What do Clients value?

In the absence of real research into what clients value, and will pay a premium to get, I will draw on my own experience. Others will have different experiences – so if yours differs from mine, please tell me. I think that the majority of clients have these values, more or less in this order:

  1. Certainty of outcomes, particularly with respect to time and cost: “No surprises”
  2. Functionality: Everything works as expected and as it should, whether or not mentioned in the design brief
  3. Enhanced Return on Investment – RoI: (expressed as high net lettable floor area, more units per acre, higher than average rentals or sales, etc.
  4. Where the client is the end user:
    • Durability: Long-lasting
    • Maintainability: Low upkeep
    • Efficiency: Low operating cost
  5. Where the client is not the end user:
    • Enhanced sale value, as a multiplier on investment
    • Limited financial risk until approvals and financing are secured
    • Absolute minimum investment before resale potential is established
  6. All subjective factors, such “good design”, triple bottom line responsibility, sustainability, low carbon footprint, etc.

There are very few clients where the last item is higher up the priority scale.

The first five items are all perceived as carrying a significant component of risk, and the great majority of clients want to minimise risk; in the first instance by shifting it.

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