As an interior designer, you have a lot of options when it comes to software to run your business on. It may be a good problem to have, but it doesn’t make the decision even easier – which software for interior design should you choose? Well, unfortunately we can’t tell you straight out (but have you checked out Mydoma yet? ) because it’s a question you have to answer for yourself.
But not to worry, we’re going to break down how to run a potential interior design software through some key qualifiers to make sure that it’s the right choice for your business, and, won’t have you regretting the decision, days, months, or years down the line.
So get your pen and notebook ready, and let’s take a look at some things you should be thinking of when you decide which software for your interior design business you should use.
The first and most important thing to ask yourself is “why do I want an interior design software?” What are you hoping to accomplish with it? What does life look like when you’ve implemented it for your business? These are some good blue sky questions to ask yourself to help formulate what you need.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of your business to help you build a list of requirements that you can use to vet which interior design software you should go with.
First off, think about the bottlenecks in your business’ process. Where are you getting frustrated, stressed, or overwhelmed? What feels broken or malnourished in your process? Where could you use technology to make your life as a designer and business owner easier? Maybe it’s having clients continually message you for information on their project (so perhaps something like a client portal, where they can access project info whenever they want should be on your list!) Maybe it’s the availability of a mobile app, since you’re always on the go and need to be able to access anything – even when you can’t reach your computer. Or maybe, it’s as simple as getting paid promptly (so maybe being able to easily process payments should be your list!)
Once you have those pain points, or places you’d like to fine-tune, you’ll have a good list of things to look for when choosing the interior design software that’s right for you.
Next, we’ll add to those lists of requirements by running through the rest of your process. What do you fundamentally need to deliver your projects and run your business? Is it the ability to communicate, collaborate, and manage your team? Or maybe it’s the ability to source, curate, and store info and specs for product.
Once you’ve added those to your list as well, you’re all set to hunker down and…
You’re busy, we get it, but taking the time to sit down and actually do your research will save yourself so much trouble in the future. Nothing breeds buyer’s remorse more than an impulse buy, so now is the time to really put a potential interior design software through its paces to ensure it’s the right choice.
Take a look at the software and its features. Do they align with the goals you have for implementing an interior design software? Does your list of requirements match up with what it’s offering? Are you going to be able to run those fundamental tasks and processes on it?
Researching which interior design software to choose goes beyond just going through your requirements list though. It’s also important to see what other designers’ experiences with that particular software are. So check out review sites (like Capterra or G2) , Google, Facebook, and other platform reviews, and see what people are saying.
Are most designers happy with their experience and their day-to-day on the software, or not? Just because it looks good on paper, doesn’t mean it’s always good in practice – so seek out other designer’s opinions and reviews.
Now this is one you might fight us on, but hear us out – a software being too robust for your needs shouldn’t always be a deal-breaker. Sure, it might be more than what you need right now, but how about in the future? Believe us, having to switch software, especially when you have years-worth of projects, files, and odds-and-ends to move over can be an exceptional pain – and sometimes means downtime for you and the business as you make the switch.
It also means re-learning (and possibly training your team or clients on) a new platform, which takes more time out of your week. If your goal is to continually grow your business, then this is even more important.
So again, going back to that blue sky – where do you want your business to be in the future? What kind of projects are you working on? What does your team look like? The trick to not having to do a cumbersome switch later is to find an interior design software that not only works for your business right now, but also, will work for your business 1, 3, or even 5 years from now. So ask yourself, will this software serve the future version of my business too?
Is it robust enough to deliver a wide menu of services in case you decide to diversify your offering, or expand your revenue with other services and interior design packages.
And perhaps more importantly, is the software itself continually adding new features and updates based on changes in the industry? You need the software to also grow with you (and the industry) so check for blog posts or announcements about new feature releases or updates to see how often the software is being improved!
All that to say, you may feel like it’s the best choice for right now, but be sure to also think about the future when gauging and making your choice on an interior design software.
Finally, you want to take a look at the kind (and breadth) of support you can expect for this interior design software. Whenever you start with a new platform for your interior design business, there’s always going to be a learning curve – and what can make that curve easier or painful are the resources to help you learn the software.
So do some investigating to see what training is available (and what kind, ie: live or pre-recorded video), what sort of documentation they have (and if it’s really thorough and comprehensive), and what their support is like (and is it free, or do you have to pay for it?)
And beyond what you can find in-house are there any other networks of support you can tap into if you need help, advice, or even just a sounding-board? Look to see if there are Facebook groups or user groups for the software where designers currently using it congregate. Having other people who are in the trenches with you can be a huge boon, and can be great resource when you’re implementing your own processes on the software.
You’ll save yourself so much time and grief in the future if you take the time today to really make sure that this software is the right fit for you, your team, and your business. So make sure you balance your list of requirements against the products features, do the research to make sure other designers are happy with it, choose a software that you can grow with, and always ensure there’s adequate support.