Saturday, November 23, 2013

How To: Take Housing Commissions

Original post up at the Homes and Tomes Information Desk.

This information is for sale in a book on the broker on Antonia Bayle (as long as I remember to keep it stocked).

Always remember when accepting a commission that YOU are building a home for SOMEONE ELSE.

That means that what you build may not match their vision of what they want, and they may ask you to change aspects of what you have already built. DO NOT BE OFFENDED BY THIS. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while what you built may be wonderful, it may not be what the homeowner wants.

But also remember that you are just as much of a player and are equal in status to the individual who is commissioning you. The fact that you are working for them does not make you inferior to them in any way. Do not feel guilty if you need to take breaks from the commission to do other things in the game. Just because you have accepted a commission does not mean that all of your time must be spent working on the commission.

On the flip side, always be polite to your homeowner. A big part of receiving future commissions is the reputation you build. A decorator who is a pleasure to work with is more likely to receive commissions than one who is a prima donna, no matter what their decorating skill level.

The very first thing you should do when someone approaches you about a commission is to find out the scope of the project.

Does the homeowner want just a room built? Just a feature in a room? An entire home decorated? An entire home built from scratch?

Knowing the scope of the project will help you to determine how much you should charge the homeowner for your work.

After you have found out the scope of the project, you should agree on a price and payment plan for your work with the homeowner.

Are you including the fuel cost in your fee, or is the fuel cost an additional fee that they must cover? This is something you should think of before you discuss payment with the homeowner, and that you should tell them up front.

Will you be charging them per room you build? Or will you charge them a flat rate based on the estimated amount of time you think it will take you?

Are you charging them in Krono? Station Marketplace items? Platinum? A combination?

Is the homeowner expected to pay you everything up front? Or will you accept half now, half at completion?

No matter what payment option you go with, it is suggested that you bank the payment until after the completion of the home. If for some reason you must end the commission early, before you have completed the scope of the project, this will allow you to refund the homeowner.

If you have done some decorating, but not all, you are within your rights to retain some of the payment. You have done work, after all.

Often, we as decorators find ourselves busy during the 1st through the 7th of each month, as well as the 20th and 21st. We put our projects on hold in order to stock up on City Festival and Moonlight Enchantments items. If a holiday makes an appearance, we may be even busier collecting the once-a-year items holidays offer. MAKE SURE YOUR HOMEOWNER KNOWS THIS BEFOREHAND.

It may be necessary to remind them that you are a player in addition to being a decorator, and that you will be stocking up on items during those times of the month, so that they do not look at their home and wonder why it has been a week since any work has been done.

If for some reason you are unable to work on a project for an extended period of time, communicate with the homeowner and let them know what is going on. Even if it is something as simple as, “I have been having a hard time on your project and will be taking a weeklong break to work on other things and clear my head. The project will resume in a week’s time.”

Do you have problems with other people changing things as you are building? Let the homeowner know in advance. It is often a good idea to inform them of things such as, “I understand that this is your home, and you may wish to make changes or add details. Please refrain from doing so until I am finished with your project.”

There are two walkthroughs you should do before you start on any project.

The first walkthrough is a tour of your own work, if the homeowner has not seen any of it yet. This will ensure that the homeowner likes your style before agreeing to the project. There is nothing worse than agreeing to a project, beginning to build to the homeowner’s specifications, and then for them to say, “I am sorry, but your style does not suit what I am looking for.”

The second walkthrough is of the house zone you are planning on building in. The homeowner should give you a tour of the zone, noting any specific ideas for the home that they have. TAKE COPIOUS NOTES! Forgetting an important feature that the client requested is always a pain!

It is always a good idea to create a player written notebook with the scope of the project, the price you are charging, the payment plan the homeowner will be using, any details about the project that the homeowner has given you, and any information you wish the homeowner to remember.

Make two copies. Keep one copy for your own records. Give the second copy to the homeowner. This will allow them to reference your information easily, and will act as a reminder that you are a player with your own game to play (as long as you include that reminder in the book you give them).



Jazabelle's project for Jadirah

A copy of the Qeynosian Riverfront Property (created by Jazabelle), modified to fit on a Tenebrous Island Refuge. A shed for tinkering will be added on, and the entire island will be landscaped.

3000 platinum for the Qeynosian Riverfront Property.
1000 platinum for the landscaping and shed.
Fuel costs included in the prices.
Total: 4000 platinum
HALF PAID UP FRONT. Other half to be paid upon completion of the project.

I will be busy on the 1-7 and 20-21 of each month. If any holidays occur during the time I am working on your home, I will be taking time to do the holiday quests for furniture and the like.

I will not be able to work on your home 100% of the time I am online. I too have a game to play, and while I love decorating, sometimes I feel the need to do other things.

I understand that your home is an extension of you in game, and I will do my utmost to complete it in a timely manner.

It is likely it will take me anywhere from a week to several months to complete your project. I apologize about the time, however, as we discussed, I am not able to play as often as I would like. This impacts how quickly your home will be built.

If for any reason I find myself unable to work on your home for an extended period of time, I will do my utmost to give you warning in advance.

As we discussed, I prefer not to have anyone else working on a project when I am. You are welcome to make any changes or additions to the home once I have completed the project. Until then, please refrain from adding or changing anything without first discussing it with me.

The kitchen should have two large ovens, an old fashioned stove, and pan racks. This is the kitchen of someone who /loves/ to cook.

The shed should be a tinkerer's dream. It needs to be sturdy. It also needs to be /messy/. This is a tinkerer who constantly wanders off in the middle of projects to work on other projects.

There should be some sort of support structure at the edge of the island, for someone to hang over the side.