How To Price Your Interior Design Work
Diana Mahoney | The Design Partner
You’ve worked hard. You have experience, resources, access to products, materials and finishes not always available to the general public. You are trained and have solutions for your clients. They are coming to you to save time and money, and of course, have a new, beautiful, finished project. But….How will your clients pay you for your services?
There are a variety of ways interior designers structure their fees. Before you decide on how to charge your clients, do some homework. Research what interior designers and decorators are charging in your area. Do some detective work and figure out as much as you can, in order to market yourself competitively. Inquire with colleagues and other industry professionals to best judge appropriate fee structures for your target market.
Once you have some data, you can decide what will be best for your design business. Perhaps you will want to organize your fees for residential work separately from commercial projects. Since each project is unique, each invoice will include different costs separate from design fees. Consider these three invoicing categories:
1. Costs and Labor:
This type of invoice is for designers that have to hire outside contractors to help with the work; for example, if drywall is necessary to schedule.
This type of invoice is generally just for the costs of extra furniture, accessories or lighting fixtures needed. It also covers agreed upon extras like paint and wallpaper.
This is the type of invoice that only covers your design fees. It deals with the work that you do alone. This invoice should be included with one of the other invoices when billing a client.
Now, what to charge your clients for your design and planning work? While you certainly do not want to price yourself out of a project, a designer should charge according to experience, skill and reputation. When the client has confidence with an interior designer or decorator, there are few hiccups. With clear communication, a project outline and a written agreement listing fees, timelines, and an explanation of what the designer will do, and most importantly a budget – it makes for a mutually agreeable project.
Interior designers and decorators typically structure their design fees like this: by the hour, a flat fee, cost plus fee, percentage based fee, fee based on square footage or a retainer fee.