Interior designers take care of budget, planning, design, and execution of a project. And, for this, they bill you for their consultation as well. Make sure your budget includes the services of an interior designer. Most designers have a website, and offer free quote as well. Use the list prepared earlier and request quote from multiple designers. This will give you a fair idea about their responsiveness, budgeting, and interpersonal skills. Some go a step further, and share expert opinion on your requirements along with the quote. Evaluate each designer, their past work, client referrals, responsiveness to your query, and budgeting concerns to shortlist the designers. Last, but not the least, sit one-on-one with the designer before making the final choice. This is to determine, how receptive he/she is to your requirements, how effective are they in convincing you over the design constrains, their out-of-the box thinking, etc.
KNOW WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR
It is now time to discuss payment terms and conditions. Some charge by the hour, some as flat fee per project, some charge as per each item on the list. Most of them request an upfront fee which could range from 10% – 25% of the entire project. Work out the math with your budgetary constraints, negotiate if needed. Fall back on your friends and associates who have hired the services of an interior designer to get an idea about cost of hiring one.
Be sure to discuss the sourcing of resources for your design project. It is assumed that the interior designer takes care of sub contractors, materials and purchases, labor wages etc. However, it is a good practice to discuss this, rather than simply assuming. Be sure to request the services they offer/do not offer in writing. This is to ensure that you are not taken by surprise over any unexpected surge in billing. This would also be a good time to ask, how the designer deals with last minute changes on the requirements. Minor enhancements would be okay, but major changes are unlikely to be included in the original quote. Which is also the reason most designers share a sketch / plans involved with the design project. Just ask, if the designer does not mention these documents.
To Seal the Deal, sign up an agreement/contract with the designer which explicitly details all the work that needs to be done. This is a documented evidence of the design requirement placed by you, and the designer’s commitment to perform them for you over the mutually agreed time and cost. This document is to protect the interest of both parties.
In a nut-shell
Consult friends, family, acquaintances that have used an interior designer’s services.
Use Google and collect information available on the public domain.
Prepare detailed document on the changes you want implemented on this design project.
Share this document and obtain quote from multiple designers.
Request to see samples of past work.
Talk to past clients to get direct feedback on the work & performance.
Discuss budget, planning and execution.
Agree on the changes and service fee for the designer.
Draft up an agreement/contract to include the requirements, services expected, payment agreed upon, and payment schedule.
Both parties sign the contract, and design project is set in motion.
These tips might appear to be terribly time consuming in your already packed schedule. But nevertheless, it is necessary to avoid getting yourself burnt out, had you been doing the project by yourself, on a physical and monetary level. All said and done, it requires careful research and planning before you decide to hand over your interior design project over to someone else. Because, once you do, you would want to sit back and see your ideas take shape, rather than worry about a nail here and a tear there.