Outsourced Services

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By By Gail Doby, ASID
Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

Having a team to support you and allow you to focus on what you do best is essential to your business’ success.  Yet, more than half (53%) of the designers who responded to our 2014 Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey have no employees, and a third (34%) use no outsourced services of any kind.  This is surprising, given the many tasks one has to perform to operate even a small interior design firm and the wide availability of talent and services.

Among the designers who do use outsourced services, about a third (31%) used one or two last year.  Nearly a fourth (22%) used four or more.  The most commonly outsourced services were business-related, led by accounting (52%), bookkeeping (31%), web design (39%) or search engine optimization (17%), and graphic design (21%). Of those who outsourced design-related services, window treatment specialist (25%) and architecture (19%) were most often used, followed by lighting designer (11%), kitchen and bath designer (10%) and interior designer or decorator (8%).

When we asked designers what outside business professionals they used, nearly three-fourths (72%) said a CPA and half (49%) a bookkeeper. About one in four (41%) used an attorney, and 14% worked with a financial planner.

Outsourcing is not a complete time-saver.  It requires planning and management, and it involves some tradeoff between getting done what you cannot do or don’t have time to do yourself and having to monitor an outside freelancer, contractor, consultant or professional.  By asking around for referrals and through a bit of trial and error, you can put together a great team without having to hire a lot of staff and have more control over your overhead.  Th



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