client. Little by little, they see their old space transformed and truly coming alive.

Help clients open up by talking about the purpose of the space and how they want to fill it. Get them comfortable with the final picture and focus on the solution. Your clients will feel confident to welcome new home improvement suggestions and excited about the remodel.