I’m sure you’ve noticed that interior design jobs have also changed a lot over the last few years. And unfortunately what we used to assume to always be true is often not.

I’m talking about assuming that you’re going to purchase the furniture that goes into your design.

Many clients want to and think that they’re good at purchasing on the internet and want to do it themselves.

So what are the questions you should always ask your potential client early in the very first interview appointment?

Do you like to shop on the internet? Do you like to look for bargains and deals on the things that you purchase?

Often, the answer is YES – they do want to be involved in purchasing and are excited about the sites that they believe are full of treasures to be found.

There is nothing wrong with this approach; it’s their house and their project.

However, this is a critical piece of information to be aware of when formulating your offer for design services. Knowing that your potential client won’t rely on you to for purchasing dramatically changes your expected income!

Don’t despair, this can still be a well-paying job and you can help this client. You just need to approach the job in a different manner.

You’re right; this is not the way they taught you to do a design job in school…

But that was school and this is real life. If you want to make a good living doing design jobs then you need to learn how to be flexible, charge what you’re worth and give people the help they’re looking for.

Here are 5 valuable tips to help you sign up this kind of client:

  1. Honor that fact that this person wants to experience creating or co-creating their own space. Acknowledge that by offering to help and support them through the process that you still need to be well paid for your time.HINT: You’ll charge more because you’ll have to write complete specifications for every piece they want to buy on their own and that extra time has to be included in your fee as well!
  2. Create an offer for design services that’ll be a road map for this client to make wise buying decisions for their space. This could be a space plan with sizes of furniture pieces, basic specification of key pieces, a color scheme and several fabrics. All mounted on a board or in a special notebook.NOTE: This would be a “no do over” job, so be sure to do your programming carefully. The concept here is to give the client great value and complete the project in for a reasonable fee in minimal time.
  3. Add on to your offer a specific number of check in calls, maybe three, so the client may call on you when they find something they think will work. You’ll boost their confidence if they can send you a picture to get your advice/approve, plus it adds huge value to your services and takes only minutes of your time.
  4. Be sure to add to your offer a menu of additional services, so they feel confident and welcome to ask to purchase a block (not an hour) of extra consulting time. Your customer will probably need it when they discover this is harder to do than they thought it would be.
  5. Also remember to tell them what you can do and how you can help them move forward in their project for custom orders and window treatments, for example.NOTE: If you don’t clearly spell it out for them then they won’t know that they can call on you for more help.

When you’re ready, figure out exactly how much time it will take you to provide this service and add 20% – this will be the design fee.

Create a time budget by dividing your hourly rate into that fee; this is the number of hours you promise you will spend to complete the job.

While this DIY project may not be the way you were taught to design, nor the kind of design job you’re aspiring to, it does pay quite well. Plus, every business needs some “bread and butter” jobs to pay the bills.

And remember, you never know when one of these jobs will lead into you the big juicy “jelly” job you have been looking for!

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