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Business Advice5 min

How to Engage Design Conscious Construction Clients

Home improvement shows have been sparking inspiration in viewers for years. With increased time spent at home more recently, many homeowners and renters busied themselves with home projects, seeking inspiration through shows like Fixer Upper and Dream Home Makeover

With an abundance of inspiration at their disposal, clients may have design goals that exceed their budget. We talked to building professional Kyle Stumpenhorst to get his tips for helping clients achieve their goals without breaking the bank.

Capturing Client Requirements in Construction Projects

 “In my experience most homeowners do have taste that exceeds their budget," notes Stumpenhorst. It's perfectly normal for a client to lack awareness when it comes to home building costs, so when they come to their builder they will need some direction.

Stumpenhorst's biggest tip is to spend money in areas where you will get the most "bang for your buck." The best way to elevate an exterior is to invest in quality siding such as LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® siding, which comes prefinished with factory-applied paint to help keep exteriors looking great. In addition to being one of the most durable siding options on the market, ExpertFinish siding delivers on aesthetics for almost any house style—and choosing new siding can even help boost resale value.

Though your clients are likely to come to you with a variety of inspiration photos, when it comes to making decisions they may struggle with the specifics of what they want. While they may be drawn to a particular house style, committing to specific colors and siding styles can be intimidating. The ExpertFinish siding color collection offers a range of colors made to mix and match so both you and your client can be confident in choosing exterior house color combos.

"Using ExpertFinish siding gives you a home run with your [clients'] paint scheme," says Stumpenhorst. "The curated collection of colors helps take the guesswork out of trying to figure out a coordinating color scheme that looks great."

Questions to Ask a Client When Designing a Home

Asking your clients specific questions about their house style and exterior goals can help you both narrow down exactly what they're looking for. Some helpful questions to cover include:

What is your budget?

While this may seem like an obvious question, setting realistic expectations upfront is crucial to a successful project and productive client engagement. Knowing their budget—and where they wish it to be allocated—allows you to properly communicate what is achievable and make further design recommendations to suit their needs.

Is there a specific house style you are drawn to?

Modern, farmhouse, cottage, traditional, colonial, coastal, craftsman—there are many exterior house styles to choose from and many different siding trends that go with each one. Attaching a specific name to a client's exterior aesthetic goals may be helpful to narrow down their vision and make siding decisions. For example, black and white siding lends itself to modern structures while colonial style homes tend to combine more saturated colors.

Other important topics to cover with your client include time frame, project size, design non-negotiables and expectations of a client-contractor relationship

Still, your clients may need help imagining the final look. To help your clients envision various color combinations, suggest they use a visual aid such as the LP SmartSide Home Visualizer

Advice for Elevating Your Exterior 

Beyond siding, Stumpenhorst recommends using expensive exterior details and accessories sparingly. "If you are on a budget but still want your exterior to feel elevated, incorporate design details in high visibility areas such as around your entrance," he suggests.

If you want to increase visual interest for your clients without spending a ton on exterior accessories, get creative with siding materials. 

"I personally really like the look of board and batten style siding created with ExpertFinish panel siding and trim for batten strips," says Stumpenhorst. "The cedar texture ExpertFinish shake panels are also a really easy option on gable end walls to make a home stand out. It's easy to create visual interest by using a combination of these types of siding in addition to lap siding."

As you interact with more design conscious construction clients, they will look to you for guidance for styles that align with their budget. Find more siding inspiration here.

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