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I do pretty well doing my design jobs on a fee basis until it comes to accessories. Then it just eats up my time and I feel like I am working for $10.00 per hour.

I often must shop at retail stores that don’t give me a discount. I don’t have a choice… there are no wholesale accessory showrooms in my area.

How do I get a payday for me when this takes so much time I have to shop at Home Goods?


Very good question, here is what you do, and what you don’t do.

First of all, you must exclude accessory shopping from your fee for services in your Letter of Agreement. This is where you bill hourly, and add a sentence to your Letter of Agreement that looks like this:

Accessory shopping is available by separate agreement. This service will be billed at the Designers prevailing hourly rate. Purchases will be billed at actual cost plus 25% (or whatever your purchasing fee is), and will require $1,000.00 (or what you will think you will need) seed money deposit.

Yes, you do charge a purchasing fee on top of the retail purchase, as it takes the same amount of work to buy it at retail that it does to buy it at wholesale.

Yes, you do require a deposit because you are not “the bank. ” This could get expensive and you must work off of the clients money, not yours.

And yes, If you have to return items that is OK, but you will be billing for the accessory return time as well as keeping the purchasing fee. After all, you did complete all the work.

You and the client, prior to you spending your time accessory shopping, must agree on this arrangement. The best time to get this agreement is right in the beginning, in your Letter of Agreement.

If the client does not agree to this arrangement then don’t shop for them.

STOP and stand your ground.

DO NOT work for free, or say it is a gift to the client because I “should” have done more for them. This sort of behavior devalues your worth in the client’s eyes and keeps you from moving up into higher end jobs and clients.

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