Let’s Get Honest About Your Interior Design Process

July 4, 2022

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a very process oriented person. I’m a firm believer that a strong, repeatable process is the difference between an interior design firm that is profitable and one that is not. So pop quiz time! Do you always stick to your process? Or does it get thrown to the wayside?

So let’s be real with one another. Have you ever done any of the following when it comes to your interior design process?

  • Took a client, who you knew wasn’t a good fit?
  • Started a project before signing your contract?
  • Began design work before your client has paid? (And YES, looking for inspiration counts!)
  • Underestimated revision time, and therefore didn’t bill enough for your time?
  • Forgot to share an important update/change with your client?
  • Held off on sending an invoice to be “nice” ?
  • Responded to a client’s non-urgent text/email/call during non-business hours?
  • Waited too long to ask for a review?

Guilty? Don’t worry, we’re all friends here; you can be 100% honest with me. In a moment of radical candor, I will fully admit that when I was running my own design firm, I was guilty of all of the above at some point or another. In the moment, it can be easy to slip into one of those traps, and color outside the lines.

Maybe you just wanted to make your client happy, or you had a lot going on and you just wanted to keep things moving. There are a ton of reasons and excuses of why you might not have followed your interior design process.

But here’s the thing.

A repeatable interior design process can be the difference between an interior design firm that is profitable and one that is not.

Building a repeatable interior design process is easier said than done right? False! It doesn’t have to be complicated, but If you’re finding it challenging, start with these 4 tasks.

  • Think about past projects, and identify where you’ve made mistakes.
  • Write down your current design & client management process from beginning to end. (This could be short or long. Don’t skip any steps!)
  • Decide on one thing to change in your process to improve on a previous mistake.
  • REPEAT.

Pro-Tip

Don't change too many variables at once, otherwise you won't know which change impacted what part of the project. Be sure to measure how the change impacted your project margins and client happiness during your next project autopsy report!

The design process covers everything from how you identify and qualify your ideal client, gather client and project information, organize project assets, deliver contracts, invoice, manage product selection or ordering, revisions, installation, the project closeout, and more… 

Perfecting your interior design process won’t happen overnight. It takes time and experience. Work smarter, not harder by identifying what’s working and what’s not working. Be sure to document your existing process, and identify changes you can make for next time. 

Don’t be afraid to share your design process with your client. Make them feel comfortable. Set, manage and exceed their expectations by being collaborative and transparent. Follow this, and over time you’ll have a system that works for you based on your own experience and mistakes.

Nobody said running an interior design business was easy, but it can also be very rewarding. You’re probably tired of hearing me say this by now, but the success of your design business is only as good as your design process. The interior design process is something very near and dear to my heart. Truthfully, it’s a part of the story of how Mydoma came to be. 

Until next time!

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Written by Sarah Daniele

Sarah Daniele is the CEO and co-founder of Mydoma Studio.

Starting off her career as an interior designer, the first version of Mydoma Studio was built to fulfill a personal need. 

But after some encouragement from friends and colleagues,  Sarah traded in swatches for shoulder pads, taking up the mantle of CEO and building up Mydoma Studio for the interior design industry. 

Sarah is passionate about building tools and technology to allow interior designers to grow their businesses.

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