Designer By Your Side Service
Design Services and Rates Guide A FREE Resource for Your Interior Design Business
Designer By Your Side is a service that is growing in popularity in our industry. It’s a service I have been offering since I started my business over 10 years ago.
Before I delve into what exactly Designer By Your Side looks like, I want to emphasize three key things you MUST consider before establishing your menu of services.
3 Factors to Consider First
1. What are your business goals? Do not follow the pack when creating your list of services. Be faithful to your goals and build your services around achieving them.
2. What is your personal situation? Certain services may be more or less appropriate depending on your personal situation. Perhaps your design business is only a part-time gig or you have young or elderly family members to care for. This may mean full custom design projects are a bit more challenging to handle at the moment, but smaller time block services are ideal.
3. You Do You! Do not worry about what other people are doing or what they might think about how you run your business. It’s not your job to convince others why the path you want to take is a good idea. You don’t need approval from anyone to run your business as you see fit. Provide design and decorating services that excite YOU and make no excuses!
If you haven’t already got your hands on my FREE Services and Pricing sheet, get it now and it will help you determine the best list of services to offer that will help you achieve your business goals.
What is Designer By Your Side service?
It can go by several names. I have heard it referred to as ‘Designer On Call’ or ‘Designer On Demand’. When I first started out I called this type of service ‘As and When You Need Me’.
I prefer Designer by Your Side as it doesn’t imply that I will be there at the drop of a hat.
For this type of service I work side-by-side with my clients, guiding them through the process of their renovation or interior decorating project. I have set this service up as a minimum of 20 hours.
You could do less, but I suggest you do not go below 10 hours for this type of service. If you are going to offer anything less than 10 hours, you should defer to Designer for a Day Services.
My policy of requiring payment upfront holds true for this service. Before I begin my working relationship with my client, I will have invoiced them for the 20 hours and already received payment.
You could start with 50%, just be sure to have at least partial payment up front prior to initiating any interior design services.
Like all my services a signed contract is a must. I always review my contracts in person with my clients and request a retainer at the same time.
I have an easily editable and comprehensive contract template specifically for my Designer By Your Side service.
Included is a wonderful marketing tool that you can use to explain in detail this service and answer many of the most common FAQs.
It’s a fantastic way to sell them on the advantages and benefits of hiring you for this service.
Pros & Cons
Great for New Designers
This is a great service for those starting out. So, if you are new to the business, I’m especially talking to you here!
In the beginning, it can be hard to land the huge custom design jobs with decent sized budgets, so this is a wonderful alternative.
Get Your Foot in the Door
Point #1 leads nicely into this next pro – it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. You start by helping out a client with a smaller project, gain their trust and show your value, and often it can lead to getting signed up for a future bigger project.
I know this to be true in my own experience but have heard similar stories from several designers during a recent WIDWIL (What I Did and What I Learned). This is a live show in my private Facebook Group called Interior Design Business Strategies.
Don’t be too quick to say no to these small jobs, as you just never know where it could lead! You may lose out on a potentially larger project if you do.
Experience is Everything
Another important Pro is the experience you will gain. By working on more of these ‘Designer By Your Side’ projects you will quickly gain valuable experience. Lots of different projects mean lots of diverse experiences. All of which will put you in good stead for when you begin to tackle Full-Service projects.
Flexibility and Less Responsibility
In addition to experience, Designer By Your Side offers an incredible amount of flexibility. Depending on your personal situation, which I touched on earlier, you may not be able to commit to 6 months or a year for a major renovation project. However, a 20-hour project assisting a homeowner work through the process of renovating their kitchen might be a perfect fit for your schedule.
Build Your Reviews
Don’t think you can’t ask for reviews where you’ve worked on projects with clients for Designer by Your Side Services? You absolutely can and you SHOULD!
Reviews are everything. I’ll even ask for a testimonial for ‘working design sessions’ because I always aim to ROCK the Initial Consultation. No matter what a client hires us for, my goal is to always bring the MOST value to their project.
We charge well for our initial consultation meetings and never hold back in sharing our ideas and bests advice. I recommend you do the same, it will feel great and can pay off in dividends over time in different ways.
The last Pro is huge. Are you listening? Check it out! Designer By Your Side can be an awesome moneymaker for your business.
In less than 10 months we have provided this service to three different clients and through hours worked alone, we have billed over $30k. That is not including any sale of products!
So don’t write this service off completely if you’ve been doubtful that there is money to be made. I wouldn’t be sharing all of this with you if I didn’t think it could help increase the bottom line in your business.
With all that said you might be wondering if there are any Cons? Yes, there are. So here we go…
The biggest Con for many interior designers will be that they don’t have full control over the project. If you prefer being in the driver’s seat for the duration of a project, then you will likely struggle with this type of service where clients tend to be more hands-on.
Piecemeal is Real
Because clients are more involved, they may also like to shop and source for items on their own. So rather than you creating a vision and showing them a full design presentation, the design may come together in pieces.
I appreciate this is not ideal and can be frustrating, which is why I’m highlighting it here for you as a Con to the Designer by Your Side service.
Not Getting to the Finish Line
This type of service may also mean that you will not always take a project to the finish line. Therefore not having the option to get those professional photos of the completed space at the end.
HOWEVER, I would like to make a little side note here to say that in my own business I have worked on many projects in this capacity and have got photos for my portfolio.
While I may not have always been the one ordering materials and all furnishings, nor managing the trades, I worked very closely with my clients and was able to get some fantastic photos when the projects were complete.
The images below and others throughout this blog post are all examples of projects where we were hired for our Designer by Your Side service.
Do you currently offer this service or one similar? If you don’t, would you consider it? Love hearing input from others so please comment below.