10 Questions to Ask Your Interior Designer Before Hiring Them

Design | March 30, 2020
In Home Office Space Designed by Jennifer Scully

A designer is a helpful tool to help you plan and decorate your space.

A designer can also save you a ton of money if you hire the right person.

See below the Top 10 Questions You Should Ask to Avert Disaster.

Prospective clients looking to hire me ask me many questions during the interview process but there are some key questions that are almost never asked. Here are some tips from my end so you can save yourself some time, money and aggravation.

First let me start with a scenario that I have experienced a few times:

Client: Hello? Is this Jennifer Scully Designs?
Me: Yes. How can I help you?
Client: I want to do some construction and decorate my living room. How much will that cost?
Me: Well, I would have to see your space and get a lot more information before I can help you with a budget.
Client: How much do you charge for something like that?
Me: Gosh, I’m sorry but I don’t know the scope of the project just yet.
Client: I need to know if I can afford a designer and you can’t tell me how much you charge for some construction and a living room? Where did you go to school?
Me: I’m so sorry but if you can let me know a bit more about your project then I would be more than happy to help you in any way I can. I am very efficient, affordable, friendly, professional and you can get my discount…
Client:…If you can’t tell me how much then, Thank you very much. Goodbye.

“Buying” a designer is not like buying a toaster that you can shop out on Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart’s websites. When you are dealing with a creative person, you truly do get what you pay for.

You cannot expect the same product, level of quality, service or talent from designer to designer. Talent is the key here. A designer is an artist, a therapist, a space planner, an architect, a solutions and logistics expert, a marriage counselor, a color and fabric expert and so much more.

Designers also work in all different ways. Some designers sign long-term contracts, some charge commissions on items, even if you buy them yourself. Some charge full retail and some offer you their discount. So, the price per hour or price per job really can be quite irrelevant.

Here are the REAL questions you should ask:
1. What is your hourly rate?
2. Do you charge commission if I purchase something myself?
3. Do you sign contracts and if so, what is the term/length?
4. Do you offer discounts on items purchased directly through manufacturers?
5. Do I have to purchase everything through you or do you also recommend items from other resources?
6. Can I work with my own contractor or do I have to use yours?
7. Can I purchase things on my own?
8. Do I have input into the design process?
9. Do you offer choices or just one firm design plan?

An interior designer will be in your home, will pet your dog, will be meeting with you and shopping with you for a while. Would you want to spend the day shopping with someone you don’t like? Would you invite someone over several times if you aren’t comfortable with them?

Go with your gut. Ask the right questions. Any other questions for me, please feel free to ask.


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