Design Fees vs. Purchasing

I want to tell you the ONE THING GUARANTEED you can do in your design business that will make you far more profitable.

It is a mindset shift…

and that is to separate your design services from your purchasing.

That means when you begin a job, you explain very clearly to your client that there is a “Grand Canyon” between design and what and when we’re actually going to buy. This means you sit down and design everything totally and completely before ever talking about being ready to purchase anything.

Even if you’ve taken them out shopping to get started on the job so that you can discover the things they really liked, don’t buy it yet. They have to wait. That’s because you don’t know how it’s all going to come together. You don’t want to get in a corner you can’t get out of because you’ve made purchases before you figured it all out. So, you’re going to take what they like and put it into your design. But they don’t get to buy it until you are all finished.

Why Design Fees Should be Separate from Purchasing

Why am I telling you to do this?

Because if you start a job focused on finding a few pieces and try to get them to buy it so that you make some money, they’re going to see you as a salesperson. And, to be honest, that is what you’re doing.

When that happens, clients don’t have a lot of respect for your knowledge, specifications, or what you’re actually giving them.

They can even start sending pictures of things back to you, “What about this, or what about that?” And then, you’ve turned yourself into a personal shopper.

That’s not where you want to be at all.

Another scenario that happens when you don’t separate the design fees from purchasing is that you can be accused of double-dipping.

If you think about it, when and you get paid to find something and then expect the client to buy it with profit for you, it feels to them like you’re hooking those two things together.

Purchasing isn’t design. It is a customer service your business offers when the design is complete.

The best interior design business advice I can give you is to make a small mindset shift; separate these two pieces of your business. Make sure you do all the design work first, all the drawings, selections, research, and anything else you have to do, including pricing (with your profit mark-up included) and complete budgets, so it’s entirely done.

Then you can offer purchasing as a customer service.

When you present it that way, people see it that way, you stay out of trouble and sell more product.

And you’re going to be far more profitable because you’ve separated design and you’ve built up excitement and desire about buying. So that when design is all finished, they get to buy it ALL at once, and your business gets to profit from it.

Let me know how it works out for you. I love to get emails that tell me how much more money you’re making just because you made this little shift.

Until then, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.

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