Which Business Management Tool is Right for You as an Interior Designer?
With the development of new technologies over the last few years, the interior design industry has experienced drastic changes in every aspect of the business. Between new softwares, new methods of communicating with clients and vendors, and more, it can be tough navigating all of these shifts in technology. While some of these changes may seem daunting, interior design project management software has completely shifted the way designers work by streamlining their day-to-day workflow and bringing their business management needs online, resulting in a more efficiently run business.
We created a guide of the top interior design project management softwares to help designers understand the key differences and see which platform will work best for their everyday needs.
Founded by Alexandra Schinasi and Lee A. Rotenberg in 2016, Ivy is an intuitive, easy-to-use project and product management system. Membership includes access to Ivy’s supportive members-only Facebook group, which has been touted as one of the best Facebook groups for interior designers by Editor at Large. Ivy positions itself as the 21st century’s answer to interior design project management software, and helps designers manage their projects from ideation and sourcing all the way through purchasing. On the business management side, Ivy enables users to track and bill time, and pull reports. Ivy’s membership also comes with support, as well as a dedicated account manager and one-on-one training sessions at no additional cost. Additionally, Ivy integrates with Quickbooks Online, allowing designers to let their accountants and bookkeepers handle all of their business’s accounting needs directly in QBO rather than needing to learn a new software. Beyond the platform itself, Ivy also provides hosts weekly educational webinars for interior designers, led by a mix of industry experts from business coaches, to hardwood flooring companies, to 3D Rendering experts. Psst – rumor has it that Ivy is currently developing a mobile app and room boards!
MyDoma Studio is a Canadian-based interior design project management software founded by CEO Sarah Daniele in 2014, with a large focus on client communication and ideation. MyDoma’s client portal connects to a designer’s website (for an added price of $399/year), and enables prospective clients to book and pay for appointments and bundled design packages. While MyDoma is great for e-designers due to its focus on client communication, conceptualization, and its robust client portal, it lacks the robust start-to-finish project management needs like calendars, product schedules, and time tracking/billing that other design project management softwares have.
Studio Designer (formerly Studio Webware)
Studio Designer/Webware is one of the industry’s original project management software, dating back more than 30 years. Founded by Keith Granet and Lance Haeberle, Studio Designer is an all-in-one project and business management tool used by many veteran interior design firms. While Studio’s functional capabilities are very robust, the interface itself is not very user friendly, and we’ve heard from designers there is a significant learning curve. Additionally, we find that bookkeepers who specialize in Studio tend to charge more hourly due to the complicated nature of the built-in accounting functions. A big roadblock with Studio is that support is extremely costly, ranging in price from $2/minute for phone support, to $500 for a one-on-one training session.
Just like Studio, Design Manager is one of the original interior design business management softwares, also dating back 30+ years. A robust software with accounting built-in, Design Manager is favored by established design firms. Similar to studio, Design Manager offers designers many different functions, but designers have told us that the system itself feels antiquated and hard to learn. Unlike Ivy, MyDoma, and Fuigo, Design Manager’s support is pricey, averaging $195/hour, or $95/hour for a personalized one-on-one training. While some firms prefer to use Design Manager due to the fact that accounting is built in, Design Manager-trained-bookkeepers charge above-average rates.
Founded in 2016 by brothers Maurey and Mickey Riad, Fuigo is both a business management software as well as an interior designer coworking space in New York City. Members have the ability to rent a workspace at their Manhattan-based offices starting at $375/month. Fuigo memberships also come with an add-on bookkeeping service ranging in price from $600-$1,600+/month, and the software only integrates with Xero, an accounting software most popular in Australia. Fuigo is one of the few softwares that also offers their members a community outside of technology itself.
Compare and contrast these for yourself using our helpful graph below, and find the best fit for your interior design business.
|Feature||Ivy||MyDoma||Studio Webware||Design Manager||Fuigo|
|Unlimited *free* support||X||X||X|
|Free one-on-one training||X||X|
|Product Schedule/ Tracker||X||X||X||X|