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How do people charge for Interior Design projects?

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I have started advertising my services as an Interior Designer and Consultant, and have started receiving inquiries and requests to help in home decor. I was curious as to how others ...show more
Update : Do some people not charge for initial consultation? Also, I believe one ...show more
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I hate to be vague, but it does depend on the project. We charge hourly to do shopping, but when it is a remodel or total room makeover, we charge by the project. We have to do it that way in order that our contractors and subs are adequately compensated and their fees are factored into the overall price. Also, it does depend on how big the job is. If you are only buying furniture, we use to the trade showrooms and add our percentage to the purchase price. Same goes with upholstery fabrics. Best of luck with your business, you will find interior design a lucrative and personally rewarding career.


30 years experience in interior design
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  • Gail Doby answered 7 years ago
    It sounds as if you are just starting your career, so congratulations on your new profession.

    There are many ways that designers charge for their time. Hourly is becoming a standard for most professionals. The average rates are $75 - 150 per hour. Some charge that rate portal to portal (door to door for any work they do).

    An initial consultation is usually a "get to know each other" opportunity to decide if you are a good fit. Be very cautious about offering too much free advice in the first session.

    It is wise to have a contract, and some of us require a retainer for our services.

    Some designers charge lower rates for the administration part of the jobs.

    Billing monthly or even every two weeks (we do this) is important to keep your cash flow going.

    Ironically, the ASID survey showed that almost 80% of all consumers preferred a fixed fee basis. This is a hard one to figure out when you start out...and even if you are experienced.

    Most designers charge a mark-up on products and it seems that 25 - 35% is the typical mark-up. Draperies can be higher.

    These days, you will find that clients will shop your prices and may even try to get their sales tax license to purchase their own products at the design center. If so, you will have to decide how to handle this. We actually interviewed a few designers (we also do this) that let their clients do their own purchasing. Since administration and expediting take up such a large percentage of time billing, and have the most headaches, we don't mind them doing this because they really find out how hard the process is. If you have disputes on bills, it is about how much time it takes to do this part of the work.

    The most important thing to remember is to be very clear with your clients about how you bill. Be sure to set realistic expectations about what your bills might run for a project and make sure there aren't any surprises.

    A final word of advice, for now, is to be sure you work with the right clients. If you are just starting out and need to pay the bills, it can be tempting to take clients that aren't a good fit. I would highly recommend that you be discerning and careful. Difficult clients take time away from good clients, and there are many good ones out there.

    I hope that helps.

    Best regards,
    Gail Doby, ASID
    Design Success University
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  • emmymn answered 7 years ago
    I agree with the interior designers here. You really need to base it off the time it takes to complete the job. Let's face it, if you are working with one family 4 hrs per day, it takes up alot of time you could be drumming up new perspective clients. I do think a free in home consultation would work to your advantage- - -at least until you get up and running (building a name for yourself). You can always start to charge if you become insanely busy and need to weed out those just taking your expertise and not hiring you. You could always do a sort of base cost for let's say up to 2 hrs. After that you would do an hourly perhaps. I would also allow in for mileage if you are going to have to travel outside of your local area. The last thing you need it to lose money on the project because of gasoline. Good Luck and Have Fun with It!!!
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  • Brooke Y answered 7 years ago
    Some stores provide complimentory design services if you purchase merchandise from them. Try to find these places! Other consultants go from $50+ an hour. Try calling around for the best quote.
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  • Byron P answered 7 years ago
    Charge by the hour, including time spent with and without your client
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  • Teri answered 7 years ago
    I agree with the last answer. It also depends on your qualifications. If you have no degree, you cannot charge as much as someone certified and with 10+ years experience. Also, your location. People in rural America simply won't pay as much as urban residents will.


    I am a professional interior designer
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  • How do people charge for Interior Design projects?
    I have started advertising my services as an Interior Designer and Consultant, and have started receiving inquiries and requests to help in home decor. I was curious as to how others charge for their services in the field? Do you charge by project, hours, strictly subjective based on wants of client? Any information would be really helpful. I have advertised as working with clients designing, going shopping with them, etc. I am trying to be really flexible, but want to have formal rates to add to the legitimacy of what I want to do. Thanks.
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