Today I want to share a little wisdom with you about design fees. There are three big mistakes that designers make when trying to do design fees. These mistakes are solvable, so let’s run through each one.
Mistake #1: Guessing the Design Fee
The first one is where a designer pulls a number out of nowhere and presents it as a fee. Of course, this isn’t a good idea because you don’t know what you’re getting into. It tends to be based on what you think the client will pay or what you think you’re worth today (not a good idea).
It is vitally important to sit down and figure out what work is involved and what will be required of you to make the design job happen. It starts with how many meetings and filling the spaces in between. We actually have a simple-to-use worksheet here at IDBA to help you figure it out. Then, we add another 20% for the design fee because we know that’s how much we’re off after years of experience.
By doing this, the number will be accurate but also much bigger than you thought it would be. You might think that the client won’t pay you that much, but they will if you explain it properly and present it with confidence. There’s nothing for them to compare it to, and if they’re interested in your services and have confidence in you, it’s all good, and they’ll sign up.
Mistake #2: Not Including Boundaries
Another huge mistake that designers make is not including boundaries around that fee. When you step into a fee-based job, you have to state what the client actually gets for the fee you’re quoting them for. What are the deliverables? How many meetings does it include? How many selections will be offered?
What happens when you don’t put boundaries on your fee, and you get a client that can’t or won’t make a decision, so you don’t have any mechanisms in place to reign them in. I think the client just wants to keep “playing with the decorator,” so don’t get stuck in that situation. If you have a firm set of rules, this doesn’t happen.
Having boundaries in all aspects of your life is essential. And as a designer, you should have a fee agreement that establishes those boundaries to help keep your time manageable.
Mistake #3: Waiting Too Long to Bill the Client
You never want to wait until the entire design job is done before you bill the balance on your design fee. Your design is separate from purchasing product. Those two need to be kept apart because you have to complete the design portion of the job before you purchase anything.
You have to stay in control of the job and get paid before your work is complete. Your client will be more anxious to pay you while you’re still working than after you’re done.
Watch the video above where I explain these mistakes in more detail, how to avoid them, and when it’s best to bill the client for your design fee (and how you can ruin things if you present the bill at the wrong time!). You can keep your cash flow steady and not get behind on bills or other obligations. I also explain the importance of going all out with your reveal to create a lovely experience for your clients.
Would you like more information on how to avoid mistakes in your design business? I have a lot more tips, strategies, scripts, templates, worksheets, and step-by-step recipes that tell you exactly how to do design fees and make them easy and highly profitable.
I’m sharing it all at this year’s virtual Summit 2021! It’s our exclusive annual event where you can discover how to overhaul your design business in three days and finally get paid what you’re worth.
Don’t miss out on the chance to ramp up your design business!
Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.