Clients are Annoying

The temptation to make lists at this time of year is strong. Naturally, I made one for you, but it’s unlike any list you’ve seen before. This is a list of complaints, not resolutions.

An informal online survey we conducted reveals that, seemingly, clients are the most annoying part of your job. It’s clear clients are annoying on several levels. The most common complaint about clients relates to their value of good design. Second on the list is the cost-per-square-foot method of comparison. There are plenty more to follow, so let’s get to the list (in no specific order):

Pet Peeves in the Custom Home Market

  • Having to be a client’s personal therapist
  • Subs that don’t call back
  • Subs that show up late or not at all
  • Dirty job sites
  • The bid system
  • Cost-per-square-foot comparisons
  • Clients who find fault with everything
  • Clients who don’t understand cost
  • Clients who can’t make decisions
  • Client’s with no vision
  • Clients who undervalue the planning process
  • Clients armed with piles of magazine photos
  • Clients who expect you to read minds
  • Clients who “draw up” their own home design
  • Clients who meddle throughout the entire process
  • Clients who don’t value good design
  • Builders who don’t understand good design

You might be wondering where this list came from. Several weeks ago, we asked a few architects, designers and builders to tell us what annoys them about doing business in the custom home market. Some answers were submitted via e-mail, and others were posted within the Residential Design & Build social networking group at Complete reader responses can be seen on pages 22 and 24 of this issue.

Another frequently mentioned pet peeve is a lack of knowledge about good construction and design practices. Architects and builders who don’t educate clients along these lines were called out several times.

Speaking of the value of good design, our 2010 Design Excellence Awards program is now accepting applications. Enter to receive the recognition you deserve. Our competition costs less than any other residential design awards program in the custom home market, so give it a shot.

You can find information, past winners and entry instructions for the RD&B 2010 Design Excellence Awards by visiting