“Are you INSANE?!? Why would I pay you $1,000.00 to come out to my house and draw a pool? I’ve already called 5 other pool companies to come out to my home next week and none of them are charging me.”

Welcome to the world of charging for design. This was the response I received the first time I told a potential client that I charged for my time to design their pool. The immediate response was to tuck my tail between my legs and run back to “Complimentary Consultations” but I committed to making this change so I thought to myself, “There must be a better way to present this to potential clients.”

There is a better way to present charging for design and I will go over that a little later. Right now, let’s discuss the opening comment from the potential client I proposed design services to. I sat back and broke it down line by line to find out where things went wrong and what I ended up learning was that this client was screaming at me to RUN AWAY! They made it blatantly clear that they were looking for the lowest bid and the design was the least of their concerns all by asking one question. Why waste your time driving to their house, meeting with them for hours, driving back to your office and spending hours designing their project to have them see your price and throw your design in the garbage because it is $500 more than the last guy? This will consume a minimum of 8 hours of my time, sorry but I’m not working for free anymore. Man, it feels good to say that!

Side note: Make sure that your design abilities are worthy. What I mean by this is that you need to ensure your value is exceeding your cost. If it does, you will never have to explain yourself to your clients. They will understand your value when they see your work and when they have consultations with you. You need to bleed integrity and strive for growth. Continually hone your design skills through continued education and collaboration. If you put all of this together you will become a designer instead of a sales person. Nobody wants to give a sales person any money nowadays. Work your ass off and earn the right to charge people for your time.


“How do you present this concept to your clients?” After fumbling my way through multiple phone calls and getting hung up on, I knew I needed to show some value for the cost I was trying to charge. Here is what I came up with.

When you tell the client that you are charging for design their first reaction is to throw up their guard and ask why. You can’t blame them at all so explain yourself. I repeat that I am only charging for my design services. My design services include; Coming to your home, site walks, property measurements, municipality setbacks research, preliminary 3D design, one major revision with presentation, project costs analysis and they get to have their design to get bids from other pool builders. They will have no need to have any “sales people” designing their Watershape. This limits the amount of terrible designs the client has to look through. They get one perfect design for them and then they can concentrate on finding the best builder for their project. An important piece of information to let them know is that if they decide to use your company for construction, that you will deduct the design costs from the price of the project. In my experience, we end up building 9 out of 10 of our designs.

Furthermore, make sure you tell them with reassurance that they can come to your of- fice or call you any time before securing your design services. I encourage the client to come to my office and spend as much time as they want interviewing me. This allows me to interview them as well. I do not charge anyone if they come to my office or call me. I only charge when the pen hits the paper.jeromey-naugle-3-do-you-work-for-free-tributary-revelation

Kurt Kraisinger says it best when he says, “You have two clients on every project, the actual client and the land you are working with.” Money isn’t your client, the person making the money is. Form a relationship with that person so you can understand what they want, what they need and how they need to be communicated with. Taking this approach has completely changed how I communicate with clients, and earn their trust and most of all it has vastly grown my design capabilities.

You can reach out to me anytime to discuss my experiences with charging for design or for any other questions for that matter. I greatly appreciate your time and we’ll talk soon.jeromey-naugle-headshot-benjamin-and-me-tributary-revelation

My contact info is:

Jeromey Naugle