How It Works

    Client: What services do you offer?

    • Lighting Plans / Lighting Design
    • Lighting Suggestions / Specification
    • *Site Visits
    • Lighting Advice
    • Lighting Sales

    You can have any or all of these services (*pls see my terms about site visits in the site visit section). Many clients like having a one-stop-shop for all their lighting, finding value and time savings in having a single point of contact for their lighting, as in: 'Ask Autumn'. It also helps keep the lighting cohesive and provides a more accurate overview of costs. However, if you only need me to help you find the perfect pendant for your new kitchen or want advice (like what fittings to buy, how big they should be, where should they be installed, etc) I am very happy to help no matter the size of the job.

    Client: How much will it cost?

    My rate is £24 per hour, including VAT. Pay as you go. No minimum, no contracts.

    Here's a rough guide about how long things might take:

    • Lighting Plans----------- 2 to 4 hours per floor (typically)
    • Site Visits-----------------1 to 2 hours + travel (typically)
    • Lighting Suggestions----15 min to 30 min per fitting (typically)
    • Lighting Advice-----------TBD
    • Lighting Sales------------No Charge
      • A 4/5 bed house with Plans, Face to Face Meetings, Questions, Site Visits and Specification can take anywhere from 18 hours to 40 hours.

    These are only estimates (based on experience). Each client is unique and has different needs. Some make decisions very quickly and others are more comfortable turning over every stone. I go at your pace. I won't embark on any work without your say so. For example, if you need a bedside wall light, I will (a) ask you if you want me to look for one for you and (b) ask you if you want a time cap, such as 1 hour. This applies to all my billing - you set the cap and I stick to the brief. I'm very sensitive about not wasting my clients money. Trust is priceless and makes working together a joy.

    Client: How/What do you charge?

    I like to keep it simple. I charge £20 + VAT [£24] per hour, billed weekly. You set the amount you spend by deciding how long I should work, so you always know where you're up to and keeps you in control. For example, 'Please let me know when you've hit 2 hours, Autumn, and we'll see if we need more time or not'. I believe it's very important that you know how much you're spending, and that you are deriving value from my services. I track my time in a written journal. I include a breakdown of time spent in your invoice. I am always open to any questions you may have about your bill. No contracts, you can stop anytime you like.

    Client: Why are your fees so low?

    Hiring an expert shouldn't be restricted to those with deep pockets. I keep my fees low so that my services are easy to use and help you feel relaxed about hiring me. A lot of value can be added in an hour. Besides, I am fully aware that building/renovating/remodelling/extending is a huge expense, and I don't want the lighting to be neglected because it's not in the budget. Also, I don't do CAD or photometrics.

    Client: Do you do site visits?

    Site visits are very useful and I enjoy them tremendously. Yes I do site visits but within reason. I don't drive to client's houses at night for meetings and I don't travel to site beyond a 45 minute radius. Too much time on the road is counter productive. If you are at a considerable distance from me, we can use WhatsApp, videos, facetime and calls to get the lighting sorted (consulting remotely is not unusual in today's digitally connected world. I just had a client in London tell me that I am her favourite person she's never met!). 

    Client: How do we communicate?

  • WhatsApp
  • Face to Face Meetings
  • Site Visits
  • Phone Calls
  • I love WhatsApp. WhatsApp is a lot more agile than emails. It's fast, it's instant, we can focus on single issues instead of getting overwhelmed and we can share photos in a flash. Emoji's are useful for feedback. It's a great way to keep records of decisions and time. WhatsApp is wonderful for agreeing when to meet and confirming appointments. I like to create lighting groups when there is more than just myself and one client involved, such as a spouse, architect, interior designer, project manger, etc. Face to Face meetings are held either at your house (typically) or at a coffee shop (with wifi). And I love a phone call too.  Not a fan of emails, I find that the threads keep getting tangled! 

    Client: Can I call you on the weekend or evenings?

    Definitely! I understand that many of my client's have day jobs and need to talk about ideas out of hours. Meetings are a bit trickier - the weekends are usually fine for meetings but not weekday evenings. But we can work together at night over WhatsApp, so it's not a problem. 

    Client: How do you present your work?

    PLANS: My plans are simple, agile and flexible, which helps keep up with inevitable changes without lengthy (and costly) updates. My favourite method is to mark up existing architectural drawings (that you email to me) and then I email the lighting plans to you as a PDF for us to discuss, or we look at them together in a face to face meeting. If you want to save money, I can do a basic plan with lighting locations without circuits or a legend key, it's up to you. If required, I can roughly recreate your floor plan if you haven't got any floor plans for me to mark up but it takes a lot of time and it is rough. PLEASE NOTE: My plans are not to scale. I am not an architect. I don't work in CAD and I don't do CGI's. I can, however, meet with your architect so they can drop the lighting plan into their drawings if required. Alternatively, there are people who do CAD for an hourly rate, somewhere in the region of £50 - £75 per hour. But I don't think it's required. I've done it this way for decades and it works well with simple PDF plans - sometimes just pencil marks on plans work brilliantly!

    SUGGESTIONS: A great way to make light fitting suggestions is by engaging in a WhatsApp chat with you. I ping you images and links to lights (either from my website or from other websites), explain why I like it for you and what to watch out for, and you give me feedback. It works really well. I usually start the ball rolling by creating a wish list for you on my website with a selection of lighting suggestions I want to show you. Once I share the wish list link with you, you'll be able to check back anytime you like as we go along. When I update the wish list with new lights or remove lights, each time you click on the link, you'll see the latest version. Pretty handy.

    Client: Do you work for the lighting manufacturers?

    No, I work for you. I am not a manufacturer representative and I am not a lighting agent. I am not beholden to sell you lights from any particular brand on anyone's behalf or for their benefit. My fiduciary duty is to you. I have never steered any of my customers to lights for personal or financial gain. I only put lights forward that I believe are good options. In fact, I try really hard to find the best priced option and will warn you if I think a light is overpriced. I am an independent small business owner, AKA ' a one-man band' (even though I'm a woman, not a man ;) and I take pride in my work. It's personal, and that's a good thing because your lighting should very much be personal!

    Client: Where/When do we begin?

     You can bring me in at any point up to the final installation.

    • EARLY: Before you break foundation: Get ahead start on the lighting plans and an idea of options, quantities and costs so you can carve out a budget. Be aware that there will be lots of changes along the way but at least you have a good idea of what to expect. 
    • IDEAL: After you figure out your furniture layout but a month or so before first fix. Brilliant timing for nailing your lighting. 
    • PRE-FIRST FIX: First fix is around the corner and your builder wants to tell the electrician where to put his cables. We need to work around the clock to make sure that you're not stuck with lights you don't want (too many downlights) and haven't missed out on that gorgeous light you love because there's no cable for it or we can't dim it cause the right cable hasn't been fitted.
    • POST FIRST FIX: Cables are in, we are now working with what is and I will help you choose the best options that will work with the existing cables and control, but choices will be limited.
    • DAMAGE CONTROL: Lights [by others] are ordered/delivered but you're not sure they're right. Bring me over to have a look at give you honest advice before you have them installed. 

    Client: What if I don't know what I want?

    That's totally normal. Unlike me, who thinks about lighting all the time - most people don't think about lighting until they have to make decisions. It's one of those things that people tend to take for granted until presented with the overwhelming task of picking it all out, then you realise how complex it really is. Not to worry, I'll ask you a series of questions that will give us an indication about where we should start, very conversational, very natural. This usually begins with what you don't like. I'll show you lights, costs and ideas. Your reactions will direct the next set of options. I'm here to guide you so that you find what you want - not tell you want I want.

    Client: What if your online shop doesn't have lighting I want?

    No problem, I'll look at other websites to find the right light(s) for you (everyone loves Pooky!). Even if I'm not the one to sell them to you, I still care deeply about them being right for you. I can't dig as deep into other provider's information as I can my own (I have direct access to price lists, suppliers & manufacturers for the lights I sell - info straight from the horse's mouth) but I know what to look for regardless and what to scrutinise to avoid problems. Your happiness is my number one priority. I will say that the lights in my online shop are added by me personally, and studied within an inch of their life, they come with warranties, after sales care and a solid supply chain, making it a pretty safe bet.

    Client: My electrician said he can do my lighting, is that a good idea?

    Hmmm, well, I suggest you visit my page on electricians compared to lighting designers. Read More

    Client: How do we stop if I no longer need your help?

    This tends to happen very naturally, a drifting begins, and I know that you are moving on and hopefully very satisfied with my services! I may check in to see of you sorted, it's all very copacetic. Since there are no contracts, you don't have any obligation to continue beyond what you want/need. And the door is always open :)

    Client: It's been a year since we spoke, is it okay to call you for some advice?

    I love hearing from my old clients, it brings me such joy! I most likely will be able to pick up where we left off, as these projects mean a great deal to me. Yes, my door is always open :) 

     

    Call Autumn, residential lighting consultant, to discuss your lighting needs. (m) 07943469433