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Why Aren't the IDs I Contacted Responding to Me?

In many ways, finding an interior designer for your home is like finding a date.

You go through (or stalk) their profile. Put them through an internal ‘auditing’ process to decide if they are just your type; and if they do – reach out to them for a shot.

Maybe you dropped them a message, went through a friend (hello there!) for a recommendation, or met up with them at an event or their office (ballsy). Everything seems to go according to plan… until you’re met with radio silence for the next few days - or weeks. Ouch.

Bedok Central by Third Paragraph
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We know all too well how unpleasant it can be when someone goes unresponsive. Is that a yes or a no? Should you find someone else? Will your renovation ever be completed in time at this rate? And we’ve seen our fair share of anxious ‘why isn’t the ID calling me back’ messages to know that it’s a huge issue many homeowners face.

So, to ease your mind a little (and help you finally move on), we check out 5 common (but unsaid) reasons why an interior designer might go unresponsive on you:

1. Your Key Collection Is Too Far Off

Steven Suites by The Interior Lab
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We know you’re anxious to settle plans down (so you won’t have to think about them when it’s too late). But attempting to engage an ID one, two years before collecting your keys? You’re moving things way too fast.

Working with an ID isn’t the same as booking a flight or a hotel room. Whether it’s inflation or the supply and demand of materials, locking in a price that far ahead would be unwise - costs will fluctuate and resources will differ over a long period of time. This also makes it hard for an ID to commit to an agreement.

Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 by The Concept
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That’s why the best time to reach out to an ID is 6 months before collecting your keys if you have a BTO, or soon after you have signed the Option-to-Purchase (OTP) agreement for a resale unit. Enough time for the ID to project an accurate costing for your renovation, and for you to really decide on a design you’ll love.

2. It’s The ‘Lull’ Period – IDs Have to Rest Too!

Elias Road by Livspace
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Sometimes, it’s not that they ‘don’t want your business’, so to speak. Rather, you’ve simply got them at the wrong time. Just like everyone else, IDs have their ‘breaks’ too, to allow them to rest and recharge from having to work 7 days a week (and then some) on multiple projects.

Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 by Aart Boxx Interior
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Most IDs would close their offices for a couple of weeks during Chinese New Year, as well as the Christmas and New Year week. So, for a higher chance of them getting back to you, avoid contacting or planning works around these dates.

3. It’s the Rush Hour Period – IDs are Too Busy to Respond!

Jurong West Street 64 by The Interior Lab
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On the flipside, catch them during their busy periods, and responses dry up as they become too swamped with projects to handle. Unfortunately, we can’t (nor can the ID) really predict when would their ‘Rush Hour’ periods be, but generally, we see more projects underway during the end of the year. Why? A common reason is that most homeowners are rushing to complete their home in time for Christmas or Chinese New Year.

4. Your Budget Doesn’t Meet Their Requirements

Bukit Batok West Avenue 9 by Swiss Interior Design
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Here’s the truth. It’s not just homeowners who filter and pick out designers they’d like to work with. IDs do that too with clients – and some firms have a minimum budget requirement before they consider working on a project. Of course, this isn’t explicitly put out for risk of coming off too snobbish, and we’re not going to name names here (if that’s what you’re looking for), but if an ID gives you the cold shoulder after discussing your initial budget – well, now you know.

Riverbank @ Fernvale by Fineline Design
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Even so, if you’re still getting nowhere even after reaching out to so many IDs, it might simply be that your budget is too low for the amount of works you’d like to do. For instance, if you’re setting aside only $10,000 to renovate an entire home – maybe it’s time to relook that sum! Set realistic expectations; and if you’re not sure how much to quote, use our Renovation Calculator to find out a reasonable ballpark.

5. They Aren’t the Right Professionals for the Job

Alkaff Crescent by Zenith Arc
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Interior designers aren’t end-all, be-all experts. And some types of works – though seemingly related – fall out of their job scope or expertise.

In particular, not many interior designers are keen to take on small, minor works like building a two-door wardrobe, or installing a toilet bowl – which might be better suited for a contractor or handyman. Also, some might not have the expertise to carry out specialist work – for instance building a loft mezzanine.

The Clement Canopy by Anhans Interior Design
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Likewise, if you’re planning on renovating your landed property, do note not all IDs are equipped to handle Addition and Alteration works (A&A) for landed structures. Besides, any major reconstruction works that may affect the structural integrity of a building (like adding an additional level) require a builder or architect’s expertise, not an ID. So, don’t take it to heart if an ID falls off the radar - he/she might simply be unable to help you after all.

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