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When your design business is buttoned down from top to bottom, not only will your current clients will be thrilled with how it feels to work with you, it will also help lead to more business because of their referrals…and we like referrals. 🙂

One aspect of a design project that can quickly feel out of control is the design project budget. From the many receipts and work orders you must juggle to actually tracking all the expenses for every project you are working on, there’s so much to organize. Lose track of one thing, and your budget can quickly get off track. Not so good for you—or your clients!

Managing and monitoring the design project budget is typically one of the LEAST favorite parts of what we do, but keeping your design project ON budget is one of the most important aspects of each job.

Anything that can free up your time from admin tasks so you can get back to designing the homes of your clients’ dreams would be phenomenal, right?

Over the years, I learned four things that are critical for a budget system to have to help streamline this aspect of your design project.

Your branding

It’s important that your budget system and materials be branded with your company logo and identity. Your clients will make assumptions about your professionalism and design detail from anything and everything you present—even your budget! When they see how put together you are in your business, they will have renewed confidence in your ability to have all the details of their design project handled just as beautifully.


Whether that storage is in folders, binders, tabs or electronic, an easy-to-use storage system is mandatory. Not only will you have budget trackers, but you also need to store receipts and work orders in a way that’s easy to find. Your storage system allows you to have the facts at your fingertips, no foraging around for receipts and updated reports. They are all contained where they should be in the system.

Help you help your clients

We all know how it is. Multiple projects in multiple stages. The struggle is real trying to stay on top of it all. So, I’m always a fan of having a budget system that nudges my memory with questionnaires, worksheets and guides to help make sure I won’t miss a beat.

Works for you and your clients

The budget systems that work the best in my experience are those that help you and your client equally and become an effective communication tool. When your clients have a tool to easily track their spending, there are no surprises. Successful budget systems don’t use lots of designer jargon that only you would understand, but is an effective method for all involved to understand the current budget status of the project.

If you had this type of budget system and resources that could streamline your interior design business, how UH-mazing would that be? I can almost hear your sigh of relief!

You can certainly set out to find or create your own budget system that meets these requirements, but before you do, check out my Return on Interiors System.

I collated my knowledge and techniques into Return on Interiors, so that you could leverage my learnings, forms and processes for your own business. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when someone already has a system you can put into place.

Here’s what my friend Kara of Kara Cox Interiors said about Return on Interiors®:

“As a designer who often manages multiple remodel and construction jobs at one time, Return on Interiors has streamlined the process by allowing me to gather all of the information into one organized system for each job. There are so many decisions to be made in each phase of construction and having a reference guide to make sure you have not forgotten a step is invaluable.

For clients, the system allows them to easily track their spending, keep all of their information in one place and know that their job is being managed professionally and in an organized manner. The reference guides and tips are an added bonus and great to help you think through the final functionality of each space.

Return on Interiors has raised the professional level of my client management system and I love showing up organized and ready for every job!”

So, let’s chat! Isn’t it time that you had the resources you need at your fingertips without recreating the wheel? You can have all of my tools and systems to run your design business when you get a Return on Interiors system.

Now that you have a tool to help out with the admin part of your business, tell us what fabulous design challenge you’re tackling.

Click Here to Download the ROI® Design Budget Worksheet