By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!






Ghosting can happen to any of us and obviously is not predictable.

It’s something that you need to have policies in place and processes to handle if and when the client comes back. 

What does ghosting look like?

Ghosting can take many forms and happens for many reasons. The most common ghosting in our world is in the beginning stages of a project. What I see designers do more often than not, myself included, is wonder what we did wrong. 

Another reaction may be denial. They assume the client could just be busy or tired up or they have young kids and maybe one was sick, etc. 

All of those are possible, but the reality is they may have ghosted you for a reason, and in my experience, it has little to nothing to do with the designer. It is more typical to be along the lines of cold feet, finance issues, or their partner really not knowing what they were getting into. 

The good news is while you can’t control cold feet or financial issues, you can control a partner or decision maker, not being fully dialed in. And that is by insisting that they are a part of all emails, meetings, etc., so that they are dialed in from the beginning. That doesn’t mean that those two people are on the same page as far as finances, so again, that is something you can’t control, but you can control dialing that person in. And I truly recommend you implement this if you aren’t already. 

Unfortunately, these scenarios are much more common than we’d like them to be, but knowing that they could happen should also be a part of your process as far as implementing mitigation policies like insisting that both decision makers are a part of these pivotal meetings, discussing finances very upfront and early in the stages so you’re not wasting your time. 

The cold feet is a tough one to prevent, but be on the lookout for it. See if you can sense something in the meeting and address it immediately. The goal is that if this project isn’t going to happen to stop the bleeding as soon as possible. 

Now, that being said, you are not to work for free. If they engaged your services to start the process, then they need to pay for the services that started the process. And you may be thinking, well, they’re ghosting me, Renee, how can I bill them? Well, you just send them the bill. You explain that this is your time bill. The feedback I get, both in my experience and other designer’s experiences, is they do pay those bills. They did know that they were calling a professional for their services and that nothing the professional did was the reason for them ending the project together. 

So what happens during a project when a client just falls off the face of the earth? 

Those reasons aren’t necessarily that far off from a client ghosting you in the beginning. But these are situations where they typically do come back and want to restart because the project is in the middle of all the stages and their house is in some sort of disarray depending on what stage they are in. 

Or if it’s a new build and the project stops, there are typically two reasons. They’re either ghosting the designer or construction company, or they’ve put the project on pause. 

If they ghosted you and then start calling you saying, hey, I’m ready, this is typically because of a personal emergency. 

Another issue is finances. Lots of things can happen during a project that you have no control over. 

Another reason I see clients ghosting their designer is because their partner or other decision maker simply doesn’t like what’s happening. 

Honestly, you won’t always know the reason a client starts ghosting you. But when they reach back out and say, “Hi! I’m back! Let’s get started! How’s Monday?” This is where you need to take control. 

This doesn’t mean you haven’t been attempting to reach out to them. This could be days, weeks, or months of them not replying. But then the email does come. More often than not, the client doesn’t recognize that they were the instigator.

This is an opportunity for you to retake the control of the project. You need to set clear expectations that there is going to be time spent reactivating this project. Have an in-person meeting and really pay attention to body language. What really is going on here? Are they truly back in, or is there something really wrong that needs to be addressed before activating a project? 

You need to thoroughly explain that trades move on. And just because they’ve called and want to restart, that doesn’t mean everybody is available or, just drop what they’re doing and come back to a project. 

Additionally, depending on how long they have ghosted you, things may need to be reestimated. Things may no longer be available, and of course, the contractors could have moved on. Clients aren’t thinking about any of this when they are reactivating a job. 

It’s not easy to reactivate a project, and you shouldn’t bend over backward to try to make it easy for your client. This client ghosting you has greatly impacted you

There is another type of work stoppage that can happen besides ghosting. And that’s pauses. It’s not a technical term. It’s just what I call it when a client needs to pause a project. The reasons are typically the same as ghosting. But again, we never truly know the reason and what’s going on behind our client’s doors. 

If a client comes to you with an official, “I need to pause this project.”  That creates a ripple effect. You’ve got to talk to the contractors. They need to agree to this pause. All of this needs explained to the client. However, this was a professional agreement, and we need to figure out the who, what, when, and where. 

I understand this is something no one wants to experience. And while there are times when circumstances are completely out of your control, there are ways to prevent a lot of this. You will always hear me talk about clear, transparent, consistent communication. Not only does this show you’re on top of things, but it updates the client on where the project is at and also shows 

your interest in their project, which typically maintains your client’s interest in the project. Consistent communication can also help mitigate any reasons to be ghosted in the first place. 

As always if this leaves you with more questions than answers feel free to dm me on social media or email me at

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