For many years Designers have relied on product mark-ups to be compensated fairly for our creative abilities and organizational services. It is no wonder; we love beautiful furniture, gorgeous fabrics and drop dead gorgeous lighting. We get excited and love talking to our clients about it!
While the old model of product markup has been profitable for many of us through the past years, the unintended consequence is that the client has been told and understands that the WOW of interior design is just access to the product that they buy.
The reality check…
The experience of co-creating their unique space that showcases their individual expression with a talented designer as their guide is where the MAGIC lives.
The experience of living in a space that is total retreat from the world, totally nurturing and is totally supporting of the way they personally have chosen to live, is MAGIC.
The experience of coming home, walking in the door and saying to themselves: “this is truly amazing, I don’t believe that I live here. I can’t believe this really is my home.
Working with a pro as their guide is where the MAGIC is.
Here is the problem…
Now that just about any product is available to anyone who is willing to diligently search the internet, designers are now having trouble getting paid what they are worth.
What is the answer to this problem?
We must educate our clients as to the true value of the services that we provide.
It is our job, no, it is our duty… to inform our clients and the public as to the real truth about the benefits and value that we provide.
The burden is on us as designers, to shift the public perception from the value of interior design being the product, into one of appreciating the value of the design experience and exceptional result.
We need for our clients to hear and understand the value of expertise, knowledge and the unique creativity of a good designer.
Once our clients understand what we really offer, we can charge what we are worth and do not have to rely on product sales to fund our paycheck.
This means that starting today, we must begin to shift our mindset so that we can begin to build our profit into the design fee portion of our job income.
To get you started, here are six talking points that you can use when explaining and selling your design services to your clients.
Point #1 Experience: The client experience of co-creating a space that is uniquely theirs, with the help of a professional designer, is a journey of discovery. A dynamic guided journey of discovery of themselves and what the world has to offer, while forming a design that is beautifully exclusive. An experience of this nature is not to be missed.
Point #2 Value: Value is the new luxury and we as designers have the knowledge, experience and understanding to be excellent judges of quality versus dollars spent. This places us in a position of being “good stewards” of our clients’ budgets, and guiding them to spend wisely.
Point #3 Time: The ultimate luxury of time is given to clients to spend on themselves or with their families. Their designer, hard at work, researches and looks at 212 different chairs to find the two that are the very best to present to the client.
Point #4 Relationship: Designers take the time to deeply understand how their clients live and work. They become intimate enough with their clients to understand what brings comfort, beauty and joy to their entire family. They take the time to find out how a client wants to feel when entering the room as well as how it should look.
These relationships with clients often become friendships that last for years and their services to the family often reach far beyond interior design.
Point #5 Bespoke: Designers help their clients create a look and an aesthetic that is a unique, personal and an accurate expression of themselves. The interiors of our clients homes (or offices) are each a one, a snapshot of how that client desires to live and show themselves to family and friends.
Point #6 Artistry: Designers bring their unique brand of artistry, imagination and creativity to their design jobs. The ideas and options that they bring to the table are often endless. Clients are often say, “I would not have thought of that!”
Recap: Present yourself as a professional and sell your services for a set fee in your Letter of Agreement with a defined and specific Scope of Work. Clients want to know what the service you are offering will cost. Clearly tell them!
If your clients want you to purchase for them, set up a nominal administrative purchasing and expediting fee over the net price. Keep it clear and transparent and start moving your profit margin over into your design fees now.