What Level is Your Design Business?

Questions about communicating with the builder.

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  • #23372

    Hi Jenny (et al)!

    I have two questions.
    #1 – I was recently hired for my first new-build (!). The clients already have a builder and they put me in touch with him the day we signed the contract. The build is out of state so I’ve never met / worked with him before. I emailed him to set up a time for a brief call / Zoom meeting, and he responded 24 hours later. Not bad! However, that was on 11/16 and he hasn’t responded since then. I have called and emailed him a few other times, and the clients have also reached out and have not heard back. I can tell they are getting anxious.

    My question is, what are best practices for communicating with the builder? Should I just continue to follow up and if so, how often? I know the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but I’m also trying to put my most professional foot forward. Plus, I have a crazy busy Jan / Feb, so I’m also trying to get my ducks in a row before things get nuts while helping the homeowners feel like their project is still moving forward. I’d love some advice here! *For context – We are still waiting on permits before they can demo the existing house and start building the new one, but winter is coming so their time is running out.

    #2 – I’d like to make a few edits to the floor plan (minor – like adding a niche in the entry for coats and changing the door swing on the main door) but my changes will require stealing a tiny bit of square footage from another room. My 2nd question is – when is a good time to bring these changes up to the builder? How far in advance do they need this information? We’re still a long way away from interior framing.

    Thank you!


    I realized this might be a good one to ask the builder directly in the next class. 🙂 Thanks!


    Hi Stacey,

    Great questions!
    It would be VERY alarming to me and my clients if the builder was not responding to me or to them. Do you have budgets so that you can continue making selections with the homeowners? If not, ask the homeowners for their budgets. I would have a talk with them about how worried you are that he is not responding. Do you need to tell them that your schedule is such that you need to be making decisions now, then you should. He’s hijacking everyone’s time at this point. He 100% should have responded to you by now. I would continue to reach out weekly to him with a call and email and make sure it’s documented so you have record of it. I’m hoping he doesn’t have a retainer from your client and they can look elsewhere, I would have major red flags if I were them. This is how your entire project will go I’m afraid.
    Do you know who the architect is? I would send your edits to them and have them update the drawings. It’s early enough that they should be able to do it.
    If your client is okay with the changes taking space from another room, then I say go for it. Just make sure they know.
    Hope that helps!

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What Level is Your Design Business?