It’s funny how most interior design aspirations start with something purple. It might have been a cushion, a candle, or a bedspread. Or it may have been a painted bedroom wall that looked somehow more personalised and intentional because it was painted purple. Whatever it was, the lilac hues that caught your eye stood out as being quite apart from the surrounding pastels and magnolias, and that alone is all it takes to plant the seed of a career.
Of course, your interior design journey may have begun with a less obvious catalyst than a single moment of purple inspiration. No matter the route that brought you to interior design, getting paid for your efforts is a hurdle you may not have seen coming. It’s a common problem among startups and freelancers. That of the elusive client when it comes to settling their bill. But what can we do?
Your Interior Design Payday
A Professional Invoice
If you want to get paid, you need a professional invoicing system (check out this simple invoice maker from freshbooks.com). Part of the issue with elusive clients is they don’t think they’re giving you the run-around. Whereas you may believe that your string of 14 client emails detailing updates to your work is concrete evidence of a price tag, the client is more or less free to interpret the numbers as undecided.
You may not be without blame. Where you wish to appear flexible, you could inadvertently set a precedent of movable completion dates and unclear rates of discount depending on suppliers. Naturally, you will understand your criss-cross emails noting the amendments to pricing and dates, but your client has a life of their own to get on with and likely won’t follow the long and winding tale of how much must be paid and when.
A professional invoice is the logical next step. Collect and present the details of the transaction in one easy to navigate statement. From dates and a breakdown of services to agreed fees and payment methods, you can create clarity in a way that cuts out the email chain.
Tone is Everything
It’s the classic scenario of not understanding the question in French class, only to attempt a mumbled answer and be told to speak up. Fidgeting with our speech creates the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing, and that’s not professional. Cut out every use of, “I mean”, “Sorry, can I just ask…”, and “Um”. You never want to look like you are incapable of dealing in straight facts, especially in the world of interior design where haggling with suppliers for the best price is part of keeping your clients happy.
Nobody is going to select you for further work if you needed assurance or lacked direction. That’s not to say you should approach every business scenario with your ears closed to suggestions, but it might be an idea to know your mind (and to speak clearly) if you want your client to take you and your work seriously – presenting yourself as being respectable is a surefire way of nudging clients to pay on time.
Your Interior Design Payday is a feature post