5 Questions You Should Ask an Interior Designer
Before hiring any home remodeling professional, there is always that dreaded interview. Not only is this the perfect time to see if you mesh well together, but it’s the only time before you actually hire the pro to see how they work, what they specialize in, how they run their payment structure, and so much more.
When it comes to interior designers, there are plenty of questions you need answers to before signing a design agreement. As such, we have come up with five questions you need to ask all interior designers.
1. Do you have an hourly or room rate?
Designers almost always charge their clients by the room or by the hour. As you might expect, room structures are more concrete, since you as the homeowner will know exactly how much the overall project will cost. Some designers charge up to $200/hour, and as you can imagine, those bills can add up very quickly.
The overall price will largely depend on the scope of work, but according to our interior design cost estimator, the average price to hire an interior designer is $3,816.
2. When are my fees due?
As mentioned earlier, all homeowners should sign a design agreement or letter of agreement with an interior designer. One of the main reasons why is to schedule the exact dates that fees are due. Some designers charge half up front and half once the project is completed. Others like to set up a payment schedule. Also, know that it is typical for you to pay a down payment on the design fee to retain the services of your designer.
Either way, make sure you know exactly when each dollar is due to ensure there is no project delay.
3. Do you offer designer discount fees?
Designers have established relationships with manufacturers, retailers, and other designers. As a result, they often get discounts when they purchase products directly. Before you go jumping for joy, know that they will in turn mark up the products to you.
For example, many designers have a standard mark up rate of 40 percent over their cost. Therefore, a sofa from a local trade vendor that sells for $1,000 retail could cost the designer $500 and could cost you, the client, $700. You are still saving money even with the 40 percent mark up. If your interior designer does offer discount fees, you wouldn’t be expected to pay a designer fee.
4. Can you show me examples of similar work with my preferred style, room, and budget?
If you’re having your first baby, it’s a safe bet you’d feel more comfortable if your doctor had some experience in the delivery room. The same goes for interior designers.
Make sure your interviewee has experience working with the room, styles, and budgets that are required for your interior design project. Ask for pictures. Ask for stories. Ask for obstacles. Get any information you need to feel more comfortable with your big interior design project.
5. Can you provide a list of references?
If you were interviewing for a job, the company would always ask for a list of references. Just as a potential employer would do, call their references. Talk to their employees. Talk to their past clients. Talk to their current clients. Ask what they are like on the job, ask how they handle pressure or a tight deadline, and ask how they deal with contractors.
All of these questions—and more—will help determine if this interior designer is right for you.
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