For an interior designer, a solid interior design process can be the difference between struggling and thriving. Many projects fail because of poor planning, so an ironed-out process that you stick by is essential – and gives you the ability to stay on time, on budget, and within scope. At Mydoma, we preach the “Mydoma Method”, a 5-step repeatable design process applicable to a variety of design projects, from decorating to custom kitchens.
Qualification is the first step, and an incredibly important one because it can have a dramatic effect on the satisfaction of our clients, our bottom line, and ultimately, our passion for the business.
And why’s that? Because qualification is where we investigate and decide if a potential client is a good fit. And there’s not much worse than a bad client! So during qualification you want to vet the potential client on a few things – what is their budget, is this the kind of projects I want to do, and, is the client’s sense of style in-line with my own?
Intake is like the discovery portion of the project – you’re gathering all the information you need to both set up this project, and complete it to where both you, and your client will be happy. It also sets the foundation for the entire client relationship.
As a designer, your time is your most valuable asset, so doing the work upfront to save yourself pain later is essential. For Intake you want to ask yourself things like “what is the goal for this project?”, “who are the stakeholders?”, and “what details do I need to create a statement of work and timeline?”
Once you’ve consulted the client on their project and gotten all the details you need, you can provide them a statement of work, and an estimated budget and timeline for them to sign off on before getting down to the design itself and refining your budget and timeline.
Development is the designing phase. You’re taking all the information from Intake, and turning it into a design concept that is fully executable. In the eyes of your client, this is the brunt of what they’re paying you to do, so this is your time to shine!
It’s space planning, Concept Design is space planning, detailed measurements, 3D concept, sketches, digital mood boards, etc. and gathering Initial quotes and samples – all while refining the timeline and budget based on the design.
Once that’s done, you’ll present to your client and sell the vision – including your concept, scope of work, budget, and timeline. Ultimately you’re wanting to get client feedback to determine if revisions are needed. Once it’s been signed off on, it’s time to make it happen.
This is where you deliver what you promised, and is also very important, as if not done right, can affect client satisfaction, and the chance that they’ll refer you or come back to you for further work!
Depending on the project, this can be one of the longest parts of the process, or the shortest. You’ll be placing orders for product, organizing and managing install of that product and fixtures, and ultimately, bringing that design concept to life! This is also a great time to schedule professional photos for your portfolio before the client makes the space more personal and lived-in.
The final step of our interior design process is Project Closeout, where we wrap up the project, ensure the client has everything they need (warranties, product info, etc.), and reflect on what did or didn’t work on this project.
The client experience doesn’t end at install, and this stage puts a bow on the entire process so that a client is primed to refer you, or come back to you for future work.
You’ll meet with your client, provide them with all their product warranties and any other info they require, ask for feedback, and then officially end the project with a thank you card (or maybe even a gift!)
Then be sure to check out our resources page! From webinars, to tools and templates, we’ve developed a number of free resources for interior designers to upgrade your business, and make your life easier!