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Professional Commercial Interior Design How We Can Help Your

Professional Commercial Interior Design How We Can Help Your Professional Commercial Interior Design How We Can Help Your

Categories: Blog, Commercial Interior Design Tags: interior design business Miami, interior design consultant FL, interior design office Fort Lauderdale, interior office design Miami, new interior design Fort Lauderdale

Photos of your work should be organized in a leather presentation case, which you can find at art or office supply stores for about $75. If you choose a book that doesn’t have pages on which you can mount the photos, you should have them professionally mounted on art board or foam core cut to fit the size of your book An art store or a framing shop can do this for you. (Presenting the photos loose like this also makes them-and you-seem more important.) If the book has pages, you can either mount the photos yourself or ask a scrapbooking friend to do the honors. (Just skip the borders, stickers and glitter often used to embellish scrapbook pages

Advisory Council on Historic PreservationAmerican Society of Interior DesignersAssociation of RestorersBuilding Materials Reuse AssociationColor Association of the United StatesContractornetHeritage Conservation NetworkInternational Association of Home Staging ProfessionalsInternational Furnishings and Design AssociationInternational Interior Design AssociationNational Association of Professional OrganizersNational Association of the Remodeling IndustryNational Association of Home BuildersNational Trust for Historic PreservationOnlineOrganizing.

comPainting and Decorating Contractors of AmericaPaint and Decorating Retailers AssociationProfessional Organizers in CanadaRemodelors CouncilSociety of Decorative PaintersStencil Artisans League Inc.Window Coverings Association of America

Founded in 1972, the Interior Designers of Canada is a Canadian advocacy association which makes it easy to find interior designers for projects both small and large.

Take your knack for interior design and remodeling to the next level by starting one of these five home design businesses.

This is an important step because when you start meeting with potential candidates. You’ll want to be able to clearly and effectively communicate what kind of interior design you’d like to incorporate into your store.

But first, let’s clarify why hiring an interior designer for your retail store can help your offline sales.

Selecting a business name is one of the most important steps you’ll take in the planning stages of your business. You want something that sounds professional and is evocative of what you do. On the other hand, you’re in a creative business, so you may prefer a name that shows some imagination.

However, sometimes it makes sense to leave certain tasks to a professional — if you have the budget, that is. This is especially true when it comes to the interior design of your store. While it’s possible for retailers to create an interior design themselves, making a store appealing, inviting, and designed to optimize your sales can be more difficult than it looks.

Faux PaintingThis purely decorative art form is usually practiced by true artists, although it is possible to achieve a certain level of competence through hands-on instruction. “The key to success is being able to follow step-by-step instructions and take your time,” says faux painter Brian Bullard, who’s also owner of The Decorative Arts Center in St. Louis. Faux painters apply decorative finishes to walls, ceilings, floors, furniture and accessories. They use paint, glazes and other media, and must be masters at mixing colors and applying them with just the right touch. Among the types of faux finishes popular today are marbling, precious stone, patina, trompe l’oeil and stenciling.

According to the 2004-05 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), there are approximately 60,000 interior designers in the United States, one-third of whom are self-employed. This is the only design field regulated by the government-nearly half the states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and seven Canadian provinces require licensing for interior designers. To become licensed, designers must pass a rigorous certification exam, which they can only take after they’ve accumulated six years of experience in the field and a college degree. But this is not to say that you can’t become a designer if you don’t have these qualifications. Rather, if you live in one of the jurisdictions where licensing is required, you can call yourself a decorator instead and do all the same things a designer does and still be in compliance with local laws.

Start with foundational design aspects, such as styles you like, color palettes, and types of visual merchandising you envision using. These are all good starting points for the interior designer to work with.

A contractor who specializes in one area but has experience in many is called in the trades a general contractor (GC). A GC usually bids an entire job then subcontracts the work to other tradespeople such as electricians or plumbers. He or she facilitates the coordination of tasks and keeps the work moving along and is ultimately answerable to the homeowner on the progress and quality of the work. GCs may or may not pick up a hammer or a screwdriver on a job site-rather, it’s their management skills that are most valuable to a client. To be a GC you need good communication, negotiation and organizational skills rather than tools and equipment (your subcontractors will bring their own). As a result, the startup costs for a GC can be a lot lower than for the average preservation/restoration professional.

Fielding calls from potential clients concerning design projectsScheduling consultation appointments and product installationsMeeting with clients to get details about their projectEstimating time and product costs, then writing a bidMeasuring roomsResearching and ordering accessories, furniture and hard goods like window treatmentsPicking up and delivering products from wholesalers, design showrooms or receiversMeeting with subcontractors such as installersBalancing the books, including dealing with accounts payable and receivableOrdering sample books and office supplies

When you’re used to being a bootstrapping entrepreneur, you might have a tendency to take a DIY approach to tackling most challenges in your retail business. 

Bullard says that because of the specialty nature of the job and the technical skill involved, faux painters can earn $400 a day or more, or around $60 by the hour. Other faux painters say it’s possible to earn up to $1,000 a day depending on the size and scope of a project as well as who’s footing the bill.

On the cleverness scale, probably no one can beat “From Piles to Smiles,” Sue Becker’s professional organizing business name. She says she came by it through divine intervention and liked it so much she trademarked it.

Flat fee: This method can work well if your client supplies all the products and furniture. You simply multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours you think you’ll need to complete the job, plus expenses. This fee would apply to every service you provide, from concept to installation. But as mentioned earlier, freshman designers usually aren’t quite sure exactly how long a job will take, so it this might not be the best route for you when you start out. After all, the last thing you want to do is to underestimate on your bid and lose money on a job. That will put you out of business pretty fast.

Other typical monthly costs for labor and materials needed on the job tend to be high-possibly as much as several thousand dollars a month, depending on the type of business you’re in.

Decorate homes of varying architectural styles to give them a fresh, new look.Design custom interiors for a homebuilder’s model homes.Work with builders’ clients who need assistance making color choices for their newly built home (and maybe also get their business when they need help decorating it).

Provide commercial design services.Function as a product-driven designer by both marketing products and designing interiors (the most common way to start out).

Startup CostsBecause most preservation/restoration businesses will require tools specific to the trade, the startup costs for this business are a little higher than the others discussed in this book (at least $5,000 to $10,000 for tools, about $5,000 for supplies, thousands for a truck if you don’t have one, and possibly a trailer for larger jobs). However, if you’re already working as a tradesperson or you’ve always liked tinkering around with home improvement projects, it’s possible you already may have some of the tools you’ll need in your toolbox. Likewise, if you’re serving as a general contractor your tool requirements won’t be as great.

No matter which method you use, the cost of freight and the amount of time you spend planning, lining up subcontractors, buying product and supervising work should all be taken into consideration when you set your rate. You may find you’ll have to use a combination of the methods discussed here to establish a rate that covers your costs and allows you to make a profit.

As your business grows, be sure to keep your portfolio updated with new photos. You don’t want to keep showing those photos of, say, a room decorated in peach, green and ivory long after the color scheme has fallen out of favor.

And that’s where the professionals come in. The process of hiring an interior designer for your retail store is similar to hiring one for your home or office. Though some specialize in residential or commercial environments, most are trained to handle both types of jobs. Even though interior designers are often well-versed in both commercial and residential designs, you’ll want to find the right person for the job based on your needs. 

There is one more type of interior designer that should be mentioned. A design consultant simply gives design advice rather than doing the hands-on work or selling product. This type of work is usually the bailiwick of designers with a great deal of experience, a respected reputation and a degree in the field, all things that fledgling business owners generally don’t have when they start out. So for the purpose of this book, we’re going to assume you’ll take the hands-on route and leave the consulting to the experienced pros.

But before we delve into specifics, let’s talk a little about the differences between preservation, restoration, remodeling and renovation, since it’s easy to confuse them. Preservation (also known as conservation) involves stabilizing or preserving a structure or item in a way that prevents it from further decay or deterioration. The intent isn’t to hide the structure’s or item’s original condition or any damage done to it, but to keep it from further harm. The preservationist also avoids using products like abrasive sandpaper or cyanoacrylates (instant adhesives) to repair items, since they can cause further harm to whatever’s being repaired and even devalue the item. A project currently underway in Florida to save the summer homes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison is an example of a true preservation project. Alternatively, items you see on display in a museum, like a cracked Grecian urn, are examples of preserved items.

Chelsea Design understand all of these needs, and that’s why we focus on the following while performing professional interior design services.

First of all, we know how important it is to work with the client in order to find out exactly what they want. How much seating is needed? Will the tables be used extensively or are they mostly for decoration? We’ll want to know as much about how the space will be used as possible. Second, we also find it important to work with architects so that our design can match the design of the building as much as possible.

Hourly fee: This is probably the easiest way to charge, since all you do is multiply the number of hours you actually work by your rate. This works well for a fledgling designer because you won’t know exactly how much time a job will take until you have a few jobs under your belt. The challenge will be to set a fair hourly rate that nets you enough money to make the business profitable. Depending on where you live, your rate as a new designer may range from $35 to $125 an hour. You can determine what your market will bear by checking with the competition (try visiting their websites to get an idea) or contacting an organization like the American Society of Interior Designers for help.

Creating Your PortfolioAfter your advertising works its magic and you’re sitting down with a real live prospect to discuss a job, there may be no better way to sell him or her on your services and capabilities than to show examples of the work you’ve done. As a result, just about every home design entrepreneur should have a portfolio. The sole exception may be professional organizers, since as Downers Grove, Illinois, professional organizer Sue Becker puts it: “Organization is about function rather than appearance, and it’s hard to capture the essence of the result in a photograph. Frankly, the after photos are not very dramatic.” On the other hand, a portfolio can be an ice breaker when you’re meeting a client or a prospect for the first time, so even professional organizers should consider putting one together.


Setting RatesThe amount you can charge depends on what the local market will bear. You will find that customers in more populous and affluent parts of the country, like California and New York, will support and, in fact, may expect a higher rate. In other parts of the country where the cost of living is lower, you may have to lower your rate accordingly. As a baseline, a rate of $45 to $50 an hour for your time is definitely not out of line considering the skill you bring to the job. However, a word of caution: Never quote an hourly rate to your customer because while some people balk at what they perceive to be a rate that’s too high, they are more accepting of a flat fee.

In addition to NCIDQ’s requirements, each of the jurisdictions has specific requirements as well. You can find links to each of the U.S. jurisdictions’ registration laws from a link on the ASID website (go to and look for the link to the “Factsheet of Interior Design Registration Laws”).

Opportunities AboundBut while Americans are keenly interested in home improvement and home design and have made household names out of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s” Ty Pennington, professional organizer Peter Walsh from “Clean Sweep” and other home design show hosts, the fact is many don’t have the time, talent or inclination to undertake such projects themselves. Or they enthusiastically take up a paintbrush, rearrange the furniture or make a stab at organizing their lives, then toss up their hands in defeat when they realize it’s not as easy as it looks. (They don’t put those disclaimers about contacting a professional for help at the end of shows like “Weekend Warriors” for nothing.)

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Square footage: Usually the choice for commercial work, this fee is calculated based on the area of the room being designed. If you’re interested in trying this technique, use the stats from other design work you’ve done to figure out a price per square foot.

With creativity, imagination and a good eye for form, shape and color, you can forge a successful career as an interior design professional, and you can do it as a homebased business with a minimal financial investment. But an interior designer does more than just attach beaded fringe to drapery panels or comb the merchandise marts for the perfect Biedermeier-inspired occasional table.

American BungalowArchitectural DigestArchitectural Salvage NewsBetter Homes and GardensBuilderContractor Tools and SuppliesCountry HomeDesign DirectionsDraperies and Window Coverings MagazineElle DecorThe Faux FinisherFine Furnishings InternationalFloor Covering NewsHome MagazineHome Restoration & Remodeling MagazineHouse and GardenHouse BeautifulInterior DesignInteriors & SourcesMartha Stewart LivingMetropolitan HomeOld-House InteriorsOld House JournalQualified RemodelerQuick & Easy PaintingStyle at HomeThis Old HouseTown and CountryTraditional-Building MagazineTraditional HomeVerandaVictorian HomesWindow Fashions

This NYC-based startup is looking to shake up the interior design landscape with designers across the U.S. available for by-the-hour services with no markups or hidden fees. Again, though they’re focused more on residential and office clientele, their expertise can be indispensable for retail environments as well. 

That was Lee Snijders’ philosophy when he named his interior design business “Lee Snijders Designs.” On the other hand, Lori Matzke selected “Center Stage Home” because she was looking for something “quirky” for her Minneapolis-based real estate staging/redesign company. “I work in film and the arts on the side, so I thought the name was kind of clever,” she says. “I wrote down a whole bunch of names before I picked this one.”

The most important thing in your portfolio will be the before-and-after photos of your work. Of course, when you first start out, you won’t have any client work to show off, so you can organize, stage, design, paint or restore rooms in your own home or in your friends’ or family’s homes and photograph them instead. (You don’t have to divulge this unimportant detail when you meet with prospects, either-they’ll just be interested in seeing what you can do.) Be sure to show a variety of styles and techniques that will appeal to a broad audience.

Setting RatesJust as there are numerous decorating styles and products, there are many different ways to set your rates. Some of the common ways to charge include:

But if you do need tools, Noelle Lord recommends buying them as you get the cash from the projects you work on. Or you can do what New York restoration professional Jeff Finch does: He buys a tool, “rents” it to the client at fair market value, then keeps it when the job is completed.

Although the notion of interior redesign has been around for the past 20 years, the concept has only just caught on and become mainstream in the past five to seven years. As a result, there is no hard data or statistics to suggest exactly how many redesigners there are. But thanks to the efforts of a handful of people who blazed a trail in the field, redesign is now heating up. Shows like HGTV’s “Designed to Sell” are helping to make redesigners even more sought after.

Interior RedesignImagine taking stock of a person’s furnishings and decorative accessories, then rearranging or “repurposing” them in the same space. That’s the function of the interior redesigner, who uses design skills similar to those of the interior designer to work his or her magic. There are actually two career paths in interior redesign. The first is in residential or commercial redesign; the second is in real estate staging, in which the redesigner sizes up a home for sale and makes improvement and updating suggestions that can help the home sell faster.

Once contracts are signed, agreements made, and expectations set, kick off the process with a bang and get ready to see your vision, brand, and products come to life before you in their new home, a beautifully designed retail store that catches the eye on the street and past the door. 

If you contact us for interior design help with a hotel lobby, you know very well that you’re going to need chairs that hold up to constant traffic. You can’t have them busting at the seams within months, annoying your customers and wasting your money. We’ll make sure you get the durability you need.

In the interview, ask them to spell out timelines, work schedules, and fees, but also request references you can call to have first-hand accounts of what it’s like to work with them. 

No matter how much money your business brings in, you still don’t want to waste money. That’s why we’ll find you the best value available without sacrificing design or durability.

By the way, although the designation “interior designer” tends to be a catch-all title in home design, there actually are two kinds of design practitioners. Most new interior design professionals are actually decorators. They do everything a true interior designer does, from consultations to product installation, and they are no less talented in the artistic and creative departments. What sets interior designers apart from decorators is their education and certification. Many interior designers earn bachelor’s degrees or the equivalent education, then become certified in the field. That certification is bestowed by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), but to earn it the typical decorator usually must have many years of experience and must pass a rigorous examination administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. Having this certification is akin to being licensed in the field, which is why many interior designers choose to become certified even if they are not doing business in one of the 25 states and jurisdictions or seven Canadian provinces that require professional licensing.

Once you have a candidate for the job and come to an agreement on what’s expected from both parties, the next step is to put everything on paper. Clearly outlines the terms and payment details in a contract agreed upon by both parties.

A Day in the LifeEven though the place you’ll want to be most often will be out on a job site, either working or estimating, there also will be a certain amount of desk duty you’ll have to pull when running your preservation/restoration business. Some of the everyday activities you’ll be involved with include:

And the work is definitely there. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Approach program, called Historic Preservation Equals Economic Development, 96,283 building rehabilitations undertaken since 1980 in more than 1,700 communities have resulted in 244,543 jobs and 60,577 new businesses. So there’s room for you, too.

Getting CertifiedIf you plan to call yourself an interior designer (as opposed to a decorator) in one of the 25 states and jurisdictions or one of the seven Canadian provinces that require licensing for interior designers, you will have to become certified. The only approved certification is offered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). To earn that certification, you must hold a baccalaureate degree with no fewer than 60 interior design-related semester hours and a certain number of experience hours. You must also pass an exam that consists of three parts: Principles & Practices of Interior Design, Contract Documents & Administration, and Schematics & Design Development (each part may be taken at different times if you wish). Exams are administered in various locations around the United States and Canada in the spring and fall. As of 2005, the cost for all three sections was $695.

If you’re starting from square one as a design professional (as we assume you are), you can put out your shingle as a decorator until the time comes when you can make the leap to interior designer status. Frankly, the average person will not have the foggiest idea that there’s a difference.

Restoration/PreservationThis is the field that Bob Vila single-handedly launched in the mid-’70s and is being perpetuated today by shows like “Restore America.” Restoration/preservation professionals (also know as conservationists) may specialize in one type of home project, such as carpentry, or may act as general contractors and handle various types of projects on homes and businesses that were built before 1930. (Anything after that date is considered to be from the modern era.) You’ll find these pros engaged in just about any home building activity related to electricity, plaster, masonry, stucco, woodworking, tile, tin ceilings, painting, post and beam construction, and the preservation/conservation of vintage elements like horsehair plaster, fresco, adobe and lime plaster, to name just a few. These professionals also use their skills to preserve and save objects like furniture and accessories. However, make no mistake: A restoration/preservation professional does not renovate. Rather, he or she either restores buildings or objects to their former state or preserves them in their current condition so there is no further deterioration.

There’s a good reason why cable TV networks like HGTV, The Learning Channel and DIY Network have such a huge following from coast to coast: The home design and improvement industry is hot, hot, hot and is showing no signs of cooling off. There may be no better time than the present to tool up your skills and fire up your enthusiasm for a career in this creative and fulfilling field.

If you own a good camera, you can take these initial photographs yourself and have them enlarged to 8-1/2 by 11 inches. But do keep in mind that interior photography is very difficult to do well because it requires good lighting and perspective to show a room to its best advantage. You should consider hiring a professional photographer to document your work. Of course, this can be expensive-Oakland, Michigan, interior designer Karen Crorey says she pays $500 per photograph. So even though you know in your heart that this kind of investment will reap many benefits in the long run, you may find it difficult to justify this type of expenditure when you’re first starting out. Therefore, try keeping the cost down by hiring a student photographer, whose rates won’t be as high as a professional photographer, or a photographer who moonlights on the side. (Just make sure you hire someone who specializes in still photography, not a wedding photographer.)

What’s a Designer Do?One of the things that makes this field especially exciting is there are so many ways you can use your design talent. For example, you can:

There’s nothing quite like word-of-mouth referrals when you’re trying to find seasoned pros to work with.

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At some point in your search, you may turn to good old Google to help you find the right designer for the job. We decided to save you the hassle and point out some great online resources where you can start your search. 

EstimatingNaturally one of the main criteria for your clients will be price, so you’ll want to estimate very carefully. If you price your services too high, you won’t get any business, and if you price them too low, you’ll lower the perceived value and you still might not get much business, or you’ll get business that won’t generate much profit.

Startup CostsAs you can see, the basic startup costs for interior design businesses are fairly low, especially if you already own a computer and have reliable transportation in good condition (since your vehicle will be your portable office). Basic expenses will include the sample books mentioned earlier, business cards, software, and promotional tools like brochures. (You can create and print your own brochure or you can buy generic versions ready-made from organizations like ASID.) You’ll also need a design portfolio and funds to have professional photographs of your interiors taken. Other necessities include insurance, office equipment and services, and initial advertising. Finally, you should have funds to cover three to six months of personal and business expenses, as well as working capital, which will probably be your single most expensive startup cost.

Talking on the phone with homeowners and building owners who call to inquire about your services and ratesPreparing written bids that will be delivered in person, mailed, faxed or e-mailedHolding pre-construction meetings with clients who have signed on the dotted line (usually held at the client’s home/business or a neutral location, like a restaurant)Preparing invoices that will be presented to clients upon completion of the workPreparing and mailing invoices to larger companies or organizations that have supplied you with a purchase orderPurchasing tools, materials and suppliesManaging accounts receivables and balancing the booksManaging accounts payables (i.

e. paying your creditors)Renting equipment that’s too expensive to purchase when you’re just starting outPulling permits for structural, electrical, plumbing and other workl Advertising your servicesl Handling HR issues and scheduling if you have employees

The size of the job and the number of hours you’ll need to complete it (including hands-on work, ordering and installing products, etc.)The cost of productThe services, in addition to your own, that may be needed (i.

e., carpet or drywall installation)The number of outside helpers you will need (to lay that carpet, for instance)The deadline for completing the job (a rush job is always billed at a higher rate)Your markup (typically a minimum of 15 percent)

You’ll start receiving free tips and resources soon. In the meantime, start building your store with a free 14-day trial of Shopify.

You may be asked to ply your trade in homes or commercial buildings with historic significance, like churches or turn-of-the-century factories. In fact, it can be wise to work on a wide range of projects, since it’s the best way to stay continuously employed. But there’s no doubt that public buildings are the best source of work for preservation/restoration professionals, both because the projects are often so large and because there may be state or federal money allocated for them.

FURTHER READING: Learn more about the basics of visual merchandising in our guide to high-converting product displays.

Try organizing your ideas on Pinterest. Not only can you find an infinite amount of inspiration, but you can create a board to start collecting images for your designer to reference. 

Interior DesignIf you have a knack for planning spaces and coordinating furnishings and accessories, then this is the field for you. Interior designers (aka decorators, if they don’t hold a degree from an accredited university or college) beautify, improve and update the appearance and functionality of interior spaces in both residential and business settings. Many specialize in a particular type of design, like kitchen design or lighting solutions, and many augment their income by selling decorative products like accessories and furniture.

For more than a decade, Chelsea Designs has been created professional hotel and office spaces. These designs have been successful on both an aesthetic and a practical level. We understand how each of these play with and against each other and will always pay attention to the needs of the customer looking for excellent value durability. Contact us when you need the best commercial interior design around.

Designers also have to be artists who can create an entire color scheme and coordinated look from a swatch of fabric and a paint chip. They have to be engineers and technical advisors who can plan a space, counsel on product and function, and then arrange furniture and accessories for the best effect. They also have to be visionaries who can anticipate color trends and turn the vague, unformed ideas floating around in a client’s mind into stunning tableaus that will be both enjoyable and functional for years. Finally, they have to be good project managers who can multitask and keep jobs on schedule and on budget, as well as good business managers who can keep their own businesses operating efficiently.

Not only will you want to look at every designer’s respective portfolios and relevant projects, you’ll want to ask them to break down their process for tackling your job.

Why Hire an Interior Designer?  There are plenty of practical reasons to hire a professional to create your store’s interior design. Some of the most common advantages include: Saving money: Sounds counterintuitive right? But think of all the costly mistakes you might make.

Working with an interior designer can help you avoid expensive errors in judgment.  Budgeting and planning: As with doing anything for the first time, creating a budget, researching products and prices, complying with regulatory matters, and planning timelines can be a major headache.

 But an interior designer can help you sidestep all of that.   Their network: Typically, interior designers have solid relationships with select vendors and can obtain discounts and access resources that might not otherwise be available.

  Coherence: Interior designers have a trained eye and are excellent visual storytellers. That means that they’ll pay close attention to how all the minor details come together to create the complete customer experience The “wow” factor: Let’s face it: Worrying about your store’s “bounce” rate is just as vital as offline as it is online.

So, why not optimize for conversion with an interior designer? 

Finch, the Franklin, New York, restoration specialist, encountered a similar problem with the name of his first company, which was called “Golgotha Restoration Services.” It was named for the place where Jesus Christ was crucified (“Because we resurrect buildings just as Christ was resurrected,” Finch says). He chose the name because it reflected his religious beliefs without sounding religious. However, he found it was hard for people to say and remember, so he chose a simpler name when he established his current business, Heritage Restoration Services.

Whether you’re opening a new hotel or redesigning your office space, you don’t want to ignore commercial interior design. It’s important to choose designs that will match the architecture, work well with you daily tasks, and impress customers and clients.

Preservation/restoration work, a subset of the home improvement industry, can be both very rewarding and very lucrative-rewarding because your efforts help save important pieces of our past that might otherwise be lost forever, and lucrative because you can make a very comfortable living from this line of work

Professional OrganizerThis is another field that’s still in its infancy but growing fast. Professional organizers cut through the clutter in people’s homes and businesses to help them live simpler, more organized lives. They also develop customized organizational plans using filing and storage systems that their clients can live with and maintain easily.

Employment prospects for designers are excellent, according to the OOH, which says, “Overall employment of designers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012.” So if this is your preferred trade, now is the time to launch a business.

Whether you’re opening a pop-up or committing to something more long-term, the world of retail can be daunting when you have to consider innumerable things like your window display, store layout, signage, and visual merchandising. 

California interior designer Lee Snijders, who also hosts HGTV’s “Design on a Dime” design show, started out charging by the hour, then realized he was working 24/7 because the thought of earning as much cash as possible was irresistible. “I didn’t know when to stop working at first,” he says. “But I stopped doing that pretty quickly when I figured out how much my services were worth based on what was fair and competitive in the market.”

The terms remodeling and renovating actually can be used interchangeably. They refer to removing or gutting the old to make way for the new, without regard for historical significance or authenticity.

Many preservation/restoration professionals charge a one-hour consultation fee. Peter Lord, co-owner of Peter Lord Plaster & Paint, a restoration company in Limington, Maine, gives one-to-two-hour consultations on average (“Because people are very enthusiastic about their old homes and like to chitchat,” Noelle Lord, his co-owner and wife, says) and will credit half the fee back to the job if he lands the work. However, if extended travel to the consultation site is necessary, he charges his day rate of $250.

Estimating is a science that can’t be covered in an article of this length. For further guidance, refer to Carol A. Sampson’s excellent book Estimating for Interior Designers (Whitney Library of Design).

Karen Crorey’s interior design clients sometimes have trouble with the spelling of her name, K.C. Interiors, because they can’t distinguish between the initials and “Casey” when they hear the name spoken. “That complicates things sometimes,” she says. “I put my corporation together so fast that I didn’t give the name much thought, but I should have.”

A Day in the LifeWhile you’re no doubt getting into this business so you can design beautiful interiors, there’s more to it than planning spaces and selecting fabric. You must also be a savvy business manager who can juggle the myriad tasks involved in running a small business. To begin with, on a typical day, you might find yourself:

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Another portfolio option that is becoming more and more popular among home design professionals is the online portfolio. By downloading photos onto your website, you can give prospects 24/7 access to your work, which can be handy for someone who’s surfing at 2 a.m. while you’re getting your beauty rest. The only downside is that photos can take a long time to load, especially if the client has a dial-up internet connection, so don’t make them too large. Check out Chapter 14 for additional website design tips.

If you own a laptop computer, you can create a PowerPoint slide show of your work and forgo the cost of a presentation case and photo mounting all together. Using animation to give the slide show some zing can make your video presentation more interesting.

Estimating It’s common knowledge that estimating is both a science and an art. As you gain more experience in your craft, you’ll become more proficient in estimating. In the meantime, however, it’s best to turn to the pros for help, because underestimating means you’ll be giving away your work, while overestimating means you’ll lose out on work. Luckily, there are tons of construction industry books and software packages available on estimating that can guide you. (Unfortunately, there are no books or packages devoted strictly to preservation/restoration work, so general construction is the next best option.) You can find some free advice at Other books, websites and software to check into include:

It Takes All TypesHaving said all that, what kinds of preservation/restoration projects can you expect to do? To begin with, you’re probably more likely to specialize in a particular type of repair work, just as any tradesperson would. For instance, you may be an electrician, a plumber, a plasterer, a woodworker, or any other type of craftsperson. Only carpenters tend to be generalists, although working with wood is certainly their main skill. But it’s not uncommon for a carpenter to handle all the tasks mentioned above as well, making him or her a very valuable commodity to a homeowner in need of extensive or complex preservation/restoration work

Retail: This entails charging clients the retail price for every item you purchase-and your fee is the difference between the wholesale cost you’ve paid and the retail price. In essence, this means clients aren’t paying directly for your services, which means a lower cost for them. If all you’re doing is buying products and arranging them rather than planning spaces and installing items like curtains, this pricing method can be feasible. It also works best on smaller jobs.

Customer Experience Sales & Marketing Staffing & Store Management

While there aren’t any available statistics on the number of professional organizers practicing today, what is known is that the National Association of Professional Organizers, which was established in 1985, counts 3,200 people among its membership. There’s also a similar organization in Canada. Because there are no educational requirements, few equipment/tool costs and no licensing issues, this is one of the easiest home design businesses to establish.

You can use an interior design contract template and customize it based on the specifics of your agreement to save yourself a little time.

While creativity is great, don’t underestimate the power of your own name. It’s simple, it’s elegant, and it leaves no question in the minds of readers about exactly what it is you do.

Start with asking friends, family, and other acquaintances in the industry. If you don’t find anyone offhand, take note when visiting other retail stores and see what catches your eye. Ask the owner who did their interior design and about their experience. Also, ask for a price range so you know the kind of investment you’d need to make to work with that professional.

Now that we’ve established the “why” behind hiring an interior designer, let’s look at some of the key steps to take to ensure that the person you hire is right for the job. 

If you’ve hired an interior designer for your retail store or commercial space, be sure to let us know the good and the ugly side of your experience by commenting below. 

Restoration involves altering a structure or object to renew it and return it to its previous condition. In the course of restoring buildings or objets d’art, a restorer may use salvaged materials like reclaimed brick to give the reconstructed item or building an air of authenticity. Or the restorer may use new materials that have been distressed by hand or by a faux finisher to make them look like vintage pieces. Restorers are also skilled at cleverly concealing damage. Commonly restored items include furniture, pottery and statuary; commonly restored building components include plaster and woodwork.

All this means there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs like you to start what we are broadly calling a home design business. In Home Design Services Start-Up Guide, we’ll give you the advice you need to start five different home design services: interior design, interior redesign, professional organizing, building preservation/restoration, and faux painting. Read on for a closer look at starting these businesses:

What’s InsideIntroductionMore on Interior DesignMore on Preservation/RestorationA Name to RememberHome Design Service Resources

Date Published: September 2nd, 2016 Date Modified: September 2nd, 2016 6:06 pm Categories: Blog, Commercial Interior Design Tags: interior design business Miami, interior design consultant FL, interior design office Fort Lauderdale, interior office design Miami, new interior design Fort Lauderdale

Cost plus: With this method, you add up the costs for all the necessary furnishings and materials for a job as well as for any subcontractors (like carpenters, carpet installers, etc.). You then add on an agreed-upon percentage to the total as your fee. Designers commonly charge a 20 percent service fee with this method, although some experts in the field recommend a 50 percent to 100 percent markup, depending on what will fly in your market. This is one of the most common ways for designers to charge.

This is an online community of designers, industry representatives, educators, and students, where you’ll be able to find and locate interior designers near you in the U.S. 

Though geared primarily towards homeowners looking for home remodeling and design help, Houzz’s “Find a Pro” feature allows you to easily access a database of more than two million professionals who won’t have a problem adapting their expertise to a retail environment.

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