INTERIOR DESIGNERS! BEWARE OF THE MODULAR KITCHEN INDUSTRY.
My advice to all those candidates who are coming out of CAD Centers and Interior Designing institutes is not to enter the modular kitchen & wardrobe/modular workstation/office furniture industry as you will be treated only like sales persons and not as designers.
The designing software (usually Kcdw) used in the modular kitchen industry is relatively easy to learn . Most of the showroom owners/proprietors know how to use this software and hence a new designer is appointed only when they have additional work. The designers are thrown out when the business goes down. A new candidate is appointed and trained in order to cut down on the salary and software being easy to handle.
Therefore it is not advisable for anybody knowing Autocad, 3DS Max, etc., to enter this retail showroom type of concept where you have to wait for a customer as in a supermarket.
Since the software is easy to learn, the proprietors of the modular kitchen showrooms do not have respect for the designers as they are considered only as additional hand as owners themselves are well-versed in the software which takes only 2 or 3 days to learn.
The showroom owners also do not treat the designers well because the customers visit the showrooms only Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays and this gives an impression to the owners/proprietors that the designers are overpaid as they do not have any work on rest of the days.
Designers are nowadays made/forced to handle the installations or back end operations too by various companies. This is the most difficult work because there is a lot of co-ordination required between the various disciplines like electrical, tiling, gas copper piping, chimney duct core cutting, chimney fitting, hob fitting, sink fitting, plumbing for sink, painting, kitchen furniture installation, delivery co-ordination, etc. Missing materials also add to the woes. As the every part of the furniture is a must for completing the installation, the entire installation can be delayed due to missing cabinets, cabinet side panels, wrong color, etc, , which results in abusive and aggressive behavior from the customers.
Many modular kitchen chains are only interested in generating business. They are least bothered if the designers are abused or physically attacked by the clients.
Do not ever work from a shopping mall as every tom, dick and harry will come and ask you unnecessary questions.
Remember that the companies need only business so they make the designer to give wrong commitments to the customer on the delivery schedules.
Also, please note that it will take minimum 20 days to the kitchen and wardrobes of a 3 bedroom apartment.
Most of the architects do the interiors of the house. So if a client who has taken the services of architect gives the order to an outside agency/showroom, it is very natural that the architect brainwashes the customer saying the material supplied is very bad as he is not able to get any commission from the deal.
The architect/builder will not co-operate on various issues like plumbing points, electrical points, etc., making the installation process difficult as they are not getting any commission.
Finally, all the blames and abuses will fall on the designer. The kitchen company will ask the designer to take the flak as they want business and they do not bother if the client calls the designer any names like bast****, mot****fu****, etc.
Designers life expectancy in modular kitchen showroom is only 6 months and you will be treated by the owners like a lump of shi*.
You will have to work on Saturdays and Sundays to please the customers.
The customers in India treat carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc., as outcastes, illiterate, so on and so forth unlike in Europe and West.
Remember that in a Western country one is respected for whatever job you do. I remember while working with an Italian Modular Kitchen showroom agent in Bangalore, the Italian company MD while sending the Italian fitters for setting up the showroom saying to me repeatedly not to treat the them the way the carpenters are treated in India. He said everybody is equal in Europe and respected for whatever work they do.
Most of the construction workers live in make shift tents and defecate on roads, fields, etc. It is that our labour department turns a blind eye on working conditions of supermarket sales staff, construction workers, sales people in big bazaars, digital chains, etc. They sales persons are not allowed to sit for 8-9 hrs. I hope the labor department take this matter very seriously.
Finally, coming back to the designers, my advice to them is not to enter the modular kitchen/furniture industry as there is no future.
A single counter may do 4 – 12 lakhs and business per month and anybody can start this business. Since the counter sales remain same in almost all the showrooms, there is no room for growth. There is a possibility that a designer may even end up as a site supervisor and get all flak from the customer.
It may also be noted that many carpenters, unqualified and uncouth chimney showroom owners too are getting into the fray and these people do not have respect for the knowledge of Autocad, Photoshop, 3DS Max, etc., that you have acquired studying for years from an institute. As owners they are interested only in the business that you are able to bring.
Also, the kitchen and wardrobe business totally depends on the location of the showroom.
So my dear designer, do you want to work as a designer or a sales person.
The showroom owners also ask the designers to go to the site for measurements, and that too 3 or 4 site visits. It may be noted that to complete the measurement at one site may take 1 or 2 hrs. It is impossible to cover even 2 sites per day as per the Bangalore/any city traffic conditions.
Also, 50% of the customers give the order directly to the carpenters operating through plywood and hardware shops. The laminates are stuck after the fixing the boxes on the wall.
Many customers are unaware of the difference between carpentry work(manual sticking of laminate) and assembling of factory finished material goods at site.
I do not think that Interior Designing is a good option for a graduate. And hence my advice to aspiring candidates is not to enter the industry.
My dear Interior Designer, you will be blasted if the furniture is not delivered in time, not installed in time, if the doors are not aligned properly, tiling is not properly, granite cutting is not done properly, etc. Remember all these are concerned with a designing job. It is a site supervisors’ job.
So decide whether you want to end up at a dirty site as a site supervisor.
Keep away from the Modular Kitchen/Office Furniture industry.