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How to increase profits as an interior designer without compromising quality

Financial gain and quality deliveries should never be at odds. Learn how to maximise revenue without lowering your standards.

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How to increase profits as an interior designer without compromising quality
Clara Carlino de Paz
April 18, 2023

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Interior design is an incredibly competitive industry, and many designers face the challenge of balancing the desire for quality work with the need to increase profits. As an interior designer, you want to deliver the best possible results for your clients while also running a successful business. This can be a difficult task, as many designers struggle with finding the right balance between pricing their services competitively and delivering high-quality work that meets their clients' expectations.

Fortunately, there are many strategies that interior designers can use to increase their profits without compromising quality. By implementing these tactics, designers can maximise their revenue while still providing the exceptional service and attention to detail that their clients demand. 

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01. Be realistic with your hours

Interior designers tend to underestimate how long their work will take, and how much revisions, unexpected changes and disruptions can change their workflows. This results in unbilled hours, which the interior designer ends up taking as their own. Obviously, this ends up costing significant amounts of unearned revenue.

When you are negotiating with a client the number of hours it will take to complete a project, you will have to be not only realistic but even pessimistic. Include a buffer in there for the estimate, and if you don’t need to use all the hours, don’t. This will allow you to get compensated for your work fairly.

02. Establish a clear scope for the project

It is tempting to take on everything a project throws your way; styling, painting walls, managing contractors… But most of the time, this is out of scope and not appropriately compensated. Before you go out of your way to take work that was not said to be yours, sit down with your clients and talk about the scope of the project and what roles you will be doing. Not only will this help you price your work well, but it will also help you understand the timelines and needs for the project.

03. Reduce unbillable hours with better tech

Certain things – like admin – you cannot put on the clients. But they sure do add up and amount to a considerable financial burden... To palliate manual work, you can start by investing in better tools. With Portaire’s free-to-start software, you can source, specify and schedule products in a matter of clicks. Also, you can browse thousands of products and speak to vetted luxury suppliers – all in one digital space. Join now and enter the new age of design!

04. Limit free revisions

As part of your project proposal, suggest how many revisions will be available at each stage of the interior design process. In the event that this number is surpassed, be clear about how much each revision will cost. This will help clients understand how important it is for them to approve things thoughtfully, and it will help you streamline your workflows and stick to schedules.

05. Mark up Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E)

Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E) is generally bought by contractors themselves. If you’d like to, you could include this process within your paid activities in order to establish a markup in price and make a little more money. If you’re thinking, “How is this ethical?”, think about this: sourcing and buying products takes time and brain space; and trade prices you will achieve will be lower than any retail pricing your clients could achieve on their own. You are providing a service, and charging for it: that’s all!

06. Outsource work when you need it

Your time should be spent doing things that bring value to the business. If there are any opportunities for you to outsource the work to a contractor, do so. You can find contractors on Fiverr or Upwork at very reasonable prices.

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