HomePool Designer, Outdoor Living Landscape Architect BlogBack


Part 5 of a GENESIS® Free Thinking Blog series

Pool Design article by Brian Van Bower, SWD Master, GENESIS® Ambassador & Co-Founder


Just before writing this column, I terminated a relationship with a wealthy potential client who, frankly, showed all the signs of posing wall-to-wall problems: She was, for example, unable to see value in paying me to make a site visit, despite the fact she wanted me to assess an existing project that she’d recently had installed.

She was, she told me, extremely unhappy with the work and basically wanted me to offer a critique that might become the basis of a lawsuit. I responded that I was unwilling to adjust my fees for travel, that I was unwilling to work via e-mailed photographs (as she had suggested) and that I certainly was not interested in participating in her desire to seek a pound of flesh.

I was polite and professional, of course, but it was extremely satisfying to hang up the phone and move on to more enjoyable work – and in this specific instance, a project for clients of more limited means. Taking this step away from a lucrative hell to deal instead with people who are upbeat and positive about what we’ll accomplish made perfect sense to me. The point is, good and bad clients exist on all levels and, again, making assumptions based on economic status is simply a poor way to go.

Yes, it’s easy to pigeonhole clients. On a certain level, that’s human nature, and stereotypes exist because there are often kernels of truth in them. Just the same, whenever I find myself falling into some sort of prejudicial thinking about clients, it’s usually at those times that the assumptions fall to pieces.

There have been times, for example, when I’ve met wealthy people who, upon introduction, seemed like members of the maintenance staff. Fortunately, I’m seasoned enough to avoid saying anything dumb to anyone under those circumstances. To my mind, however, incidents such as these drive home the point that you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Bottom line: The things that make for good clients and great projects don’t necessarily revolve around wealth. Instead they boil down to the value that we and our clients agree to place on the tasks at hand. When you look at the art of watershaping in that way, you’ll find that working with clients across the spectrum isn’t difficult.

If you’re true to yourself, if you free yourself from assumptions and if you recognize that, for the most part, clients all want the same things, the complex issues of client relations will far more easily fall into place.

I welcome comments and feedback and can be reached at brian@aquaticconsultantsinc.com and you can visit our website at www.aquaticconsultantsinc.com.

GENESIS® Ambassador & Co-Founder

Brian Van Bower

Aquatic Consultants Inc.
13775 SW 145 CT. Suite A
Miami FL 33186
T (305) 383-7266
F (305) 383-7266
Skype: bvanbower and andy.kaner