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Why you should avoid hourly interior design fees (and how to price your services instead)

pricing services Sep 23, 2019

HGTV is the best — and worst — thing to happen to the interior design industry. 

It provides inspiration not only for our clients and potential clients, but for us designers as well, and it showcases some really amazing home transformations. But it magically glosses over the cost and time it takes to complete these projects. 

Every show wraps up in an hour what actually takes weeks, if not months to complete. Sure, it highlights the inevitable hiccups along the way — a rotten ceiling beam that needs replacing, a faulty electrical system and mold, there’s always mold, so. much. mold. 

The end result is always beautiful, the reveal makes the clients cry — and sometimes me too if we’re being honest — but viewers don’t get a sense of what went into coming up with and completing the design, and all it’s associated fees.

That makes it more difficult for us as designers to figure out how to price our services —...

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The Secret To Getting Clients To Happily, Quickly Sign Your Contract

processes Sep 03, 2019

So you’ve met with a prospective client, outlined your project and they’re ready to sign on: Congrats!

But before you simply send off the contract to them via email and pop the champagne, there’s one more step you need to take: Walking through the contract face to face.

Back in the day, I used to put contracts together and then email them off to the client, saying give us a call if you have questions, or just sign it and send it back. 

And then …. nothing. Crickets. 

The silence would drive me crazy as I sat there thinking about the money the project would bring in and the amazing design I wanted to create. 

The silence happened for any number of reasons — the client didn’t get around to it or didn’t think it was that important, or he or she needed to make sure their spouse looked it over … or they fell over in their chair because they didn’t realize the design fee was going to be so high and thought they could...

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6 Things You Need In Your Interior Design Client Contracts

processes Aug 26, 2019

Many interior designers operate without a contract, or just use a simple one-pager.

To put it bluntly: That is just a huge, massive mistake.

With the amount of money we spend, the amount of time we’re in clients’ homes and the amount of things that can go wrong during a design or renovation, you need to cover your … let’s just say, assets.

A contract not only protects you, it also protects the client: A good one clearly spells out the responsibilities on both sides, boiling down the specifics of what the client is getting, how much it will cost and when everything will be finished.

And if you make a whoopsies and forget to deliver something that is in the contract, the client can easily refer back to it and say, hey, you forgot this, allowing you to make it up to them by either providing that detail ASAP or even writing them back a check for the applicable portion of the design fee.

6 things to include in an interior design client contract:

Scope of Work...

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The 5 Questions You Must Ask A Potential Client

processes Jul 26, 2019
Our interior design process begins in studio with a free Meet & Greet. This is an opportunity to visit with the prospective client, understand their wants and needs, and share with them how we operate. There are many questions to ask, but 5 most important ones must happen in this first conversation.

This visit is the opportunity for both parties to be sure the personalities align and also watch for any red flags. Interior design is such a personal service, it is imperative to ensure everybody involved has a mutual respect and trust. We encourage our prospective clients to ask questions, and we also pepper the conversation with our own. Amongst the many, there are 5 questions you must ask a potential client to ensure expectations are set and met.

Question 1: How did you find me?

Or where did you hear about me? I always want to know if it is a referral, so I can thank the person who pointed them in my direction. If not a direct referral, I want to know what marketing efforts are...

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What Is the Interior Design Procurement Process? Behind the Scenes Series

processes Apr 08, 2019
As we continue through the Behind The Scene series, let’s address the What the Procurement Phase of an interior design project actually is. It is a complicated step, but as with any professional, it appears seamless to anybody outside looking in.

I wrote a blog about what the actual Interior Design Fee includes HERE, and walked through the  design process, but left off when we got to the Procurement Process as it relates to interior design.


Procurement

The actual procurement (purchasing) of the items happens after the custom design is created, presented and approved by the client. This is a very time intensive step in the process – often filled with many obstacles.

Here is a summary of what the interior design procurement process entails:
Detailed price requests to the supplier.
    • Each detail of the item must be specified and priced. For example a simple throw pillow will include:
      • The pillow insert (from one vendor) – what size and what fill (down,...
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What Does An Interior Design Fee Include? Behind the Scenes Series

pricing processes Mar 26, 2019
Have you ever wanted to hire an interior designer or decorator to come over and “just take care of everything”? But did you ever think about what the “everything” really is? And what that interior design fee really includes? In our Behind the Scenes Series (so far HERE and HERE, you can rest assured I will spill all the beans and share the details with you. Read on, my friend:

A home should tell a love story….

So many people think that an interior designer’s job is to just “make things pretty”. And while the end result IS very pretty, there is so much that goes into the overall project. The interior design fee includes not just the time it takes, but the intellectual property and design genius a good design firm brings to the table.

But our job goes way beyond that. A good interior designer learns all about their client’s wants, needs, and how they live. The designer has the vision for the space, tailors it to the...

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5 Things To Know When Starting an Interior Design Business

processes Mar 19, 2019

I’m in the process of creating a digital course for interior designers about the BUSINESS of running an interior design business. They don’t teach these details in design school, so I’m hopeful it will be of use to many creatives who are incredibly talented designers, but have no idea how to build a business that is fun to run.

But, back to the point. This content creation actually got me to thinking waaaaay back to when I started my business. There are a lot of things I wish I would have known when I started because I am sure I would have saved a LOT of time and money on useless items or endeavors. So – if you’re thinking about starting an interior design business, here are a few tips that might just save you some gray hair and sleepless nights:

1.  You will be working all.the.time when you’re launching a business.

I thought for sure I would be able to set my own schedule and make a bucket of money with less work than I was putting in at my...

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The Business of Interior Design: Always Be Learning

marketing Feb 26, 2019
So I’m sitting here at The Design Influencers Conference, formerly known as The Design Bloggers Conference. And ironically, I’ve learned that I’m not doing a great job creating my blog posts. Nor is my website well optimized for organic search. Oh yippee. There is always something to do or fix when you’re a business owner.

So I’m not going to try to “fix” what I haven’t been doing in this post.  I’m pretty happy to get it written at all this week, considering I’m traveling and trying to keep up with all the conference content…and believe me, the speakers are rich.

I mean, really, if you’re an interior design enthusiast, you will recognize some of these names. And in addition to these rock stars, there are “every day” designers who have found some great success in various niches. These very approachable experts share their experiences with us from the same stage as the big names.

When you are a...

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Questions To Ask An Interior Designer - Behind the Scenes Series, Part II

processes Feb 12, 2019
Last week, I posted my suggestions about How Do You Pick An Interior Designer? (CLICK HERE) but did not really go into the detailed questions to ask an interior designer. So let’s dig into that just a bit here as we continue our Behind the Scenes Series.

Going through the process of selecting a professional with whom you will be working for an extended period of time can sometimes feel like dating. “Is s/he the right one for me? Do we have the same long term goals? What if it doesn’t work out?” I’m only partially kidding. It’s a good analogy though. So here are a few opening questions to as an interior designer as you meet with them:

What sort of projects are a good fit for your firm?

Posing this question, you are looking for a little bit of discrimination. Not every project is a good fit for every firm.(Just like dating, right?) Even if the designer does not have years of experience, the designer should be able to narrow down where...

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How Do You Pick An Interior Designer? (Part I In a Behind the Scenes Series)

processes Feb 05, 2019
Have you ever considered hiring an interior designer or decorator but had no idea where to start? I mean, just Google “Dallas Interior Designer” and you’ll come up with pages and pages of options. So HOW do you pick an interior designer? This is the first in a series of Behind The Scenes articles I’ll be sharing.

First of all, interior design is a very personal service. One that requires quite a bit of trust – from both parties. When exploring how to pick an interior designer that is right for YOU, all of the following points are moot if there is no trust. The client must trust the designer will be able to interpret their style and translate it within budget – and the promised timeframe. And the designer needs to trust the client to speak up, share their honest thoughts, likes, dislikes, budget, and so forth – and then allow the designer to express creativity in the design delivered.

So, without further ado, here are a few key points to...

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