Planning on redesigning your office? As the expression goes, it’s always better to measure twice and cut once. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a list of questions to ask your designer before any actual construction takes place.
Here are a few questions to put on your list:
1. What do you think we need in terms of layout?
This is an important question to ask right up front, because it will help you decide whether or not you and your designer are on the same page — and whether your expectations are reasonable. Most likely, you have a picture in your mind of how you’d like your office to be when it’s finally finished. Asking your designer to describe his or her vision will help you figure out if you can work together, and if your ideal is achievable. After all, if you’re a fan of office cubicles, but your designer loves an open plan office, now’s the time to find out.
2. What have you done for previous clients?
Before you even hire your designer, you should take a good look at his or her portfolio. But beyond that, be sure to get testimonials from satisfied customers and a description of what the designer did for them. Again, the goal isn’t just to find out if this person is good at the job — it’s to find out if he or she is the right fit for you.
3. What do you think our biggest problems are, and how would you solve them?
Do you have more staff than space? A need for privacy as well as places to meet and communicate about projects? Are you hoping to minimize your carbon footprint or maximize productivity? These are all things to discuss before the first carpet square is laid.
4. How can this plan be adjusted as my company grows?
The best design in the world will be useless to you if it’s not scalable. Make sure that your designer knows about your future plans, hopes, and dreams, and creates a plan that will encompass them.
5. What can you do within my budget?
Last, but most certainly not least, communicate your budget needs clearly, and follow up with your designer to make sure that he or she is developing a plan that will fit within your needs. Build specific provisions about overages into your contract, so that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises down the road.