Most people who think about what an interior designer does, think that interior designers only design high-end luxury properties or hotel interiors for lucrative projects. This is pretty outdated thinking and in recent years the requirement for interior design has actually increased and has also become more accessible to the mass market.
HGTV and home renovation shows are hugely popular and have created a culture around the idea that everyone can give interior design a go. That is great because it has increased the interest in one of the most fun and lucrative industries to work in.
The reality, however, is that designing the interior of a home (and even a commercial property) can actually be quite difficult, let alone running a bigger project and staying within budget!
That is why the average homeowner and renter have started to seek out the services of online interior designers who can provide a fast, low cost and efficient service that saves them time and money to get a result that usually far exceeds their expectations.
You see design for some of us is easy, whereas for others it’s actually really hard. That can be difficult to comprehend when you wonder how anyone wouldn’t want to do this interior design thing themselves!
I have clients who come to me who absolutely love interior design, but they just can’t do it themselves and really need guidance. I also have clients from the other side of the spectrum, where they have exquisite taste (probably better than mine!) and they need me to do the work for them as they don’t have time for sourcing or project management on a project of theirs.
The range of clients in this industry is huge and so the old belief that there aren’t enough clients to go round is just a lack mentality. The design industry I have been a part of over the last 20 years has been secretive, bitchy and horrible, but I decided about 5 years ago that I was no longer going to be a part of that secret handshake club and that I was going to create a new, joyful and supportive society that shares information and helps the designers, rather than punishes and isolates them.
As a business owner and interior designer, continually searching for new clients is time and energy consuming. You don’t want to be spending 70% of your time each week trying to find your next client or chasing leads. You want to be spending 70% of your time doing the job you love.
The key to getting consistent income as an interior designer is to be consistently marketing. Another avenue is to get repeat clients through a professional relationship. I believe that interior designer’s especially at the beginning of their business should make a real effort to have one regular and consistent stream of income or guaranteed money source from an established business that can refer either regular clients your way each month or who refers work to you as a contractor regularly each month or every few months.
Having more than one stream of income as an interior designer and a business owner is a much safer way to run a business and helps you get peace of mind when one avenue in your business is slow during one time in the year. For example, most of the building industry is slow over Christmas, and many larger clients go away over the summer, but your business still needs cash flow during those times. I urge you to find at least 2 regular sources of income in your business and don’t stop until you find them.
You want to set your business up for success and playing the luck game or spending hundreds per month on advertising is plain silly! I never once got a client through paid advertising and to this day still don’t advertise for clients in the interior design and architectural side of my business!
So here is what you are waiting for, how to get clients as an interior designer:
- Real estate agents – Home styling and furniture packages for the sales market
- Developers & House builders – Show Home Packages
- Investors in commercial developments – Hotel Chains
- Landlords – HMO’s or short lets
- Professionals in the building Industry – Architects, engineers, draftsmen and technicians.
- Furniture Companies – Joint Ventures and furniture commissions
- Social Media & Online – Delivering high value & offering a related service
- Retail Stores – Shop fronts, styling & merchandising
- Curtain & Blind Makers – Related industries and partnerships
- Wardrobe or kitchen design companies – Design service or complimentary service for their customers.
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If you are trying to set up an interior design business or if you are considering transitioning into this career, I can help you do it the right way so that you avoid costly mistakes, speed up your success and help you to make that dream a profitable reality. Check out my Interior Designer’s Business School.