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If you are researching for information on how to start your interior design business, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the things you’ll need (or should) do in order to make sure you start your business correctly. Going into this post, we’re going to assume that you have any schooling required for the services you want to provide. You can read more about how to become an interior designer here, and you can learn more about what an interior designer does here.
Pick your style of interior design
When you first start your business, you’ll most likely be the only designer on the team. Although your company can branch off into multiple interior design styles later, we highly recommend picking a style and sticking to it at the beginning. This will help you source high-quality furniture for your clients easier since you’ll know from past experience which stores work best for your style.
Picking a style will also make it easier to attract clients looking for that specific style since they’ll see a lot of related photos on your social media or website portfolio. When deciding on a style, pick one that you personally like so you can easily recommend it to clients. Picking a style will also most likely attract a certain type of client since not everyone will like a modern design for example.
Some interior designers also choose to focus on specific rooms or businesses. You might find that you really enjoy designing for doctor’s offices, or that you prefer to work with families with children to create the best possible room for them. It might take a couple of jobs before you find what you truly enjoy doing, and that’s perfectly okay.
Decide on a business name
You could definitely use your name for your business, but if you plan on expanding to become a larger company down the line, having something without your name in it just in case you decide to equally partner with another designer might be a good idea as well.
When deciding on a name for your business, try to find one with social media handles and a website domain still available. Although you could easily add or remove letters to pick a social media handle, we find that everything just flows better when there’s a sense of uniformity. Try to also pick a business name that can be easily said out loud on the phone without being hard to understand or spell. As an added tip, try to pick something that has the word “design” or “designs” in it for that extra SEO benefit.
Registering a business is different in every state but usually, it’s as easy as visiting your state’s website and paying to register a name. You can (and should) do research to make sure no one else is using that same name unregistered as well.
Open a bank account for your business
When it comes to business, it’s always best practice to keep your personal money separate from your business money. This will make it much easier when it comes time for tax season since you don’t have to go through all your fast food purchases to find the items you purchased exclusively for work.
A business bank account also makes it easy to keep track of how much you’re earning versus how much you’re spending on the business. At the end of the day, making money is the main goal of any business so you want to make sure you make it as easy as possible to track your money.
Create a website for your interior design business
We go into more information on why we highly recommend a website for your interior design business here, but to sum it up, it gives you a central location for people to find more information about you, your prices, and your portfolio of past work. A website isn’t extremely expensive anymore and is a great tool to make yourself appear more professional and established.
Do some research on pricing in your area
Interior design prices range wildly depending on your local area, and the city that you are in. Do some research on what those near you are charging for the same service you provide. This will give you a good estimate to work off of. An easy method is to just go to Google and search for “interior design near me” and then visit other company websites. We recommend avoiding the sponsored ads so you aren’t costing other business money when you click on their ad, and because usually ads are placed by more established businesses and they tend to charge more for their services.
Network, network, network
We talk more about how to grow your network as an interior designer here, but networking is probably the single most important thing you can do. When you first start out, no one will know who you are, no one will know what you can do, and heck they won’t even be able to find your website to learn more about you. Unless you want to spend a ton of money on advertising, networking is the best way to pick up referral projects, collaborate with other interior designers where you can learn lots of tips on running your own business, and create lasting relationships with suppliers and contractors.
Build your portfolio
If you’re lucky, you have projects you worked on in school that you can use in your portfolio when you first begin. If you don’t have anything like that, you can use your own house as an example if you did design work to improve your own living space. Clients mainly use your portfolio to see an example of your attention to detail, and ability to improve the functionality of a space. Use examples that show optimal layouts for space, visual aesthetics, and good overall flow.