Let’s meet our ASID Emerging Professionals Co-Chair, Anna Sanders!  Anna graduated from Alexandria Technical and Community College for Interior Design in May of 2018. She works as a residential and commercial designer for Lighthouse Construction out of Detroit Lakes, MN. Anna’s day to day varies as she works both commercial and residential design. ” Some days I will be with clients, some days on job sites, and some days I stay at my desk all day placing orders, doing paperwork and looking for inspiration for my next project. I find most of my inspiration through other designers. I have a lot of good friends who are amazing designers and I follow designers from all over the US on Instagram.”

PROCESS

What is your design process? “Lighthouse Construction has their own process that their designers follow. It starts by a free consultation with a client where we present our preliminary design agreement. They pay for our design agreement and that’s where we start the drafting and design. Once a design is approved we move into product selection. After production selection is complete we estimate and sell the project. Through the preliminary design phase I, as the designer, am working with the clients to make sure their dreams and wishes are put to life.”

Do you use apps to grow your business?  “What social media platforms do you use? I am the social media guru at my office so I take care of content creation and implementation. We have Facebook and Instagram platforms. I use the app Hootsuite to pre post several days in advance so I can keep up to date with my posting schedule.”

How many people are on your team? “If so, how many roles? Lighthouse Construction has 2 in house designers, including myself. We have a design coordinator who reviews all our designs and construction drawings. I have 2 others who help with social media content creation.”

Do you outsource any work?  “When working on larger commercial projects we outsource an architect. This is mainly for the architectural stamp we need for permitting. I am the designer at our office who handles all other commercial projects. We do all residential work in house unless requested by our client.”

Where do you source your leads? “Most of our leads are referral based. However we have an advertising budget that does generate leads as well.”

How do you qualify your leads? “Because we charge for our designs, that is our main qualifier. If they’re not willing to pay for the design, they won’t be willing to pay construction costs.”

How do you bill your clients?  “Our Preliminary Design Agreement is paid up front as a flat fee. Our sales team determines this price based on the size of the project. Through time tracking on all our projects, they can have an accurate idea on how much time a new project is projected to take and turns this into a flat fee. Our construction is based on an estimate in which we gather bids from subs and trades, as well as price out product selected by the home owner. They then use progress payments throughout the construction process.”

 

GETTING ORGANIZED

How do you organize your projects? “I have a filing system at my desk so all leads go in a drawer until they’re converted to PDA’s (Preliminary Design Agreements) where they go in an organizer on my desk. Once they’re signed to a job and move into construction they are transferred to a binder for better organization for all the additional details needed for construction.”

Do you use online tools? If so, what do you use? “Lighthouse Construction uses an online project management software called BuilderTrend, which has everything from schedules to product selection, client portals and more. It is a great tool for homeowners, subcontractors, and the designer to relay messages for great communcation throughout the life of the project.”

How do you communicate with subs? “If I am needing to communicate with subs I call, text or email. I highly recommend getting important details in writing! Each sub has their preferred method of communication, it’s learning how you work with each other to create long standing relationships with everyone you use.”

How do you communicate with the clients? “We communicate through in variety of forms. The project management software we use has a client communication feature, but we also text, call and email depending on what the customer is most comfortable with. Lighthouse Construction has provided me with a work cell phone so I accept texts, as I keep my phone off outside of work hours. It is SO important to create a healthy work life balance!”

Anna’s Favorites!

Favorite Design Trend: “I love black! Black walls, furniture, cabinets, décor! I just think it’s so versatile and sophisticated. Black truly goes with everything.”

Favorite Material to Specify: ” I really enjoy quartz countertops. Quartz is versatile in color, pattern and texture so it can be used in virtually every project. It my favorite way to change and elevate the look of a space!”

Favorite Project: “My favorite project to date has been one of my most challenging. This client had an extreme attention to details and design but also one of the largest budgets I’ve been able to work with. So I was able to really play with new products, textures, and patterns than most of my clients to date.” 

Anna can be found on Instagram @Lighthouseconstruct or @Annamarieinteriordesign.