25 Reasons Why An Interior Designer Won

22 Red Flags That Indicate an Interior Design Client is Wrong For You


We’ve all been there…you’re leaving a new business meeting with a potential client and just have this weird feeling that something’s not quite right. Trust your instincts – if you got negative vibes, you’re probably right about them! The best thing you can do as a creative entrepreneur, especially as an interior designer, is value your vision and services. We asked Ivy Interior Designers to provide the most telling red flags they come across that help them decide to graciously pass on a client. Sometimes, you simply need to turn down business for the sake of your peace of mind.

1. If the potential client mentions they’ve been through multiple designers (plural), that’s a bad sign and they’re probably a pain to deal with. If you know of prior “nightmares” or law suits with interior designers, contractors or landscapers, walk away. A potential client sharing, “I’ve been through 3 designers already and no one could help me” is a reflection on the client, not the designer.  

2. If you have bad chemistry after the first meeting, don’t ignore your gut feeling. If you don’t click personality wise, the process will be stressful from start to finish.

3. If a potential client seems annoyingly indecisive, it will practically be impossible for them to make final decisions. 

4. It’s very difficult dealing with a couple who often disagree. An Ivy Designer shares, “Discord in a relationship is never solved with a renovation and often leads to trouble and slow decision-making”.

5. Watch out for the potential clients who are only looking for a bargain. Words like cheap or fast are your warning signs. 

6. If your style and aesthetic don’t mesh, or your potential client is unimpressed by your portfolio, it’s not a good match. 

7. Watch out for the flakey! Postponing meetings or showing up late is completely unacceptable. Your time is precious. 

8. Slow or unresponsiveness with communication is dangerous. Project cycles can last anywhere between a few weeks to a few years, so communication is key from the get-go.

9. If a potential client heavily questions your rates, look out. An Ivy Designer shares, “If they grill you on your pricing and fees, they will grill you on your invoice – run!”.

10. If a potential client seems overly conservative or unrealistic about budget and timelines, you will never be able to meet their outlandish expectations. 

11. Look out for the potential client that wants to buy directly from the vendor and say “I want you to show us what to buy, then, we’ll shop around for it”. This is a sign that they will want to shop you for everything and criticize you for marking up your product.

12. If a potential client mentions unfinished work in the home, this may indicate a bad break-up with a prior interior designer. 

13. If a potential client shows hesitation in paying for the initial consultation, that’s a clear indictor that there will be trouble throughout the project.

14. Stay clear of micromanagers! 

15. If a potential client excessively questions your contract and process, this devalues you professionally. If they don’t generally understand why one should pay for the services of an interior designer, they shouldn’t be hiring you in the first place.  

16. Someone who is overly obsessed with HGTV has unrealistic expectations of timing and execution. 

17. Stay away from engineers, they are super nit-picky! 

18. If a potential client continues to ask you to discount your fees, they clearly don’t value your services. 

19. Someone who is overly curious about returns is doubting your process before you even get started. 

20. A potential client who persistently insinuates that they know more about interior design than you do is a sign that they have trust issues. As an interior designer, you should require respect, understanding, and humility. 

21. Some who is completely incapable to articulate what they want you to do for them will be impossible to work with. 

22. A complete lack of trust after the first few meetings and the need for constant reassurance about the process caused unnecessary anxiety which can lead to a lack of creativity and motivation.

Here at Ivy, we’re more than just an interior design software. Our mission is to provide interior designers with the community, resources and tools needed to manage your business beautifully. Are you searching for a business management tool to help streamline your workflow as an interior designer?

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