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Decorating & Furniture/Inexperienced decorator


An acquaintance, with known artistic ability, told me he was interested in exploring development of an interior decorating business and was looking to do some work on a volunteer basis to develop a portfolio. I mentioned I had been considering consluting with a decorator to revamp an area of our house and he was welcome to use my project to develop his portfolio. I have never used a decorator before. He came and discussed the project (one room) with me and had some good ideas. He then apparently went off in search of some specific items based on our discussion, then told me he couldn't  really do this for free.  I don't mind reimbursing him for some basic costs (such as gas, mileage) if he wants to get into actually seeking out specific items, but he seems to have decided he's ready for primetime versus the original guenia pig concept. Any advice on handing this situation?  

At the risk of sounding like Dear Abby, "next time" ask what charges are involved.  If what he stated was working with you on a "volunteer basis" that implies FREE in almost every language I'm familiar with.  I would not feel responsible for any costs he incurred on your behaf.  

Anyone who is reputable in any business situation knows that you don't incur costs unless you're a) willing to eat them; b) had them pre-approved; or c) have a contract to purchase items and incur costs on another's behaf.

The best approach is to be direct, to the point and as pleasant (yet firm) as you can be.  Hope that solves your situation.


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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik


Visit my web site at: Decor: I've written about it, planned it, designed it and colored it, and I've never stopped loving it. It's not what you spend, or who made it, it's how it makes you feel.


College, advertising, public relations, marketing, free-lance writing and a plethora of creative endeavors have led me here. As an entrepreneur in decorative product design, I learned the hard way how tough it can be to be in business for yourself. A stint at a law firm taught me humility too. Some three thousand questions ago, I wondered if I could really help. Obviously, I'm still here and still taking your questions. God Bless You!

"From Day One" and "Day After Day" available nationwide via bookstores and HTTP:// (HomeStyle articles beginning in 1998) Visit me at

BA, Psychology

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