6 Red Flags That Scream Danger When Dealing with Interior Designers
We have all heard of renovation nightmares from friends, families, and even in the news. Wondering how you can do your best to avoid having one by making sure you engage a capable and trustworthy interior design firm?
To start, here are some dangerous red flags to look out for when dealing with a potential interior designer for your home renovation or improvement plans.
If It Sounds Like a Scam, It Probably Is a Scam
Is the interior design firm promising a deal that sounds too good to be true? Well, it probably is a scam.
Here are a couple of ways these scams could potentially pan out:
- They might start charging you for things that are “outside of the quote” – also commonly known as hidden charges. These could easily snowball into a much larger sum than you were prepared to pay for.
- Another common problem homeowners face with unscrupulous firms is that once you pay a large deposit to lock in the “good deal”, the company will start delaying deliverables or potentially even disappear once the deposit is paid out.
What Can You Do? Ask around for quotes from more than one interior design firm, compare accordingly, make sure never to pay a huge deposit upfront, and have a payment schedule tied to deliverables– around 10 -15% is an acceptable industry rate.
They Do Not Make the Effort to Pay a Site Visit
To be clear, while it is not an industry practice for interior designers to pay a site visit before offering a quote or having a discussion with you on how to proceed with renovation works, it is telling of the quality of standard and service you can expect from the firm.
The earlier in the stage of discussions that they head down to your place to understand the site and hear out your concerns, the better they will be able to come up with a design that truly fits your needs instead of just slapping on a generic design.
What Can You Do? Check with the firms on their workflow process and ensure there is a pre-site visit to ensure that your needs are taken care of before committing to a deposit.
You Only Get a Vague Quotation
When it comes to renovation quotations, you want it to be as detailed as possible to avoid hidden charges that can come as a rude shock in the later stages of renovation.
Here are some basic details that should be available in a proper renovation quotation:
- Breakdown of total cost by rooms
- Estimated materials and services required based on the floor plan
- A proper payment schedule
- A timeline with key milestones
- Any exclusions
What Can You Do? Check the quotations and request for detailed breakdowns. Make sure to clarify if there are any vague or difficult to understand terms.
The Firm Does Not Use HDB-Licensed Contractors
While a HDB license is not an endorsement of the integrity or quality of the work produced by the interior designer, it does mean that the workers who are working on your renovations are fully aware of HDB’s requirements. Hence you can rest assured they will be adhering to proper renovation regulations.
What Can You Do? If they have in-house workers, make sure that they are either HDB-licensed or if they use contractors, ask them to share their contractor’s names so you can check for a valid HDB license via the official HDB site. Avoid hiring a firm that use contractors without a license to give yourself a peace of mind.
They Do Not Have a Portfolio of Their Works to Share
Style is subjective. And that is why it is critical to evaluate whether you like the design style that the interior design firm you choose from the start to avoid any potential design conflicts in the future.
Usually looking through a firm’s portfolio will be able to give you a good enough idea of whether they can help you achieve a particular theme you are going for.
What Can You Do? Make sure to ask them for a portfolio of their work and inquire which interior designer in the firm is responsible for the projects you like.
Over Promising on Timelines
Being able to complete a home improvement or renovation is important as it directly impacts your living situation. That’s why many homeowners are easily tempted by firms who offer a short turnaround time when that is just to bait you to sign on.
What Can You Do? Compare the proposed timelines across the various firms and make sure that it is not unrealistic, particularly in the
Introducing Trustworthy Interior Design Firms with Redbrick Homes Recommends and IDMate!
Don’t want to go through the trouble of sifting through all the interior design firms in Singapore for a trustworthy and capable one to go with for your renovation plans?
Check out our list of recommended firms on Redbrick Homes Recommends, or try out our match-making tool IDMate to find your ideal interior design firm today!