How to Price Your Interior Designer Services to Bring in Profit
As any interior designer who’s been around the block a few times knows, not every potential client you meet with is ready to sign on for full-service design. Maybe they really just want a professional to map out furniture arrangements so they can have fun shopping for pieces on their own, or maybe they’re interested in a major update but seem worried about how the process of working with a professional will go. How can you work with clients like these in a way that meets their needs, gets you paid what you deserve and ideally leads to a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship?
You’ll know the answer right away if you have a ladder of services —a list of design options that you offer at various levels of commitment and price. One of Ivy’s many webinars with business coach Nancy Ganzekaufer, who specializes in working with interior designers, breaks down the many ways that creating a ladder of services can help interior designers not only bring in new clients but ideally guide them up the rungs to a higher level of service over time.
This ladder of services is not something to post on your website or hand to potential clients so they can peruse your services menu-style. Rather, it’s a guide for YOU to refer to during an initial consultation. It arms you with the confidence that no matter which way the conversation goes, there’s a package you can offer this client. Instead of saying, “Let me go back to my office and think about how I’d structure this—I’ve never done this before,” you’ll be able to say, “I have the perfect option for you.” Not only will you save yourself the stress of figuring out a proposal on the fly, you’ll come off as highly confident and experienced—and be much more likely to close a deal.
Step one is to get super-detailed when thinking about service options and rates. As Ganzekaufer puts it: “niche is rich, broad is broke.” Getting specific about prices and exactly what they include gives you and your client comfort. At any rung of your ladder of service, you should be able to say: “This is your investment for this service, and this is exactly what it includes.” For each rung of your ladder, create a one-pager—once again, this is for YOU to reference, not to show clients. It should include: the name of the service, a description of the service, who it’s perfect for, pricing, and examples of what can be achieved using the service.
Then, be sure your ladder offers comfortable entry points for various types of clients. Like the one who mentions that he’s worked with designers before and hasn’t enjoyed the experience (red flag!), and who prefers to buy his own items direct and use his own contractor. You could bring him in at the “designer for a day” rung, where he pays a set rate for 4 to 6 hours of your time spent planning the space and shopping. This option would allow you both to test the waters before signing on for more. Or maybe a client has never used an interior designer but mentions she has a lot of old art she’d like to reframe and reposition; helping her with this specific job would get you in the door so you could gain her trust and earn a bigger job.
Ready to build your interior-design ladder of services? As a starting point, here are some of the services Ganzekaufer suggests that you could include:
– Full-service design
– Color consult
– Kitchen facelift (when they can’t afford a full renovation)
– Art, framing and accessories
– Ready-for-baby package
– Window treatment time
– Holiday transformation
– Designer for a day (a set rate for a set number of hours)
– Designer-on-call (hourly rate)
– One-room makeover
– E-design one room-makeover
– Aging-in-place revamp
– Lighting evaluation
– Turnkey concierge (get a second home ready with towels, flatware, and other necessities)
Again, for each option, get detailed. Example: Will the holiday transformation involve you buying product, or using items they already own? You may want to offer two different options. Working out nuances like this in advance will help you pitch new clients with calm and confidence. Having a ladder of services in hand positions yourself as an expert—one anyone would be eager to hire.
Watch the webinar for more details on ways to price your interior design services—then check out 13 ways to manage client expectations from the get go, and see how your revenues measure up against average interior design salaries.
Ivy is the # 1 software for designers. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.