Communicate Generously to Build Trust
Another ingredient in Bula’s success is developing relationships. “Building a rapport with your clients is super important,” she says. “To them, it’s an investment. They’re making their home, they’re so excited, and they probably saved up for this for a long time. They want to feel like you spend time with them, that you get to know them and that you trust them. Also, it makes the job fun for us that it’s not just another client. They become friends.”
According to Bula, the key to building these relationships with clients is communication. “We over communicate. I always want them to feel like they’re my priority, which they are,” she says. “Taking time to get to know them and asking about their families, and caring about things that are involved in the project, makes them feel like we care and builds trust.” Bula ensures that clients are fully informed right from the beginning by giving them a detailed document with all the design details. “They get this design book, so going into their project, they know that we have paid attention to every single element,” she says.
Houzz Pro helps facilitate this communication, allowing Bula’s clients to always be aware of the status of a project. They can view invoices, mood boards, project timelines and any other parts of the project. “They have one place they can go for all of their documents,” Bula says. “Everything’s pretty transparent. I think that they appreciate that.”
She also works to build relationships with vendors. “If they like you and they know that you’re a good person and that you’ll show up on your end, they’ll pull their weight on their end too,” she says. “If things go wrong, I need them to fix it and not make it a problem or nickel and dime my client.” Bula gives vendors the same design book she gives to clients, to foster transparency and communication. “All the vendors really, really appreciate that design book,” she says. “They’re not coming in with a million questions. We’re not wasting their time.”
Bula compares the design book to a recipe, showing all the ingredients needed to implement the project successfully. “It includes CADs of the cabinetry with dimensions, elevations by wall, and all of our selections — plumbing, lighting, tile, paint etc. — with accompanying images, specs and install guides when applicable,” she says. “The book helps to ensure that our vendor partners are on the same page as our design team when kicking off a project. This helps to eliminate questions and is a major time saver.”