How To Start An Interior Design Business

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How To Start An Interior Designing Business In 2021 And Beyond

While starting an interior design business may seem overwhelming, seven key steps can help you maximize the success of your venture.

There are many positive reasons to start your interior design business now. Some of them are:

  • You don’t have to spend a lot to start.
  • You can work for yourself and start your own business without having to register with a company.
  • Work from home

The first thing you need is a passion for design and the creation of beautiful living spaces. It can make you a leader in the industry. This guide will tell you exactly what steps to take to be successful.

Towards the end of this article, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on how to start an interior design business…

But most importantly, you’ll see the exact system many others have used to build their own internet marketing business to over $40,000 a month in mostly passive income.

Table of Contents

How To Start Your Own Interior Design Business In 8 Steps [2021 Edition]

1. Create The Brand For Your Interior Design Business.

Your brand is possibly the most important element of your company. It must be clear about who you are, what it stands for, and easily identifiable.

Your brand can be made up of multiple components, including your domain name, business name, logo, site, and social media accounts.

Finding your niche is key to identifying your unique talents, gifts, and ultimately your ability to offer clients what you have to say. This will enable you to define your service offering later when setting up your interior designing business.

Identifying the ideal client can help you establish your brand and market activity, and get you the best clients. You can market your services more strategically by knowing your target audience. Discover their likes and dislikes, their online habits, and their demographics. You can create personas of people you think are your target audience.

Next, setting the name of your interior designing business. It is common to keep things simple in interior design. You can use your own name followed by “Interior Design” to let people know what you do. It works well for most interior designers. The only problem is when you are trying to grow your business or add interior designers.

Some of the best logos are simple, readable, and clear, so no need to worry too much about it. It should be keeping with your own style and the niche you are serving.

 You need to show your design skills through your website. It should be easy to use, quick, and display your best work. Your website is likely to be the first impression that potential clients get about your business.

It is essential to complete all profiles as fully as possible to ensure that your social media accounts are secure and aligned with your brand messaging. It will maximize the potential success of any social media promotion.

2. Get Some Experience.

If you don’t have any case studies in your portfolio, it can be hard to find clients. However, this shouldn’t be the case for long. Potential clients won’t sign up if you don’t have the images to showcase your skills.

Before you start marketing, it is crucial to have a few smaller projects in place.

Offer your services free of charge to clients who are open to having you do your magic on their projects. It need not be a large interior design project. You can also do a small styling job for a family member, friend, or relative.

You can start your interior design journey by getting the photography you want from these “experience projects.”

3. Define Your Services.

Interior designers have many options for services that they can offer their clients. It is long past the time when interior design was a one-off service. But, that is still a very lucrative service. Now, there are many options available such as e-design, product sourcing, and renters room styling. Let’s have a look at the main options:

  • Traditional Interior Design
  • Online Interior Design/ E-Design
  • Product Sourcing
  • Home Staging
  • Renters Room Styling
  • Room Specific Interior Design

4. Outline Your Process.

The process of interior design is an essential part of your business. It includes your customer-facing activities such as your initial consultation and proposals, contracts, payment, and when you receive the payment. These include your behind-the-scenes accounting and bookkeeping.

Client Facing Process

A good example of this is:

  1. Prospective client enquiry received
  2. Send an email or call to inquire – arrange an initial consultation
  3. Initial consultation (facetoface)
  4. To be approved by the client, detailed proposal
  5. After your approval, you will be able to send the contract/statement on work to the client for them to sign.
  6. Provide mood boards to clients for their approval
  7. Present 3D modelling of a room to client for approval
  8. Source products and services for the client
  9. Contact tradesmen in order to get painting/wallpaper done.
  10. Clients at home, assist and place their products
  11. Reviewed session with client to get feedback
  12. For your client, make any changes or tweaks
  13. Close Project: Send your client the testimonial form.

Behind The Scenes Process

The whole range of activities you must do to keep your company running smoothly is part of the behind-the-scenes process. It will extend beyond your established processes. You will need to create many templates ready for new clients. These templates include:

  • New Client Proposal Template
  • Statement of Work Template
  • Client Contract Template
  • Invoice Template
  • Branded Moodboard Template
  • Testimonial Form

5. Start Your Little Black Book.

It is important to establish contacts in the interior design industry. These contacts can be used to refer clients or source the right products.

You should start your black book of contacts as soon as you can. Initially, it can be filled up with your business connections who you use for your client. After that, you will need time to vet these people and ensure they have the same quality standards.

6. Set Your Pricing For Your Interior Design Services.

Pricing strategies can be set in many ways, just as you have many services available to clients. Here are some common ways to price your services.

Hourly Rates

This is probably one of the most efficient ways to charge. You just need to multiply how many hours you work with your hourly rate. This is especially important for interior designers new to the field. Once you’ve done several jobs, you won’t know how long each one will take. It’s not easy to set the right price for your clients, while also making sure your business is financially sound. (We’ll discuss your hourly rate shortly).

Flat Fee

Flat fees or project fees are attractive to clients, as they know they will pay a fixed price. You can calculate it by multiplying your hourly fee by the amount of time you anticipate you will need to complete the project (plus any other expenses). This approach has a risk, especially for novice interior designers. If you underestimate your time and don’t have enough money to finish the project on time, it could result in your interior design business going under.

Cost Plus

The cost of all furnishings and subcontractors is added to this total. To the total, you add a percentage that is agreed to with your client as your fee. This is a standard way of charging by many interior designers. However, this reduces the total amount you get. The cost of the products you accept from your client will determine how much you charge.


This involves simply charging your clients the retail pricing for every item that you purchase. Your fees are the difference between your cost and the retail. This arrangement is very popular with clients. It allows them to almost feel they aren’t paying any fees and they only have to pay for the products. This pricing model does not work well for an interior design professional. However, it can be applied to smaller projects or product sourcing.

Most Popular Approach (Hourly+ Retail)

No matter what approach you take, you need to account for all expenses. A hybrid of Hourly & Retail pricing is most commonly used for pricing.

This system ensures you are paid for the time that you spend with each client. It also covers any subcontractors. With the addition of the Retail pricing, customers pay the retail cost for the products. While you earn a little extra revenue through the relationships you build, the customer pays only the retail costs of the products.

How Much to Charge?

This approach is the most commonly used to charge clients. It combines the Retail and hourly rates.

This simple model can be used to calculate your hourly rates:

  1. Decide how you would like your annual earnings (example: $99,840).
  2. Determine how many hours you’re willing to work each week (for example, 40 hours).
  3. Determine how many weeks off you’d like to take in a given year. (Example: four weeks)

These numbers will help you determine what your hourly pay should be. This tool will save you time by automatically calculating it. The above example works out as $52 per hour. The tool adjusts for taxes and savings by simply doubling the cost.

You might not be aware that the above formula does NOT include the Retail option.

What Payment Methods are Acceptable?

Interior designers can choose from a variety of payment options. The most common are PayPal or Bank Transfer.

Interior designers most commonly use bank transfer as it is fast, free of fees, and simple to do.

PayPal is becoming an increasingly popular payment option for interior design professionals. It allows them to accept credit card payments quickly without payment processors, card machines, or other payment methods. PayPal charges fees for payments which should be considered as additional expenses.

7. Find Your First Paying Client.

You’re now ready to secure your first client. It can be extremely difficult to find your first paying client. However, you’ve set yourself up with your website, a few case studies, and clear branding.

Begin your business by looking for referrals. This applies to all businesses and not just interior designers.

To be a successful interior designer, you need to get active on social media and get your friends, family, and coworkers to share your website. It shouldn’t take long before you start getting inquiries.

You can ask them to share your website. If they don’t mind, you can also write the post for them. They will simply have to copy it and paste it into their post.

8. Market Your Business Like Your Life Depends On It.

There are hundreds to promote interior design businesses, but these five are the best ways for new interior architects to be seen and get clients.

  • Speak to Local Journalists.
  • Learn Basic SEO.
  • Build an Email List.
  • Ask for Referrals.
  • Start a Blog.

What Is Our #1 Recommendation For How To Make Money In 2021?

Our review team has come across a program in the real estate industry that is next level!

Although it’s not real estate in the traditional sense, it’s all digital.

Yup, Digital Real Estate!

With this digital real estate program, you can have the ability to completely walk away from manual labor!

Sound too good to be true?

Of course it does!

But it isn’t…in fact, business owners wish they had this skill!

All you have to do is build and rank a website and forward the jobs off to a business owner in town, you could even email it to them!

This works for literally any service based business, tree service, plumbing, towing, etc. 

How Do You Get Paid And How Much?

Simple, after you forward the jobs off to a business owner and he makes some money off of them, you simply ask to make the deal beneficial for each other.

A fair price to charge per lead, depending on the industry is 10-20%…let’s just use the tree service industry for example and go by worst case scenario.

Let’s say you build and rank the site and only 20 jobs a month come in. The average tree service job is anywhere from $500-$2000!

That means at bare minimum you have an asset worth $1000 a month!

See why they call it digital real estate now?

That’s a rent payment. 

The great thing is how easy it is to scale. You don’t have to answer the phone…all you have to do is get the phone to ring.

Unlike the passive income ideas I mentioned earlier…

This one actually allows you to collect that without working in a brick and mortar business all day.

Truly passive income!

The training program takes making money online to a whole other level. The owner of the program walks you through how to build and rank a site hand in hand, with the occasional voice over when he is sharing his screen.

You will learn the importance of keywords, website name, how to send call notifications via email, backlinking, etc.

Once the training program is completed you will also have access to a Facebook group where you can ask questions and be in a community with others on the same journey as you.

Digital real estate allows you to have passive income with most of your day being spent OUT of the brick and mortar landscape.

Now, I know you probably have tons of questions… So, check this out to learn more.

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