Ask someone what a color consultant does and you’ll either get a blank stare or they might tell you that a color consultant is an interior designer. Or maybe they’ll think it’s that lady who helped them pick a paint color for their kitchen remodel.
There are so many skills and tasks that make up a great color consultant, but many of these are not included in the standard job description. It’s important to know exactly what will be expected of you and to choose a position that matches your career goals and unique skill set. Here are some very important but often unmentioned tasks that are necessary to becoming a successful color consultant.
Communicating and connecting with your color clients
Color consultants work very closely with their clients. Excellent people skills and communication are a must in this business. From initially speaking to a potential client on the phone about your services, to meeting with them in their home, to navigating the delicate waters of working with an entire Home Owners Association board, property manager or real estate agent, a color consultant’s ability to communicate effectively and listen to their clients’ needs can make or break a project.
If a client doesn’t connect with you or feel heard, it’ll be difficult to have a successful project. Sometimes you will feel more like a color therapist than a color consultant. But clear communication and professional boundaries is key. Connect with your clients but focus on the project.
Setting expectations about your color consulting services
Equally important as communication is setting clear and appropriate expectations with clients before starting a project. This can be one of the hardest parts of dealing with clients. It’s your responsibility to communicate what you offer. Clearly explain the services you offer, how you offer them (virtual or in-home), at what fees and by what deadline. Leave nothing up for debate. Nothing!
A simple yet detailed contract can be priceless and offers a professional way to state what you offer and what you do not. Some clients may not intend to be difficult. It’s just that they genuinely have no idea what a color consultant is and what a consultation includes.
Meanwhile, other clients are difficult by nature and your contract and clear communication will prevent you from being caught in the drama. Be prepared to kindly say no to any crazy expectations that are not in the contract or are not appropriate. Nothing feels worse than a client saying their expectations were not met despite you working extremely hard on a project. Be clear from the start, and there will be no room for confusion.
Tackling office tasks
This is perhaps the biggest overlooked task or skill not mentioned in job descriptions for color consultants. So much time goes into the behind-the-scenes administrative tasks that clients don’t always notice.
From initial discovery phone calls with clients to numerous emails with virtual consultations, or writing up color plans for clients and updating social media, these daily tasks are the heart of getting the job done well.
The biggest administrative task is specifying colors and creating color plans for clients. This is the heart of what a color consultant does. Depending on the scope of each project, this can take an hour, a day, or even a few weeks. No matter what, these are all tasks that must be done correctly and definitely take a good chunk of time.
Have amazing time management
Specific color consultation positions will vary. This all depends on whether you are self-employed, are staff at a design firm, or are contracting with other designers, architects, realtors, or builders.
The one thing that will remain a constant is your ability to be a great time manager. You must be efficient, organized and meet the deadlines stated in your project contracts. Your clients and team are relying on you to know when certain tasks must be done. No one loves stressing out to meet a deadline because they’d procrastinated on a project. Focus and manage your time wisely.
Be super flexible with your schedule
The ability to be flexible in your schedule, design style and way of working each day is a HUGE skill not often mentioned in job descriptions. If flexibility is an issue, then this might not be the career path for you.
Each and every day, color consultants must be able to adjust their day when scheduling clients. They must be willing to adjust their vision and design style to accommodate their client’s preferred design tastes and style.
When a client calls to reschedule because of a conflict, can you easily adjust your schedule? When a client loves modern design but you love rustic farmhouse style, can you still offer them a color scheme they will love? When you have a color consultation on one end of town in the morning and another color consultation at the opposite end of town right after, can you handle commuting? These are all very real scenarios that color consultants handle every day.
Flexibility is important, but so is having a clear system in place that works well for you. If you are self-employed, you can set your own schedule and work virtually, too. Setting specific days each week for meeting with clients is also helpful.
Know about current trends
As a color consultant, clients look to you to know what the latest trends are. It’s your job to attend events, network with other design professionals, and have the latest color tools on hand. This shows your clients you are an expert and the color professional they want to work with.
Being up-to-date with current color trends might be the most fun aspect of the job not included in typical job descriptions. Who doesn’t love to get dressed up, hear about the latest trends, and get inspired? Staying in-the-know boosts your creativity and keeps you on the cutting edge, which is exactly why your clients love working with you. We really do have the best job!
More Than Paint Color
Clients hear the word color consultant and often assume that this means a trained professional who assists in choosing the perfect paint colors for walls in their home. While this is true, a color consultation can include choosing colors for much more than walls. During a consultation, clients may need recommendations in choosing the best color for flooring, stain, roofing, cabinetry, counter tops or tile as well.
Having a solid education in color will prepare you for helping your clients with other color decisions and assist you in broadening the services you offer. It’s a win-win! You get to decide what services you offer. Focus on your strengths and don’t feel pressured to offer everything to everyone. Do what you do best and stick with it!
While all of these tasks and skills are not always included in a color consultants job description, they are important to be aware of as you become a color expert. What will you offer? What will you not offer? How do you work best? By considering each of these questions, you can set yourself up for success and have a thriving career as a color consultant.
Are there other skills and tasks often left out of the job description worth knowing? Leave a comment!