For several years now there has been a tug-of-war going on between designers and clients over fees.Â Many interior designers have been trying to get clients to accept their hourly billing and mark-up structure without considering what the client valuesâ€¦ a result. And clients, confused by it all, have been pushing back.
Why is this happening? According to our past fee survey results, less than 10% of all designers bill by fees related to the clientâ€™s perceived value of the services. Most designers told us that they charged an hourly rate, and that rate was all over the map. Yet, an ASID survey a few years ago showed that approximately 70% of consumers wanted a fixed fee. Thatâ€™s a big disconnect.
I struggled with this when I was doing work with residential clients. It was so much easier to compute a fee for a builder or commercial project because the process was more straightforward. Itâ€™s different going one-on-one with a residential client, especially if itâ€™s their first time working with a designer.
One of the biggest concerns I had was how to manage the client and keep them within the scope of work and budget.Â How to handle that indecisive client?Â What about the one that says, â€œWhile youâ€™re at itâ€¦â€ In that kind of situation, a fixed fee arrangement just wonâ€™t work.Â So, do you fall back on an hourly rate, or do you have to negotiate some other mixed-fee structure that is satisfactory to both you and the client?
What are your biggest concerns about fees, and how do you think the economy and/or consumer attitudes are affecting your decision about fees?Â Whatâ€™s your approach to educating clients about your fees?Â This is an issue of interest to all designers.Â Weâ€™d love to hear your views and experiences. Post your comments in our LinkedIn group.
And if youâ€™re interested in discovering the truth about setting profitable fees and confidently charging what you are worth, download your Interior Design Checklist: Avoid Fee Mistakes Now.