How To Start an Interior Design Business

Written by Wesley Henderson

December 21, 2022

Are you planning to start your own interior design business but need help figuring out where to start? Starting a small interior design business can be overwhelming initially, but it doesn’t have to be.

Read on below to learn about the necessary steps that you need to take to start your interior design business.

Set up an LLC for Your Interior Design Business

Before starting your own interior design business, you must decide on the business structure for your company. A limited liability company (LLC) is popular for small businesses and start-ups because of its liability protection. Additionally, an LLC provides financial flexibility and tax advantages that can help small businesses save on finances.

Here are the necessary steps for setting up your LLC.

  • Choose a business name for your LLC.
  • Assign a registered agent.
  • File articles of organization.
  • Create an operating agreement.

One of the main benefits of setting up an LLC for your small interior design business is limited personal liability, which means your assets are protected and treated separately from the company’s assets. An LLC can benefit small businesses with its financial protection and flexibility. Check out Drafted Legal for LLC (and also our legal templates for clients).

Build and Boost Your Portfolio

If you have worked in interior design before deciding to start your own business, you may already have a portfolio. However, if you don’t have one, start building one right away. You will not need a massive portfolio at the beginning of your business. If you had the opportunity to work with an interior design firm before starting your own small business, select your best works and compile them to boost your portfolio.

Having a portfolio is essential because this is what your clients check before hiring your services. Putting your best foot forward by showing a collection of your best designs is vital for setting your interior design business up for success.

Determine the Interior Design Services You Plan To Offer

It can be very tempting to offer every interior design service you can think of. However, this may not be practical, especially since you are just establishing your business. The best strategy would be to choose the design aspect you are best at and focus on your service offerings in that area.

If you excel at designing commercial and office spaces, the best course of action would be to offer businesses interior design services. If home interior design is what you are very good at, then the recommended target market for your business is homeowners.

Now that you have identified the types of interior design you are best at, the next step would be to choose specific services. If you have connections with furniture designers, you can focus on supplying unique pieces that complement your design space. The key here is to focus on your strengths and direct all your efforts towards offering services that you excel at.

Choose Your Style

Now that you know the interior design services that you’ll focus on, the next thing to do is to choose your style. Being consistent is critical if you want to make an impression on prospective clients and customers.

Every successful interior designer has a signature style and design. This can involve your choice of design patterns or materials or your preference for a specific art style or period. Being unique is critical because this is what sets you apart from other interior design companies. Standing out in a sea of other businesses is vital for establishing your presence.

Identify what makes your interior design services unique and put all your efforts into nurturing and improving them. Recognizing your unique selling point will help you find your market and convert them into prospective clients.

Build Your Website

Every business needs an online presence. The internet has become one of the essential venues where your business should thrive to succeed in real life. Remember that your website is typically what potential clients will see first — if they have not met you personally. Your website will also be the platform where you can showcase your portfolio and most recent projects.

The first step of building your website is choosing a domain name. Ensure that your website’s domain name or URL is the same as your business name. This strategy will also help your brand awareness marketing efforts. Another thing to remember when building your website is to ensure that it runs smoothly and is always online. An inaccessible website wastes opportunities to advertise your brand and showcase your interior design works.

Set Your Design Fees

Setting your design fees is vital for establishing your interior design business. You must know how much you are planning to charge for your designs. The first fee to determine is how much you will charge for a consultation. A consultation fee for your services gives clients the incentive to hire your services. Usually, the rate for consultation fees is a fixed amount.

After setting a fixed rate for consultation, the next step is establishing your variable charges. This service fee relies on the volume of work that you will need to do to meet a client’s requirements. This is essentially the fee for your services as an interior designer. You can include charges for the furniture, materials, and labor costs when calculating the variable fees.

Last but not least, you need to come up with a design fee. This will protect you from financial losses if clients want revisions or significant changes that were not covered in the initial design.

Establish Relationships

Networking is an integral part of the success of any business, and interior design is no different. Establishing relationships with people connected to your interior design business is a good practice. If you can build connections with real estate agents, you can expect to get recommendations from them as their clients (homeowners) look for interior design services.

Building a relationship with your suppliers is also an excellent business move, as they are essential when it comes to providing interior design services to your clients. Maintaining a good working relationship with your suppliers can help you secure the materials you need, and in some cases, you can even ask for discounts.

Final Thoughts

Starting your own interior design business can be a manageable task. Once you know where to start, the process can be simplified and less daunting.

Forming an LLC benefits small business owners like you, so remember to consider that option. Websites like Drafted Legal can help you prepare as you set up your LLC. Once you have established the business structure you prefer, start working on the other crucial steps in this guide to launch your interior design business.

Wesley Henderson

Hi, I'm Wesley! A business attorney turned entrepreneur devoted to simplifying how you protect your business and your assets. Like you, I'm an business owner so I get it and I started Drafted Legal to help you put in place simple and sound legal strategies so you can focus on your business and not worry about getting lost in legal nuances.

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