How to Start an Interior Decorating/Design Business
Interior decorating and design goes way beyond homes - think restaurants, hotels, spas, art galleries, model
homes, corporate offices, even bed and breakfast inns.
Many successful decorators suggest choosing a specific market that interests you and specialize in that
Starting Your Decorating Business:
You want to build a portfolio, price your service, set up an office, pick a business name, design a logo,
order business cards and other office supplies, locate furnishing suppliers and of course - find clients.
Below is a checklist and guide of business resources that can help you get started.
Interior Decorating/Design Business Checklist:
1. Get planning! Make it easier on yourself by using a business plan template specifically for interior
decorators. You can calculate your start-up costs, operating budget, marketing strategies, financial timeline
and more. Over the years start-ups have demonstrated that you can speed up your success and increase your
profitability simply by starting your business with a plan.
2. Choose a name for your interior decorating
business and then register your business name with your county clerk. You will also need to
apply for a business license in your city, even if you work from home.
By the way, if you plan to work out of your house, check with your city for possible zoning restrictions in your neighborhood before you set up your business.
3. Open a business bank account to keep your
business income and expenses separate from your personal finances. A business bank account can also provide you
with business checks and assistance in numerous areas, such as small business loans.
4. As long as you're setting up a bank account, you might as well
arrange a way to accept credit cards from customers and get invoices or
invoicing software with which to bill them. With simple
software and templates, this can be fairly simple and cheap. Not sure how to price your design services? No
problem - there's help for that with Price Estimating for Designers.
5. Set up a simple bookkeeping system
you can do yourself without having to hire a bookkeeper. Make the most of your small business tax deductions by meeting with an accountant and ask about deductions you can take. You can
also pick up the book Deduct It! to get more information.
6. Meet with an insurance agent to discuss potential insurance needs
of your business. The IIABA (Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America) can provide you with names
of agents. You can also get compare business insurance quotes
7. Get a business phone line
for your company. This can be a toll-free 800 phone number, a multi-line phone system, VoIP or even a cell
phone. Just get a number that is designated to your business. If customers have to call your home phone or
personal cell phone, your professional image goes out the window.
8. Set up a business website. This does not have to be expensive or
difficult. Many small businesses have websites that they build themselves and pay less than $100 a year (see
the free website builder). Websites can be used to display
your portfolio of decorating projects, provide your resume of work experience, testimonial of previous
customers, company contact information and details on how clients will benefit from hiring you. Websites are a
cheap advertising tool.
How to Start an Interior Decorating Business:
Interior Design and Decorating Experts, including Interior Design TV Show Host Debbie Travis, have
compiled their years of knowledge and experience into a information-packed guide for interior decorators
who want to launch their own businesses.
- Ways to teach yourself interior decorating, tips for creating an impressive portfolio, pricing your
services, where to find suppliers and setting up an office.
- How to start with little or no money, find clients with minimal effort and do
an impressive client consultation.
- How to get up to a 50% discount on decorating materials, get free media publicity to grow your
business and sample forms and documents that you can use to manage your business.
Decorator Start-Up Guide
Marketing Your Interior Decorating or Design Business
Network with other business owners related to interior design, such as furniture stores or architects. Let them
see a portfolio of your work and offer them a referral fee for any customers they send you.
Business cards can be a great advertising tool for your business - and
they're cheap! You can design your own business cards online and save even more money.
Do a postcard mailing to introduce your interior decorating or design company to potential customers in your
area. Using low-cost online services makes this an easy marketing task.
- First, decide on a special discount offer or hold a grand opening sale.
- Second, design postcards online with professional postcard templates (Save 50%).
- Third, get targeted leads from a lead generation company.
If you have a website for your interior decorating business (it's a good idea to have one), you can save even
more money by marketing to your customers by email. No email list? No problem. Email marketing companies like
ConstantContact will help you build a customer list with their customizable website sign-up form.
They also give you email templates you can use to design professional emails. Their program delivers
emails for you, and they include real-time reporting. You can try it free for 60 days, no credit card required.
Email Newsletters that Bring Clients to You
This is a cost-effective, convenient way to keep in touch with past clients and new prospects. But how would
you like someone else to do your monthly newsletter for you?
Yes, I mean someone to do the newsletter for you: write
the articles, design the layout, include your personal company information and email it to everyone on your
list. Plus, they manage the subscriber list, adding new ones and updating as needed. Nika Stewart offers
this service, which attracts the customers to you.
Get Listed in Local Search Directories
Some people don't use the yellow pages or local newspapers or publications to find products and services in
their city - they look online, and you don't want to miss out on this source of income. Even though people shop
online, they often prefer to do business with a local vendor. Local search directories allow you to reach your local
target market without paying a lot of money.