Do you like home decorating? Want to make some money by turning your home decorating hobby into a career? or want to learn how to start an interior design business?
Interior design is a captivating blend of artistry, functionality, and creativity. If you have a passion for transforming spaces and a keen eye for aesthetics, launching your own interior design business can be a fulfilling and exciting endeavor. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with a roadmap to navigate the world of interior design and successfully launch your own business. From honing your design skills and establishing your unique style to building a portfolio and marketing your services effectively, we will equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to thrive in the competitive field of interior design. Get ready to unleash your creativity, create stunning spaces, and leave a lasting impression on your clients.
Well, then you are at the right place. We are presenting a complete guide on “how to start an interior design business”.
You would be surprised to know it is one of the most profitable businesses in the US, China, Japan, Canada, Australia, India, and South Korea. The global market of interior design business is expecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.8% by 2027.
What Are the Pros And Cons Of Starting An Interior Design Business?
The best strategy to start any business is to know your advantages and disadvantages beforehand. Unlike other businesses, there is no set price structure or profit margins in an interior design business plan.
Here are a few pros and cons of the interior design business that will help you to get a better understanding of what your future holds and how to start an interior design business successfully.
- You can start the interior designing business from the comfort of your home at the beginning.
- You don’t require too much startup cost. You can start with very little money and then grow your business as you get the work.
- You have the flexible working hours
- Income potential is unlimited so is the target market. In the beginning, experience is what matters. Take any job you can get and use them to gain knowledge and exposure.
- Profit margins are considerably high as there is no set price structure. Therefore, average profit margins fall between 35-40%.
- Competition is very high. The market is crowded with interior designers and decorators.
- Time commitment is crucial and difficult to meet.
- You can easily become the target of criticism. Many people might disagree with your intentions and methods, but you can overcome it if, you can satisfy your clients.
- Work can be stressful and demanding.
What Tools Do You Need to Start An Interior Design Business?
Well, the fact is interior design business plans don’t require many tools or equipment. It is most of the mental work instead of physical. Skills. Creativity, talent. And knowledge is the main tool of every successful interior design business idea.
However, if we still must define the tools specifically. You can divide them into two significant categories. Tangible and intangible tools.
Tangible tools include:
- Drawing tools
- Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) tools or software
- Color Wheel
- Paint chips
- Fabric Samples
- Measuring Tape
- Digital Cameras etc.
Intangible tools include:
- Artistic ability
- Color sense
- Creativity etc.
What Are the Basic Setup Costs For Opening An Interior Design Business?
One of the best things about starting an interior design business is the lowest setup cost. Interior design business ideas require experience and knowledge more than money. Of course, money plays a vital role in the opening of any small-scale business.
One can execute their interior design business plan into action with very little setup cost. Depending on the size of your first project and the materials required, you can start your business from $3000- $30,000 only.
How Do You Prepare for Starting An Interior Design Business?
When it comes to starting an interior design business many people think that skills and talent are enough, but it is not the entire truth. It is necessary to have a professional some sort of certificate or degree so your clients can trust you. A professional degree can help you to stand out among your competitors.
If you have one, then it is good to attract paid clients and you can start immediately or we would advise you to get one as soon as you can otherwise you will be considered an interior decorator and not an interior designer.
We understand, acquiring a degree in motion and graphics is a long-term process. Therefore, you could choose some online diploma or certificate courses if you already have some experience and are planning to set up your business. There are few online institutions such as the NEW YORK SCHOOL OF INTERIOR DESIGN or The interior design institute that can provide you the professional training and an overall introduction to business management and the latest trends.
When it comes to learning “how to start an interior design business” your first step should always be gaining knowledge. Market research is the only method that can help you to visualize your goals and vision and stumble upon the opportunities and challenges that you will face in the future.
If you want to learn “how to market interior design business effectively”?
Then, market research will help you in identifying the best marketing strategies that your competitors are using and getting the results. It will also help you to choose the right product and services to deliver to your potential clients.
You will easily be able to determine the scope of your services, your niche, and target customers that will help you to establish your brand more effectively.
Business Name and Logo
It is advisable to keep your interior designing business name simple and memorable. You can also use your name to make yourself a brand like many established companies.
You can also choose a catchy and smart business name to establish as a brand in the long term but make sure it is easy to pronounce and make sense in regard to the services you are offering.
Don’t stress too much about the logo. You can keep it artistic, modern, or traditional based on your niche and target market or you can just opt for a basic simple design that is easy to understand. Simplicity might not make sense as you move forward with your interior design business ideas but that is actually what works in the industry.
Finding the right niche that can complement and enhance your skills and bring new opportunities for you in the interior design business is very crucial and challenging. Before you identify your niche it is advisable to identify your interests, talents, and skills as an interior designer.
Ask these questions to yourself first.
- What is your design style?
- What kind of projects do you want to focus on?
- To whom do you want to design homes/ offices?
- Do you want to offer overall services or just want to design kitchens and baths?
- Do you want to work for large families with kids or just couples?
Once you answer these questions, especially identify your design style, only then will you be able to select a niche and utilize your knowledge of how to start an interior design business.
Here is the list of interior design business ideas to select your niche:
- Transitional interior design style
- Traditional style
- Shabby chic style
- Eclectic style
- Contemporary style
- Minimalist style
- Mid-century modern interior design style
- Coastal interior style
- Hollywood style Etc.
Select Target Market
The target market is quite vast for interior design business ideas. After the selection of your niche, research more on the potential clients that will be interested in your services and design style.
There are many segments and sub-segments of the target market but ironically they consist of the same potential customers. Therefore, it is ideal to research the backgrounds of your potential customers.
Loosely, you can divide your target market into 2 sections:
Segmentation of the target market by end-users:
- Country Club Women– One of the most dominant segments. Comprises women in the age group of 35-50. They are mostly high-end customers who believe in living in style.
- Boomers in Transition– this group has a typically wide age range, people between 50-65 fall in this category who are moving homes or making a huge transition in their lifestyle.
- Professional Youngsters– mostly couples between the age of 25-35 falls in this category who want to make a statement early in their life and most probably have officially started their adult life.
- Home Builders– they are one of the prime candidates for interior design business ideas. People who are in the process of building or remodeling their residential and vacation homes and offices. They mostly fall into the age group of 40-55.
Before you learn how to start an interior design business. It is essential to determine if you have the skills of an interior designer. It is an artistic field that offers services based on trends, fads, and specific design styles.
There are some specific and basic skills that every interior design business and the owner should have to become an authority in their niche.
- Creativity, innovation, and attention to details
- Knowledge of sustainable practices such as using and promoting eco-friendly products and features.
- Effective communication skills and active listening
- Drawing and sketching skills
- Basic computer knowledge along with CAD software
- Organization and management
How To Source Raw Materials For An Interior Design Business?
When it comes to sourcing raw materials for an interior design business, there is no particular place, store, supplier, dealer, or manufacturer.
Simply, because there is no end to raw materials that can be used to give acoustics to your home and office. It is all about the skills and point of view of interior designers. Everything and anything can be used as a raw material in your interior design business ideas.
It is best to collaborate locally with different manufacturers or suppliers based on the services you are offering. For example: if your niche and skill set is designing residential kitchens and baths then most of your raw materials are plywood, floor tiles, concrete, kitchen accessories and equipment, and so on.
How To Setup Your Price Structure?
As we told you earlier, there is no fixed set price rate in the interior design industry. You cannot offer competitive prices according to your competitors as every project and service are different from one another.
Every job has different requirements, so ask these questions to yourself before setting a price structure.
- How much time will it take to finish the job?
- What would be the average overall cost?
- Do you want to charge on an hourly basis or propose fixed rates?
- What is the size of the area you need to design?
Based on the services you are offering and answers to these questions. You will be able to fairly calculate the price structure for your services. Also, don’t give a specific figure to your clients. Provide a price bracket so that when it costs more than a set price you don’t lose your reputation and integrity.
Do You Need Office Space?
It is not advisable to rent or buy an office at the start of your interior design business when you can smartly manage and run your business from the comfort of your home.
Your business requires you to work from different locations and you don’t have to store any inventory or hoard the raw materials in advance, so you don’t need any store or inventory as well.
You can meet with your potential clients at some cafe or at a place that needs to be designed to get a better knowledge of the project and provide better insights and ideas to your clients. Once you have regular customers or your brand is known in the community then you can rent or lease an office space as per your requirement.
Arranging finance is not that difficult to run and start an interior design business. It is one of the perks of the industry. You don’t need employees, offices, raw materials, and major machinery to get your work done.
You can start by doing small and significant jobs to gain money, experience, and knowledge. It is also an integral part of learning how to market the interior design business. You can start with little to no money. Take some advance payment from your clients or use your investments initially until you get paid.
Do You Need to Hire?
Initially, you don’t have to hire anybody. If your project demands an extra set of hands or some skilled carpenter, plumber, or another handyman then you can hire accordingly on an hourly or rental basis.
This will add value to your services and increase your contacts and relationships with suppliers and dealers. Also, there is no additional overhead expense for you to be worried about. Hire the necessary help based on the type of services and size of the area and the time commitment that need to complete the job.
What Could Be the Possible Hurdles In Starting An Interior Design Business?
Even though you are following your passion and have flexible hours and freedom to choose the projects of your choice. But we can’t deny that it is a stressful job and you have to fulfill the demand of your clients and turn your visions into reality.
Major hurdles that every interior designer faces while learning how to start an interior design business are the following:
- Cost management
- Working on the growth
- Managing time
- Selling ideas to potential customers
- Maintaining client expectations
However, there is only one solution to all these problems EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE. So you just need to dive in and dive deep to emerge victorious to run and start an interior design business.
Finale: How to Start An Interior Design Business – a Complete Guide
In the end, we just want to say trust in your guts and skills. Follow the trend, stay updated, gain as much knowledge and exposure as you can, and above all fulfill your client’s expectations.
We hope our complete guide on how to start an interior design business has helped you to understand the market and execute your interior design business plans and strategies. Now, you know exactly what you need to do and where to spend your money and efforts.
We would also advise you to work on your digital marketing strategies and use local SEO tools to attract new customers to grow your business rapidly and to become an authority in your niche.
What Businesses Can Be Combined with Interior Designing Business?
You can collaborate with an interior designing business with home and furnishing businesses, furniture stores, furniture product businesses, and home decor accessories. It will expand your customer base and profit margins.
How To Find Clients for Your Interior Design Business?
Social networking platforms and collaboration with local manufacturers and suppliers are the best tools to find new clients on a regular basis. It is better to use a combination of a few methods to start an interior design business.