by Heather Melcer
If you are considering hiring someone to come into your home or office, like any other service provider it’s natural to shop around, especially if you don’t have a direct referral. Here are a few things to keep in mind, as well as questions to ask, to assist you in making the right choice for you at this time:
1. Research Style.
Know your own style of research and what level of professionalism you seek. Do they have a website? Do you like the way they explain their services and style of communication? Note that some consultants don’t do marketing, it’s just a coveted phone number passed along to you by a friend, you schedule and appointment and they just show up. For some people that might be enough, however others may feel more comfortable getting to know the consultant by talking to them or thoroughly reading through a website before they make the call. Think about how you hire service providers and know what you are ultimately comfortable with it will effect your session in the long run.
And I don’t mean their Feng Shui training (that’s next). Consultants these days have very diverse backgrounds and experiences that allow them to connect with individuals in different ways. Some consultants come form a more scientific background, some artistic, some corporate, etc. Pay attention and look for that diversity and who you feel you might connect to.
3. Evaluate Training.
This might seem like a no brainer, but it’s a bit more complex in the Feng Shui world with so many methods of Feng Shui out there. There is no one single governing school or organization. Feng Shui initially was always passed down from Master to student and there are many different regions in China and the surrounding areas. Modern technology makes it much easier to access this wonderful knowledge.
The key is to find someone with in-person training that goes beyond just a weekend workshop or the reading of a few books. However, do not get too hung up on comparing classroom hours. A Feng Shui practicioner with a greater number of classroom hours or perhaps someone who has been to China, is not automatically a better consultant. Solid training and years of experience on the job are incredibly valuable. I’ve had some wonderful training, but I’ve yet to visit China; nevertheless I am a successful consultant and have helped many people (so say my clients). Some people have natural gifts to connect the energy of your environment and help you understand the principles to make changes, judge it accordingly.
4. Methods or Schools of Feng Shui.
If you didn’t even know there were different methods, don’t worry about it and skip right down to the next tip. However, if you are familiar enough with Feng Shui to know the differences between them make sure their practice incorporates your preferences. There are many methods out there (Compass, Black Hat, Eight Mansions, Flying Stars, Form School, Pyrimid School, Essential…the list goes on and on). There is no right or wrong method they all get you to the same place of creating balance and harmony in your life, they just take a slightly different route to get there. Just trust that you will connect to the right divine person who will be able to assist you at the current time. A good consult will respect all methods no matter which one they practice.
5. The Process.
Ask the consultant to describe to you what is going to happen before and during your appointment time so you have a clear understanding of what’s involved. Questions to ask are: Do they require any information before the visit? Do they leave you with any handouts or floorplans when the appointment is finished? How long will it take? Is it just one session? Consultants all work very differently, so it’s important to understand each ones process so you know what you will be getting.
What is their energy vibration like? Websites can be a first indication as they usually reflect the energy of their owners. Was it thorough, inviting and welcoming? Did they write or return your phone call in a timely, professional and clear way when you inquired about services? Notice how you feel when you received and e-mail from them or talked to them on the phone. Do you feel like you could talk to them and open up about your personal life? A Feng Shui consultation is a personal thing, it’s important to find the right person who is friendly, professional and also compassionate that you feel you can relate to. Take notice of your own energy and any feelings that come up as you talk to different people or even just look at different websites.
Obviously, it’s an important aspect to consider when deciding who to hire. Consultants are all over the map and either charge hourly, per square foot feet, or have a flat rate fee for various sizes. Some charge differently for businesses vs. residential, small apartments vs. single family homes, etc.
While the price of an on-site consultation may seem a bit high, if properly conducted, it is truly an investment in your home and for your life. Hourly based fees it generally range anywhere from $100 to $300/400 per hour for a good top consultant as well as geographical influences. So depending on the size of your space you could be spending anywhere from $300 – $1000.
Now, if you have the resources and interest you could spend thousands of dollars to fly in a Master direct from China. On the other hand, if you are on a tighter budget, someone just out of training usually charges less as they are gaining experience.
Also consider and ask what forms of payment they accept, cash, personal check, credit cards and know your personal preference right now. If an on-site visit is not within your means right now, starting with a few books or an introductory workshop to get things flowing would be a good step.
Ask what’s included and/or recommended. Can you call or e-mail and ask a question for free? I always make myself available for short, brief questions after a consultation by phone or e-mail for free, and then on-site follow-ups are optional at regular rates whenever the client feels they are ready, or interested as life progresses (Sometimes it could be 6 months down the road, sometimes 3 years or maybe never, there is no set-time) Note: If you are using a school of Feng Shui involving the compass method – do they send you the yearly cures each February automatically? Are those general or personal cures for your individual environment and/or do you need to hire them to come back on-site every year?
How much money are you going to need to spend beyond the actual appointment? Are you gong to have to go out and buy items to create Feng Shui remedies in your home? Sometimes this comes down to the method of Feng Shui being used, however most times you should always be able to use things you already own to create good, flowing energy.
The biggest key is really about just trusting that inner knowingness deep within you. You’ll just know that the right person, at the right time, will effortlessly show up. Sometimes it’s a matter or when a consultant is available, other times it might be particular consultant now and someone later. The bottom line is to just trust the feelings in your heart. (c) 2009 – Heather Melcer