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Benefits of Hiring an Interior Designer
Many benefits exist in hiring professional interior designers to remodel or decorate your home or office. These include the following:
1. Professional interior designers receive their training and education at a four-year college or university. Their coursework introduces them to the various facets of design, ranging from construction techniques to color theory to décor styles.
2. Professional interior designers have experience doing the work you hire them to do. Unlike those in the construction trades, they have no journeyman or internship period. Instead, in order to build experience and their portfolio, interior designers do projects for free, also called pro bono work, for the first six months to a year of their career.
3. A professional interior designer is a licensed contractor, a requirement by most states. If they need to subcontract, they typically only do so to other licensed professionals. This preserves the quality of work you obtain.
4. Professional interior designers purchase their own insurance. Their liability policy covers the workers’ liability and their activity on your property while the worker’s compensation policy pays their employee’s medical bills and time off from work if that individual becomes injured on the job or develops a job-related illness.
5. A professional interior designer handles the project management aspects as well as the day-to-day work on the project. You tell them your favorite colors and styles and they do the legwork, finding options, so you merely need to say yes or no to each possibility. They create the ideal interior for you and you save yourself time and effort.
6. An interior designer can make your budget go further. They get trade pricing on the items they buy, so the tile, rugs, sofa, pillows – all of it – costs you less to purchase. They also offer knowledgeable advice on how to make the budget go further, such as spending more on a couch that will be the focal point of the room, but less on end tables and lamps. Those types of budget hacks make your money go further.
Questions to ask Interior Designers before hiring them.
Before hiring anyone, you need to interview them. The questions to ask when redecorating or decorating your home are similar to those to ask when hiring a tradesperson to re-plumb your home or construct an addition.
1. Are you and your employees members of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)?
2. What is your interior design experience? How many projects do you take per year?
3. Do you have any specialty areas such as commercial interiors or historical restoration?
4. What references can you provide for projects like this one from this year? (Please, provide at least three.)
5. What permanent positions do you hire on your construction crew?
6. What positions will you need to sub-contract?
7. What say do I, the customer, get in the choice of subcontractors you hire?
8. Do you pay the subcontractors or do I?
9. What percentage of your projects finish on time?
10. What percentage of your projects finish under or at budget?
11. Do you charge an hourly rate or a flat project fee?
12. Do you accept consulting only jobs?
13. Do you purchase materials directly?
14. Do you require a retainer? If so, what is the price of the retainer?
15. What vendors do you use? Do you have a standing agreement with any vendors?
16. What insurance do you carry? Please, provide a copy of your insurance policy.
17. How long does it typically take you to redecorate a [insert number of square feet] interior?
18. What is your Better Business Bureau rating?
19. Are you a member of the local Chamber of Commerce?
20. Where did you receive your education?
21. What is your license number and how long have you been licensed?
22. Which of your personnel are also licensed?
23. Can I get a written estimate that shows material costs and labor costs separately?
24. Please provide a timeline for the work with a starting date of [starting date you provide].
25. Do you run background checks on your employees and subcontractors?
What to Expect When an Interior Designer Comes to Your House
What to expect depends upon the work you contracted. Some interior designers consult with you and provide ideas. These consultations cost far less than having the designer complete all the work for you. If you hire for a consultation, you typically show the designer around your home, discuss your design goals and desires, show them photos of what you like, and you look at design suggestions from the interior designer. The designer may provide a list of suggestions or just discuss ideas.
You may also hire an interior designer to complete the re-design or décor job. In this case, they will consult with you on what you want and take it from there. They may or may not purchase materials and furniture. You will determine this in the initial meeting. Many interior designers charge a retainer. This can vary in cost, as can their service. The cost to hire for this type of service ranges from $500 to $25,000 depending on the size of the job and the experience of the designer.
Aside from going through catalogs with you and showing you options, you won’t do much actual decorating at the first meeting or two. Once you have determined what you want, you order it or your interior designer does.
If you chose to add any built-ins or to do construction as a part of the décor, the interior designer will help you hire contractors to have the work done while you wait for the décor items to arrive. This efficiently accomplishes the built-ins work or remodeling while you await the new furniture.
When the items arrive, your designer visits again and place the items. They also arrange the accessories. The entire process takes a few weeks, especially if your décor requires construction.
What type of training do interior designers get?
As briefly mentioned above, licensed, professional interior designers go through years of schooling either earning an associate or bachelor’s degree. This education requires two to four years. Some designers who specialize in areas like historical restoration earn a Primary’s degree. This requires an additional two to three years of school. The final step of their education is licensure. Each state handles licensing for its interior designers. Locally, your interior designer may have to obtain a business license or this may be required at the state level. Check with your state government office of certification and licensing.