Sarah Magness: Practical Strategies for Talking Budgets

Episode 384 of A Well-Designed Business®
384: Sarah Magness: Practical Strategies for Talking Budgets

Welcome to today’s episode! We’re really glad to have Sarah Magness, of Magness Design, with us today. Eight years ago, Sarah hatched as a ‘baby designer’ and launched right into the luxury market. Today she talks to us about the real-life experience she gained during this time, before opening her own firm. She also talks about the “New Heights” program at Marymount that she came to spearhead through her involvement with the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. And today we also have an excellent conversation with Sarah about the best way to talk budget with clients. This is often a really tricky area of business, so listen in to get Sarah’s very straightforward and clear advice.

Magness Design began in 2010 with a focus on residential design. It is located in New York City and its current focus is on the preservation of historic properties, by saving them and making them livable. Their major projects are in New York City, the Hudson Valley area, and on Long Island. 

Sarah received her undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and her graduate degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute. She is a House Beautiful “Next Wave” designer and she’s also been featured in Architectural Digest for a very large townhouse project that she saved and renovated. Listen in to find out more.

Show Highlights:

  • Working for three or four different design firms is a great way to learn the business aspect of running your own design business.
  • The different people that Sarah first worked for, to gain real-life experience.
  • The type of apprenticeship that architecture undergraduates are required to do.
  • Sarah’s recommendations for getting to work for the best firms, after graduating from school.
  • New York has a really supportive and talented design community.
  • Budget is always an issue with clients.
  • How Sarah approaches budget conversations with her clients.
  • How to estimate a budget for your client on the spot.
  • The importance of having really clear communication with your clients.
  • It is often the clients’ choices that cause a project to go over budget.
  • Giving the client an itemized list with the cost of each item on it.
  • How to talk to your client about going over the budget for certain items.
  • When and how to discuss fees with a high-end client.
  • The language to use in order to get the best response from clients when dealing with multi-faceted projects.
  • Sarah discusses the passion-projects that she’s involved with.
  • Sarah has created a twelve-minute documentary called The Town Home, about a seven-story 1911 New York townhouse renovation project that she did. You can access it on the home page of Sarah’s website. www.magnessdesign.com

Other episodes mentioned on the show:

Andrew Suvalsky #28

Christie Leu # 182

Dr. Ellen Fisher #71

Links:

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Reference: Click the ICAA organization link find your local chapter.

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