Staying Competitive in the Interior Design Industry
In the HGTV reality show “Income Property,” real estate investors and general contractors assist homeowners in the renovation of their homes, turning them into income properties. At the end of the show is the big reveal showcasing the improvements made by Scott and his team. Creating an open concept, using the right furniture, and utilizing inexpensive but elegant materials are some of the highlights of the reveal. In general, Scott is assisted by other service providers, including an interior designer (ID).
What is it like in real life if you’re an interior designer working for one of the top interior design firms in Salt Lake City? In the TV shows, a project starts at the beginning of the program and ends after two commercials and 40 minutes.
You don’t want to get ahead of the competition. You also want to nurture your relationship with your clients and make them understand the importance of the design process. Because today it’s a small children’s room as the project. Tomorrow, it might be an entire kitchen remodeling.
Let’s explore a few ideas.
Understanding Trends and Getting Ahead
You’ve been out of college for two years now. The last thing you want to do is study again. But the industry is changing very fast, and you need to review at least what’s happening.
First, competition is growing. According to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the number of IDs increased by 12% after the economic crisis of 2008. The US Department of Labor’s statistics bureau estimates that there are more than 57,000 IDs as of May 2018. The estimated number today might be closer to 70,000, if not more.
Second, JMG Marketing Group identifies that the availability of online solutions, like Havenly and Wayfair, are possibly eating up on the IDs client base.
Third, according to JMG Marketing Group, HGTV’s influence to take the DIY path in solving design problems is also growing.
Lastly, make sure that you do not underutilize your website. JMG says that you cannot undermine your website as a good source of A-Class clients. If you have the budget, consider hiring a digital marketing firm that offers SEO as well as website re-design services.
Involving the Client in the Design Process
“Involving” means being on the same page as you. You’re the ID, and you know what the process looks like. Your client might not. Get them involved from the get-go. Explain what you mean that an interior design project may take anywhere from six months to 12 months.
Hampton Redesign shows that a big project like a complete kitchen remodeling will require up to 24 weeks of work from planning to installation to the final design. Walk them through to the entire process so that there are no misunderstandings along the way. Emphasize that even with careful planning, not everything can be anticipated. This can affect the delivery timeline.
Impress with 3D
You need to get your clients engaged. To do that, you need to get them excited. One way of doing this is to take advantage of design tools. Wow them with visuals using 3D design software. This design tool also makes working on projects easier and faster. Depending on your computing platform, Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design, TurboFloor Plan Home & Landscape Deluxe, and Home Designer Interiors are some of the tools available in the market today. Sketchup is also a popular choice.
Overall, understanding trends, working closely with your client, and taking advantage of existing tools are your keys to staying successful in a highly competitive market.