If you have the skills, knowledge, and creativity to craft a stunning and functional space, you have likely used these qualities to develop a career in interior design.
However, what if you want to go a step further beyond your current position?
What if you have the desire to begin your own interior design business?
Going it alone opens the door to a number of potential benefits.
Being your own boss gives you a greater degree of independence, allowing you to work whenever and wherever you decide.
There’s also the creative freedom it provides, along with the personal satisfaction if you turn it into a success.
Oh, and the possible financial rewards should never be overlooked.
To get the ball rolling so you can overcome these challenges, this guide is here to help you on your journey.
Below are seven essential steps to starting an interior design business.
1. Create your brand
It goes without saying, but your brand is an integral component of your business.
Your brand should be recognizable, state what you stand for, and define your entire operation.
Multiple parts make up your brand, including your business name, logo, website, social media profiles, and so on.
When establishing your brand, it’s essential you discover your niche in the interior design world.
This could be a particular style you use for projects, for example or the work you do in a certain room.
Knowing where you fit in the market will identify the service your business is offering – a key foundation for building your brand.
In addition, you need to identify your target market.
Once you know your ideal client, you will have a greater idea of how to market your services in a more strategic and effective manner.
Don’t overlook the requirement for a strong, catchy name for your business.
Admittedly, you could just use your own name with ‘Interior Design’ attached.
Yet if you want to go beyond being an independent designer and establish a business with multiple employees, a branded name generally works best.
2. Produce a beautiful website
No, a generic website with a bog-standard template isn’t going to cut it. You are running an interior design business.
Your job is to turn interiors into beautiful spaces. As a result, you require a website that matches the work you do.
Due to the need for a professional and aesthetically pleasing website, it can be useful to hire a professional site designing agency or freelancer to do the job.
If your budget is tight, however, you may want to craft it on your own.
Fortunately, this is easier than it may initially seem for beginners.
Advancements in technology make it simple to produce a quality website, while you can find countless tutorial videos on YouTube for popular site building platforms like WordPress.
3. Gain experience
A portfolio of your interior design work is required if you want to acquire clients.
After all, customers will want to see images of your work.
There’s just one problem: how can this be achieved when starting out without any prior case studies?
As a starting point, offer your services to a small number of clients for free. This doesn’t have to be a major project, of course.
It could be a simple styling project for a friend or family member.
As long as you gain experience and photography which showcases your skills, this free work will pay for itself in the long run.
4. Have the right tools
Advancements in technology have helped businesses across all industries – the interior design sector is no different.
Instead of ignoring this technology, ensure it is at the forefront of the work you do.
One of the most effective tools you can have in your arsenal is specialist software for rendering floor plans.
With the ability to draw 2d professional house floor plans within minutes, you can provide clients an instant vision of your ideas.
This is particularly effective if you have a limited portfolio.
The tools you use shouldn’t just be focused on software and apps.
A paint color fan deck is ideal if you’re meeting clients in person and they want a better idea about which color scheme will work best for their interiors.
Also, you cannot live without a digital tape measure, so you can get all those accurate measurements with ease.
5. Build your contacts
In the interior design world, contacts are an essential element for those that want to be a success.
This is needed so you can source the right products and service providers for your projects.
Begin by building relationships with local tradesmen and suppliers.
When selecting tradesmen – whether they are decorators, builders, curtain makers, and so on – ensure you take the time to only pick those with a strong reputation.
Ultimately, they need to deliver the same level of quality that matches your standards.
The same also goes for suppliers, as you want high-quality materials delivered on time.
6. Set your rate
Setting rates for your work is not something you can go into haphazardly.
You need to do your homework and find out what other interior designers are charging in your area.
When you get an overall average, you have to decide – will you charge around the same amount, or will you go with a rate that is either cheaper or more expensive?
Going with a more affordable rate can be advantageous if you don’t have a load of experience under your belt, as clients are more likely to take a chance on your business.
If you charge a similar amount to the competition, however, you’ll have to ensure you stand out from the crowd in some way.
7. Get the word out
Prospective clients are not going to stumble across your new business randomly.
You have to put in the work to spread the word about your interior design company. Strategies include:
- Implement the latest SEO tactics into your website
- Be active across your social media profiles
- Utilize paid ads
- Attend tradeshows
- Print out business cards and leaflets to handout
- Maintain a weekly blog
You don’t have to blow your budget on marketing.
A number of the above techniques can be used without spending much – if anything – while being effective in reaching your audience.