3 Reasons Why You Should Charge for Initial Interior Design Consultations & Highlight Your Expertise

Interior Design Podcast, Interior Design Career, Interior Design School, Interior Design Business, Interior Design Mentor, Interior Designer, Initial Interior Design Consultation

Are you wondering whether you should charge for your initial design consultation or not?

Are you tired of giving away your time and knowledge for free during consultations?

In this week’s episode, I have the solution to help you monetize your consultations and showcase your professionalism. How? With paid consultation fees!

I discuss how to charge for consultations so you can demonstrate your expertise and value as an interior designer. As a result, you will increase your income and attract higher-paying clients who value your skills and abilities.

Since charging for initial consultations is controversial in the interior design industry, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. And if you disagree with me and you have some great points, you’d like to bring up, reach out to me and let me know what you think. So we can talk there because I love hearing all sides of this story.

Why you’ve got to check out today’s episode
  • Examine the controversy surrounding charging for initial consultations in the interior design community
  • Identify the 3 reasons why you should charge for your initial consultation
  • Discover ways to deliver more value to your interior design clients
    Check out these episode highlights

    01:58 – What happens during the initial consultation and the controversy surrounding charging for it in the interior design community

    03:45 – 3 reasons why you should charge for your initial design consultation

    1. You’re a busy person, and your time is valuable. Taking a few hours to visit a job site prohibits you from making any profit through other clients throughout the day.
    2. Your client will start to perceive your value. When you get something for free, you value it less than paying for it. “People who pay, pay attention.” And so, if you want your client to pay attention to the value and expertise you’re bringing, charge them a fee for your time.
    3. You can speak as freely as you like and give out as many ideas as you want. Because if you weren’t charging, you’d say, “I have a few ideas for this, but we can talk about that once we get into the contract.” There’s hesitance to go all in and start the design work.

    05:19 – What is a “project starter consultation” and how much you should charge for them

    2 things to consider when pricing for your project starter consultation or initial design consultation

    1. Travel time to and from the site
    2. The rate of an associate designer who is coming with you

    Why you should charge appropriately for project starter consultations or initial design consultations

    1. It prevents you from feeling resentful spending time with the client.
    2. It makes the consultation worthwhile for both the client and the interior designer because of the exchange in value.

    07:07 – The benefits of providing questionnaires and free discovery calls first before doing project starter consultations

    1. Understand if you and the client are a good fit by investing 15 to 20 minutes of your time on a phone call with them.
    2. Achieve a 95% moving-forward rate on your project starter consultations because you’ve screened them twice

    5 things you should ask during the discovery/intake calls

    1. Project scope parameters
    2. Client’s budget
    3. Design fees
    4. Questions to help you get to know the client
    5. Question to help you see if they’re a good fit for your firm

    09:17 – 2 ways to deliver more value to your interior design clients (these give you a lot of touch points before getting on-site with them)

    1. Lead magnets
    2. Additional downloads as a follow-up to your discovery call

    11:21 – The bonuses you can receive by offering initial consultations for a fee

    1. Make money every week by providing consultation services.
    2. The value of your knowledge and expertise justifies the fee you charge.

    The 4-step process for increasing your moving-forward rate after your Project Starter Consultation or Initial Design COnsultation

    1. Send potential clients a Questionnaire. This questionnaire should ask questions about their project, budget, and expectations. The information you gather from this questionnaire will help you prepare for the discovery call and better understand the client’s needs.
    2. Conduct a Discovery Call. Discuss the information from the questionnaire in more detail. You will also ask the client additional questions to understand their project and goals better. The discovery call aims to build rapport with the client and learn as much as possible about their needs.
    3. Send an In-depth Document. Indicate what the Project Start Consultations include and what they can expect to get out of that.
    4. Get the client’s Approval for Project Start Consultation.
      Next Steps

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      Thanks for listening. I hope this helps you discover if interior design is the career for you. See you next week…