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How To Start an Interior Design Business

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If you’re an entrepreneur with a love for interior design, starting your own interior design business may be the perfect way to turn your passion into a career. But before you can open your doors for business, there are a few things you’ll need to do to get started. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to launching your own successful interior design business.

Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own interior design business.

 

10 Steps to Launching a New Interior Design Business

1. Choose Your Type of Interior Design Business

The first step in launching an interior design business is to identify the type of interior design business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:

Residential design: This type of interior design business focuses on creating beautiful and functional living spaces for private residences.

Commercial design: Businesses such as restaurants, office buildings, and retail stores often hire commercial interior designers to create functional and visually appealing spaces.

Sustainable design: Sustainable interior designers create healthy, eco-friendly spaces using sustainable materials and practices.

 

2. Name Your Interior Design Business

Give your interior design business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your interior design business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.

The main goal for naming your interior design business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential clients will feel comfortable working with you.

 

3. Determine Your Interior Design Business Model

There are several possible types of business models for an interior design business including:

  1. Full-service: You offer a complete range of design services from initial consultation to project completion.
  2. Design firm: You work with a team of designers and support staff to take on larger projects.
  3. Virtual design: You provide design services remotely using technology such as video conferencing and 3D renderings.
  4. Retail: You sell design products such as furniture, lighting, and home decor in your own store or through a third-party retailer. 

No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.

Read more about choosing the right business model for your interior design business.

 

4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business

By incorporating your interior design business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.

The business structure you choose for your interior design business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.

Read our article comparing the most common interior design business structures.

 

5. Write an Interior Design Business Plan

All interior design business owners should develop a business plan. 

A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.

Read our article about how to write an interior design business plan.

 

6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses

There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your interior design business.

For example, you may need to get a business license from your city or county. And if you’re going to sell products, you will need to obtain a sales tax permit.

You must also register your interior design business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.

Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.

Read our article about obtaining the proper interior design business licenses.

 

7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed

In developing your interior design business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.

If you have your own funds to invest in your interior design business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your interior design business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.

Read our article about the costs associated with starting an interior design business to help you determine if funding is needed. 

 

8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently

When you start your interior design business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues. 

You may also want to invest in project management software, which can help you keep track of deadlines, invoicing, and client communications. 3D rendering software is also becoming increasingly popular among interior designers as it allows them to create realistic images of their designs.

Read our article about the technology and software you need to run an interior design business.

 

9. Market Your Interior design Business to Potential Clients

Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.

After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the interior design industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business. 

You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Interior design businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared: 

  • Develop a portfolio of your work to showcase your talent and highlight the variety of your design skills
  • Get involved with local charities or non-profit organizations to get your name out in the community
  • Participate in trade shows and events related to the interior design industry
  • Partner with local furniture stores, home improvement stores or other businesses related to your industry

Read our article about how to market your interior design business for more tips.

 

10. Get New Clients & Grow Your Business

When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential clients

Make sure you’re ready to serve these clients. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your interior design business.

Read our article about how to effectively grow your interior design business to learn more.

 

Starting an Interior Design Business FAQs

An interior design business offers a creative and challenging career path for those with a passion for design. And as the baby boomer population continues to age, the demand for interior design services is expected to grow.

Some of the pros of starting an interior design business include being your own boss, the ability to be creative, and the satisfaction of helping people improve their homes.

If you want to start an interior design business from home, you need to have a dedicated space for your business. This space should be used only for business purposes, and it should be separate from the rest of your home so you can focus on work.

You also need to have the right technology in place, including a computer with design software, a printer, and a high-speed internet connection. And you need to have a website and social media accounts to promote your business.

Starting an interior design business online is similar to starting any other type of online business. You need to have the right technology in place, including design software and a high-speed internet connection.

You’ll also need  well-designed website and social media accounts to promote your services. Your website should include features that allow clients to book and pay online.

Here are some tips for starting an interior design business:

  • Find your niche: Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Find a niche and focus on that.
  • Build a portfolio: Showcase your talent and highlight the variety of your design skills.
  • Get involved with local charities or non-profits: Get your name out in the community.
  • Participate in industry trade shows and events: Meet potential clients and learn about the latest trends.
  • Partner with local retailers: Establishing relationships with furniture stores, home improvement stores, or other businesses related to your industry can boost exposure for your business.

A simple checklist to use when starting an interior design business is as follows:

  1. Choose Your Type of Interior Design Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
  2. Name Your Interior Design Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
  3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
  4. Determine Your Interior Design Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
  5. Write an Interior Design Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
  6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
  7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
  8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
  9. Market Your Interior Design Business to Potential Clients: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need. 
  10. Get Clients & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services

 

Summary

Starting an interior design business can be a lucrative and rewarding endeavor. However, there are many things to consider before launching your business. By following the tips in this article, you will be well on your way to starting and running a successful interior design business.