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How Much Do Interior Designers Make? Professional Tips on Pricing Yourself

Knowing your earning potential is essential when considering a career path in interior design. Here is our step-by-step guide on how professional interior designers charge for interior design services.

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While an interior designer's earning potential can vary based on experience, location, and types of service offered, there are a few things you should know about pricing yourself before you jump in and start charging your clients. This article will cover the basics of how to think about pricing structures.

Top things to know about pricing yourself as an interior designer:

  • Starting with your consultation fee is a great way to create a pricing model.
  • Understanding the project scope is vital to creating a pricing model for each client.
  • There are three main pricing structures to understand — Flat rate, percentage based, and hourly.
  • Calculating your rates based on the project scope will help you better manage your project and time.
  • Setting expectations upfront is essential regardless of what you charge your clients.
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Start with the consultation.

Identifying how you want to structure your consultations is a great start when creating a pricing model for your design services. Consultations are an effective way to get an idea about the scope of your design project and understand how you can best meet your potential client's needs, whether your consultation is a one-off or leads to a larger project.

If you have an hourly rate, you can charge for your consultation based on how long the meeting is. If you don't know where to start, here are some ballpark rates for interior designers:

  • $60-$100 / hour virtually, depending on your experience level.
  • $100- $250 / hour in-person, depending on your experience level.

Take into account the amount of prep work and time you spend on each consultation. As you gain more experience and exposure your consultation fee may increase in value.

Pro Tip: If you want to make your consultation free, a good option is to charge a set fee for the meeting upfront and then deduct this cost from your project fee if you end up working with the client.

design portfolio
Spoak member Daniela Araya’s Design Shop.

Determine the scope of the project.

In your consultation, it's vital to ask questions to help you determine the scope of your project. Keep in mind the type of work you could be completing for a client when scoping a job and how you will spend your time:

  • Design — Time spent concepting, moodboarding, sketching mockups, building room renders in Spoak ;)
  • Product Sourcing — Time spent sourcing and shopping for furnishing and finishes. Will you be purchasing the furnishings or will the client?
  • Project Management — Time spent managing invoices, shipments, renovations, etc. Will you be responsible for managing third parties like contractors or trade installers?
  • Installation / Styling — Time spent on the final project install. Does the project require custom builds? Does the client want everything staged and styled?

Other things to consider when scoping with a client are how much involved or how much control the client wants to be during each phase of the project.

If you've worked on similar projects before, you will be able to understand the scope better based on past work. If this is your first project, know that the first few client design projects may be a bit of a learning curve. Asking the right questions upfront always leads to better estimates.

Choose a pricing model.

Although there are countless ways of pricing yourself as an interior designer, a few standard practices can help you decide what works best for you. Here are the three most-common pricing methods:

  • Hourly — Charging clients per hour of work. This structure is ideal if you are just starting or working remotely for your client. Hourly rates will vary based on experience and scope.
  • A percentage of the total project cost — Charging a portion of the entire project as your fee. This pricing structure is ideal for bigger design and build projects that require a lot of project management and sourcing. You'll need to provide the client with an estimate of the total project cost upfront in order to charge your fee on top.
  • Flat rate / square footage project fee — Offering a set rate based on square footage. Some designers charge a flat retainer fee per month for bigger jobs. This structure is ideal for designers with more experience who can anticipate how many hours a project will require based on the size of the job.

Regardless of which pricing model you choose, it is important that you track your hours by project to help you better estimate future projects.

Calculate your rates and give an estimate.

Calculating your rates based on the project's scope can help give you an idea of how much the total will be. Once you have a range of numbers, you can ask yourself if you feel comfortable charging X amount based on the services you can provide.

The truth is, sometimes pricing is less of a science and more of an art, so once you have the information, you must propose what you feel most confident about.

Make sure you communicate estimates clearly and agree upon a billing structure upfront.

E-design vs. in-home design.

While there are many similarities between e-design (virtual design) and in-home design, E-design tends to cost less than in-home design due to the difference in scope. Here's a look at how the two services differ:

Where feedback and revisions fits into your pricing model.

Charging for feedback and revisions largely depends on your pricing structure. Whether you bake rounds of feedback into your pricing upfront or charge for it hourly, setting expectations upfront can make the process much smoother. If you are charging hourly, you should still communicate whether the feedback is included in your estimates upfront. Most designers who charge a flat rate will allow for 1-2 rounds of feedback for their design and charge for any additional rounds.

Photo Credit: (Left) Found by Heart

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Date Posted
September 30, 2022



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