Attention Interior Designers and Interior Decorators: This is where you learn how the business side of interior design works.

You are about to discover how to find your …

Design Biz Blueprint provides information, education, workshops, business tools and mentoring to high achiever interior designers and decorators who are serious about bringing their creative gift to the world in a big way.

Q. “Do I need to create a Letter of Agreement with my client if I am just doing a small job? What if it is just a friend?”

A. “Yes, you do!A simple Letter of Agreement can clearly explain to the client or friend exactly what you are going to do (scope of the job), what to expect, when to expect it and the exact location or area you will be working on. Being very clear in the beginning prevents potential misunderstandings, unreasonable expectations and gives you room to” add on.”

Here is the big advantage, when the client says…
“Oh, by the way, would you take a look at the fireplace?” (and you were hired to work on the Master Bath) she already knows that added work equals added time billing for you. The Letter of Agreement clearly told her, and she agreed to it by signing.

You can smoothly and easily say, “I would love to! I’ve been thinking about that fireplace and I have some great ideas that would totally update the room! I will only take me 4 or 5 hours to work it out. Are you good with that?”

Pretty easy when you know how it works!”

Q. “How do you handle energy-draining clients? The ones that bury you in emails and phone calls daily about every piece of furniture or paint color that they see. They are eating up my valuable time and I can’t get anything done. How do I tell them that I am going to charge them for phone calls and emails?”

A.“Just do it! This is a personal boundary issue. The sooner you establish what your boundaries are around your time available to them, the more they will respect you and follow the rules. As a designer you must step up into the leadership role in order to do a good job for them.

Here is the strategy: answer their calls and emails for one week (or a couple days) and then immediately send them a bill for your time. On the bill you will say respectfully, “ I think that you might not be aware of how much time it takes to look at all the sites and products that you are suggesting. It uses up quite a lot of our Letter of Agreement design time.” Do you want me to continue doing this?”

Or if you are still billing hourly, just send the bill for time used.

Believe me, you will get their attention and they will think first before they send you another website with 1,000 pictures to look at.”

Q. “Terri, what did you do when your design business stalled four years ago to get your studio going again?”

A.“My design business in 2008 was heavily based on model homes for national home builders, so all of my marketing efforts were focused on building relationships with the people who made the decisions in those organizations. When they stopped building there was no need for Model Home design, so my target market and business vanished overnight.

My coach advised me to research and choose a new target market of clients that I felt would be needing design work in this new economy. My research told me that because of the down real estate market people would not be selling their homes for awhile and remodeling the homes that people already owned, could be the next big trend.

So, I chose as my target market clients living in affluent areas whose homes were built in the 1970s and 1980s. They usually have enough space, it is just in the wrong places! And the finishes? Awful…

So, the answer to your question is: I quickly identified a new target market and immediately developed a marketing plan to go after the new client group. This has been successful for my studio, while we are not doing the crazy big numbers that we were when the economy was booming, I am happy to say we are steadily attracting and growing with our new clients.”