“What will this cost me?” This is usually the first question I get asked. As you read on you will see how this can be a difficult question to answer!
In fact, the actual question should be “How do you bill for your services?” This question, allows me to describe the scope of services and how they are billed.
A client needs to provide specific details with regards to their budget and know exactly what type of service they are looking for. Unless a simple flat fee is offered, the task to provide a design plan for a space with no added procurement services offered and little alterations to the plan, it is difficult to give a price without knowing the budget and scope of the project because the ranges are too varied.
A furnished living room can be $10,000 or $100,000 and more — depending on what the client wants. The budget is always in the client’s control and ultimately I can either accept the job within the stated budget, or will choose not to. Contrary to popular belief, designers are not looking to simply spend as much of the client’s money as we can. We want to provide the right services for the clients needs and to be fairly compensated for our efforts and experience. After all, it’s our reputation that is reflected in our work.
Additional considerations and costs
When deciding to work with an interior designer/decorator it is best to have a very clearly-defined project in mind. It is true that “how you work with your designer will have tremendous impact on the final cost”. Generally this will mean that making changes late in a project or deciding to expand the scope of the work is going to frustrate the decorator and also increase the price of the project.
Many professionals require their clients to pay a retainer fee, which is usually a small percentage of the total estimated budget, and will also ask for a contract. This is to ensure that any changes in the work and any schedules established will be dealt with in an amicable and clear-cut manner. A contract generally protects both parties.
Most homeowners and designers understand that any project will need to occur in controlled stages. This is to ensure that the work is done in a timely fashion and that any budgetary concerns can be addressed immediately. If the designer is going to work with subcontractors for the project, they should be consulted about schedules to ensure they can meet their obligations. They too might need to sign a contract in order to adhere to the terms of the project and ensure that estimated costs are fair and reasonable.
As with everything else, we pay for things with time or money and this is certainly true when it comes to interior design/decorating services.