Making more money is something we all want to do, right? We are running a business after all, so even though we love what we do, working for free is not an option – not for this gal anyway and it shouldn’t be for you either!
There is a simple way to make more money in your interior design business and I’m sharing this with you today in my latest video. What is the secret sauce, you ask? Watch my video below to find out and start making more money TODAY!
So here’s the secret, in case you decided to jump past my video and keep scrolling.
Charge for your time.
I know what you might be thinking, “Claire, I do charge for my time.”
But do you really? Do you charge for ALL of your time?
As entrepreneurs, we have many outgoings to consider such as bookkeeping or website services and business insurance, just to name a few. This all adds up, so we need to be profitable at the end of the working day, to be smart business owners.
So, how are you going to make more money in your interior design business?
Let your clients know how you charge
You have to be upfront with your clients from the offset. We can’t assume that people know how we work. We may do what we do everyday, but our clients do not. We need to educate them on our processes and this includes being up front, confident and clear about our billing methods.
In order to manage expectations, you first explain to them on the initial discovery call, how you work.
Hang on though, let me back up for a second. A potential clients first touch point with you, is likely going to be through your interior design website. Your website should clearly convey your brand message; the services you provide; give a good indication of how you work with clients; and the value that you can bring to a renovation or decorating project. (like I do in this video)
This is a whole other topic for a blog post, but to manage expectations in the best way possible and to find your ideal clients, adding video content to your website will help you with that 100%. To learn more about how to do this effectively, click here.
Now back to my point at hand.
In order to be sure that you are billing for your time, it’s imperative that clients understand your processes. You can clearly outline this in your letter of agreement (LOA.) For our clients, we review the LOA at the end of the initial consultation before commencing design services.
This one page contract keeps everyone on the same page. Now, when you charge for your time – no matter how small of a task – your client understands that you batch your work in time-based increments, and they’ll know what to expect from you in terms of invoicing for your time. It’s always best that there are no surprises when it comes to invoicing your client.
How does this work in my business?
I bought a simple agenda from an office supply store that has each day broken up by time. (watch the video to see the agenda I am referring to) I prefer to use the style of agenda that includes 15-minute blocks of time. I log everything that I do for each client in the appropriate time block.
Why do I do this?
Because in the past, there were many times that I was sat at my desk for hours, diligently working away before I realized that I hadn’t charged a single client for my time!
Every email that you reply to; conversations with your contractor about details of a project; phone calls to follow up on orders – all of this is billable time. You are working on behalf of your client, offering your amazingly invaluable services in order to make their life easier. All of this time needs to be logged and billed for.
It might seem like you’re just clearing out your inbox, but if you’re not charging for your time, you are simply doing free work. Don’t give away your billable time for free!
For example, when I’m working on a project for clients and I see emails in my inbox from the painter, my electrician, and my clients themselves, I will pull the file for this project, note the time in my agenda, and start working on the clients’ project.
When I’m finished doing these necessary tasks, I write down the details of what I did in my agenda, and then I log this information into Quickbooks immediately as well.
PRO TIP: Do not wait until the end of the week to log your time in your accounting software. If you do, you’re more likely to question the tasks that you did or forget to add everything that you did. Do it that day and you won’t miss out on the income you’ve made.
What does this look like in the long run?
Let’s look at it over a stretch of time, as that’s when you can see how this really adds up and how you may be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Let’s say you charge 5 extra hours a week for billable administrative or travel time that you are currently not billing for, and for that time you charge $100/hr. This means you could be making an extra $500 a week! Think about that over the course of a year – or let’s say 50 weeks because you are going to take 2 weeks vacation. (yes, you deserve and should be taking vacations – if you didn’t think you could afford to, after reading this you will know that you can!)
That’s $25,000 a year! Wowzers!
That’s enough money for a new bathroom or a new car or an incredibly lovely holiday with your family. Even if you half that and bill for 2.5 hours a week more for time that you are currently letting pass you by, that’s still $12,500!!
As I mentioned before, everything that you do in your business adds up – your website, advertisements, assistants, bookkeeping, outsourcing CAD or 3D designs, membership fees, coaches, etc. When you charge for your time, you’re making more money which means that you will be more profitable.
This is your business, not a hobby. So, run it your way and make sure you get paid for the hard work you do and for the hours you put in.
Are you charging for all of your time?
Where are you giving your time away for free?
Go grab my Letter of Agreement and confidently charge your worth and bill for your time & hard work.
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