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What you should ask your consultant

Sunday, October 22, 2006
By: Joey Yap

For the last two weeks, I've been busy doing research on the Feng Shui of Tibet and while it has been fun, I am also glad to be back writing my column. I've had lots of new ideas for my column while I was on my research trip and I look forward to sharing those with you in the weeks to come.

This week, I want to focus on a very practical issue when it comes to engaging the services of a Feng Shui consultant, which is: What should you ask them? Asking questions is a very important part of the process when it comes to selecting a Feng Shui consultant. Due to the reputation the profession has, which traditionally has been a very informal sort of business, people can be a little hesitant to ask questions - not sure if their questions may be perceived as insulting.


Feng Shui has grown more modern as a profession, and is becoming more like any other service industry, and so you should approach the business of getting a Feng Shui consultation (or a BaZi Destiny Analysis) in the same way you would approach any other professional services like finding a doctor, a dentist, an accountant, or someone to fix your pipes. So here are some of the questions you should ask your prospective Feng Shui consultant, before you make a decision to engage him!

Question #1: How much do you charge?

Gone are the days when you slipped your Feng Shui master a red packet with cash. Most Feng Shui consultants by the way, take cheques or even credit cards these days and I don't think there is any significance in the amount they charge - a Feng Shui Master who charges 888.88 isn't necessarily any better than the one who goes for round numbers. During your initial inquiry, do not be shy about asking how much a consultation costs. A professional Feng Shui consultant will be upfront about their fees.

You should also not be hesitant to ask why the fee is high (or low for that matter!). In general, you should expect fees to vary based on the size of the property in question (for example, a factory audit will cost more than a small office audit, a semi-detached house audit may be less expensive than an audit for a bungalow), and the complexity of the audit may also be a factor.

Question #2: What does your service include?

A good Feng Shui consultant will usually check the client's BaZi before embarking on recommendations for the property. But that does not mean that a thorough BaZi consultation is part of the service. So you should ask if a BaZi consultation is included in the price, or if it is separately charged. Also, you should ask if the price of a property audit includes date selection specially tailored to your BaZi and your property, not just a selection of generic date from the Almanac. This is quite important, especially if renovations will be required to improve or correct the Feng Shui of the property. Selecting a good date to undertake renovations is essential to ensure that the Qi is properly activated. If the property in question is being built, you may want to ask if the consultant includes a selection of date for moving-in.

Question #3: Will there be follow-up sessions or a report?

You should also ask if the service and price includes follow-up sessions to discuss the audit and recommendations with the consultant or a member of their staff, and if you will be given a written report with recommendations. Now, if a consultant does not provide follow-up sessions or a written report, that does not mean you should not engage them or that they are any less professional. If you are comfortable with a less formal approach, that's fine. But what you don't want is to find out that you have to pay again just to get the report or to have a follow-up session to know how you should proceed after the property is audited.

Question #4: What kind of Feng Shui do you practice?

You should know what kind of methodology the consultant uses and be comfortable with this approach. Are they Classical Feng Shui consultants or more New Age in their approach? If they are Classical Feng Shui consultants, then they will probably be using a combination of the following techniques: San Yuan, San He, Xuan Kong or Ba Zhai.

Question #5: Will I be required to buy products?

You should be on the look out for conflicts of interest when the answer to this question is 'yes' and the practitioner is a Classical Feng Shui practitioner. When you are required to buy products or encouraged to buy products to place in various sectors of your home or office, in order to improve the Qi and these items are not included in the service (see Question #1), a conflict of interest is quite possible.

'G' for Geomancy or 'F' for Feng Shui?

There is a reason why you can't just flip the Yellow Pages and find a Feng Shui consultant. It's to do with the 'R' word. Relationship. When you engage the services of a Feng Shui consultant, even if it is for just the property you are living in at the moment, you are beginning a relationship. Your Feng Shui consultant is someone who you potentially will turn to in the future again and again, if the experience has been good, to check your future property, to select dates for your children to get married, to select dates for business openings if you are a business person, to do Destiny Analysis for you, and even vet your staff. That's a lot of personal and professional ground.

So beyond the questions I have posed above, you should also be comfortable with the Consultant you chose, in every sense of the word. Be comfortable with their level of professionalism, their technical background, the way they practise Feng Shui and their personal style when they interact with you, their client. Some Feng Shui consultants provide a lot of hand-holding, and function partly like a personal therapist-cum-life coach. Others are more business-like and straight to the point, and less inclined towards hand-holding. Both can have your best interests at heart, but simply express it in different ways. Some people like a Feng Shui consultant who will answer their every question, no matter how minor, trite or pointless. Some people prefer a Feng Shui consultant who just gets on with it and to the point.

Just as some people pay for bedside manner in a doctor and others, just want someone who solves their problem, it's the same with your Feng Shui consultant. Find one who you think you can work with, who you are comfortable with and who understands you as a client. You don't have to like your Feng Shui consultant as long as you are comfortable with what they do for you and how they go about doing it. Pick a Feng Shui consultant with a personal style, approach and who have staff whom you feel comfortable talking about your concerns and issues with.

Take Your Pick

If you are comfortable with New Age Feng Shui, and that is what you want, then go with a person with repute in that field, and who you are comfortable with or who achieves results that you will be satisfied with. If you prefer Classical Feng Shui, then seek out a Feng Shui consultant who practices Classical Feng Shui who you can work with to achieve the results you want. If you believe that lineage is important when it comes to your Feng Shui consultant, then go with Lineage. If you feel age reflects experience, then by all means go with an older master.

But before you engage the Feng Shui consultant, irrespective of what the basis for selecting that consultant is - be it the type of Feng Shui they practice, their age or their lineage - do yourself a favour and make sure you get what you think you're paying for. Read up on the consultant you intend to select – check out their books and understand their approach and methodology, if you intend to go with a Classical Feng Shui practitioner. If you're going with a New Age Feng Shui practitioner, you should probably read their books too, and understand their approach. If you feel seniority counts for something in Feng Shui, do not just assume that the older the master is, the better. Make sure that they really have been practicing successfully that long, and really do have the necessary knowledge. Finally, if lineage carries a lot of weight for you, then you should do the extensive legwork and make sure that your Feng Shui master's lineage is what they say it is, and not just a claim. Usually the lineage holders are the ones who have documented evidence of their complete history.

You may also want to find out who the Consultant in question has done work for or which clients they have done work for in the past. Don't depend on hearsay or what other people tell you - do your own background check. You are about to pay for the services of a professional - you should make sure that the person lives up to that reputation.

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