If you have a talent for making a space useful and beautiful, then you might just want to know how to start an interior decorating business. The good news here is that this type of opportunity doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to get started. It can even be done this afternoon if you wish. The first step you’ll need to take is to register your new interior decorating business with your local government. You may need to have a business license, an identification number, and the authorization to collect sales tax. Each license may require a fee.
Then you’ll be ready to follow these additional steps to being making your new business a profitable venture.
1. Determine if you need special licensing.
Some jurisdictions may require an interior designer to have proven expertise within their field to be able to conduct business. This may be in the form of a degree from an accredited college or university or a certification in interior design that is provided by a state-sponsored program. If required, the degree or licensing will need to be presented before requesting the business license.
2. Seek out an affordable insurance policy.
Every business needs to have some form of insurance that protects it. As an interior decorator, the main insurance policy needed will be a general liability policy. This will protect your business against any damage you might cause to someone’s property through error or negligence. Specific causes of damage, such as fire or flood, may require additional riders. Speak with your agent about what policies are right for you.
3. Locate suppliers.
In a pinch, you could create an interior design by purchasing items at retail, but that won’t help you make profits. You’ll need to begin forming relationships with suppliers who can provide you wholesale prices on needed interior items. You can then place an upcharge on those items to sell them for a profit while also charging hourly rates for your services. Your customers can still get retail or better prices, the suppliers make money, and you make money. It’s a win/win/win type of situation.
4. Identify the niche that you are passionate about.
In the beginning days of an interior design business, it is important to focus on one niche of design instead of trying to take on all components of the industry. Niche designers are able to market themselves more effectively to their customer segments. Select something that makes sense for your community. If you live in the US Pacific Northwest, choosing desert landscape themes might not be so profitable.
5. Meet with the competition.
There are two reasons to take this step: to differentiate your services from theirs and to make sure your pricing is competitive with the local industry. You might be able to get a few customers by undercutting the competition, but that will only last until someone cuts their prices to beat your own. It is better to have competitive prices so that everyone has a fair shot at profits instead of initiating a race to the bottom.
6. Put your portfolio online.
If you’ve helped others with their interior decorating needs in the past, then put pictures of your work online as a sort of C/V for potential customers to evaluate. If not, then consider investing in a new interior design in your own home and take a few pictures of that work to show people what you can do. Having your portfolio online also lets you be able to book appointments over the internet, market for free using local SEO techniques, and ultimately build a solid clientele base.
7. Keep up with your invoicing.
One of the biggest struggles of being in business for yourself is keeping up with the administrative tasks. That means you’ll need to make sure your bills are sent out in a timely manner every month, follow-up on non-payment immediately, and locate a good collections service for those customers who don’t pay their full bill. How you structure your billing can also impact your profitability. Consider a 50/50 system where the customer pays half now and then half on delivery for best results.
Knowing how to start an interior decorating company could be your ticket to financial freedom. You’ll choose your own clients, work your own hours, and get to be your own boss. If those are attractive thoughts, then consider starting this type of business venture today.