There are too many interior designers who aren’t making a good living out there today. And the most common reason for that is they aren’t charging enough for their services. It’s so frustrating to hear from designers that they feel like they want to throw in the towel and say ENOUGH! And usually, at the very core of that frustration, is the issue that they don’t have the confidence to charge enough. If you’re in this same jam, ask yourself WHY?!
Here are some of the top challenges that people have when charging for their services, and what to do about each one:
1. Lack of Confidence
This is a BIGGIE, and it’s at the heart of why designers don’t charge enough for their services. You have to have the confidence to ask for those fees – and the realize that you DESERVE to be paid fairly! No matter how you charge – hourly, flat fee, per square foot – you have to be able to stick to your guns when you reveal your fees to clients. Think about it this way – their job is to save themselves as much money as possible. So it makes sense that they may try to talk you down. But would they haggle with a lawyer? Would they try to talk the doctor out of fees?! NO. And you are every bit as much of a professional as they are! Remember that.
2. Scope Creep
Let’s say you quote a fair fee at the beginning of the project. But at the end you realize that you’ve barely made any money at all. How did THAT happen?! That’s usually due to one of two things – you either didn’t charge for every hour (see below) OR you let the project grow bigger than originally projected. If anything, even so much as a closet, is added after you’ve quoted the job, then you have to add onto your fees, too! You should be charging for anything that’s different from your original design scope. Period! Stick to your guns on this one.
3. “Fudged” Hours
Every designer has done this – every one. That does NOT make it right, though, and we need to stop this bad habit like right now! Fudging hours is not when you add hours you didn’t work. It’s always the fact that you worked FAR more hours than you charged for. And that happens with flat fees too! If you charge hourly, you need to give your client a true accounting of how many hours you worked. Period. Yes, it’s hard when you hand them a big bill. But you’ve got to get over that. And if you’re flat a fee person and you’re feeling smug – I hope you’re still keeping your hours. Because you can finish job, and then do the math on how much you made per hour just for your own info, only to find out you worked DOUBLE the hours you thought you would. Ouch.
4. Bad Projections
Usually, not charging for all of your hours comes from this common error. You have got to better understand how long a job is going to take you in the first place! Work through your past projects and use them as a guide to develop rough timelines. And be sure you leave yourself some wiggle room by adding language to your contract about additional meetings or site visits beyond what is originally proposed.
You knew this was coming, right?! If you read my blog at all, you know that communication is at the HEART of all of these issues. Charging your worth is all about communicating WHY you’re worth that!! And tell people what your fees are and what that covers is also a key communication. You’ve got to be honest and upfront, with yourself and with your clients. That’s the key to all of this!
To help you with that, you can download my FREE Client Communication Log to help you keep up with when you need to have those critical talks with your clients!