Collaboration isn’t easy, but there are steps spa owners and consultants can take to pave the way for a smooth working experience. Spoiler alert: Communication is key.
“Ask lots of questions, constantly. When the consultant needs information, provide it as thoroughly as possible and always think in terms of we. A good consultant will become part of the team and actually be sorry to leave the project when it is completed.”—Jane Segerberg, founder and president, Segerberg Spa Consulting
“Communication is critical from both parties. The clearer the client can be on fees, scope, timeline, and expectations, the better. Write an RFP—request for proposal—that is clear about your concept so the consultant can prepare and review it before a call. Let the consultant know your process and expectations as much as possible. Ask lots of questions. Let them know your style—for example, some clients want weekly calls and updates, and others are too busy and want the consultants to run with the deliverables.”—Amy McDonald, owner and CEO, Under a Tree
“Open communication and honesty make for the very best owner-consultant relationships. If you’ve chosen the best consultant for your project and put your trust in them, you must take an active part in making the project successful. Keep an open mind, because sometimes it can be hard for people who are so close to a situation and personally invested to remain objective and trust the consultant.”—Julie Pankey, managing partner, JMPankey Partners
“There’s got to be kind of a shared vision of how the project is going to go. Spell out the deliverables before any work is done so there’s a detailed scope of work. Outline the deliverables you’re going to get and how the payment is going to work—here’s the mobilization fee, here’s a progress fee, here’s the presentation, here’s the final fee—and break it down in phases. Hashing it out up front is really important.”—Kim Matheson Shedrick, senior vice president, WTS International
“As with any relationship, some fits are better than others. We believe in honesty, even if the news isn’t what you want to hear. If you value hands-on experience, years of industry knowledge, integrity, honesty, a hard work ethic, financial value, and someone who always looks out for your best interests even after the project is completed, then we are right for each other.”—Jim Croghan, CEO, Identity Hospitality