Outsourcing vs. Employees – How to Manage Your Interior Design Business With Less Overhead

I am a huge fan of outsourcing, and in fact, I’ve been using outsourcing since 1998.

The first work that I outsourced in my interior design business was data entry in 1998. I had decided to use Design Manager as my accounting software, and to prepare for that, I hired someone to create my database of resources and clients. I don’t remember how much I paid at the time, but it seemed like a lot of money, but I knew that I did not need to be doing that work. I needed to be spending my time bringing in clients and doing the actual design work.

After we set up our software, I outsourced bookkeeping to a local specialist that supported interior designers. She came in once a month and posted journal entries, created my sales tax reports, and reconciled my checking account.

We also outsourced marketing activities and PR in the early years of our business.

Today, there are many tasks that you can outsource and you should. Why? Because any task you can pay someone else to do that costs you less than your hourly rate will preserve your time and save you money. If you can pay someone $15 – $100 per hour, and you can in turn bill out at $150 – $200 per hour, you’ve saved those hours of time, and you’ve actually made a profit.

Here are tasks/functions you can outsource, and outsourcers you can utilize immediately:

1. Personal assistant – scheduling, errands, phone calls, research, etc.

2. Bookkeeping – all of the tasks I mentioned above plus expediting of orders. Studio Webware is my preferred accounting software now, and they have several seasoned professionals that can login and assist you even if the specialist is in Denver and you are in NYC.

3. Social media – this marketing can be extremely time consuming, so hiring someone to do this for you is a good idea.

4. Webmaster – this is definitely something that requires a professional, so look for someone that has experience working in our industry. Ask your peers for referrals.

5. Copywriting – this is the text that is used for your website and marketing materials – unless you’ve been trained as a copywriter, this should be outsourced because these professionals know how to get people to take action and contact you for your services.

6. Courier service – unless you are on your way to the location for some other billable purpose, you should use a courier service. It is a huge time saver and very inexpensive in comparison to your time.

7. Writer – you can outsource the writing of your blog by creating an editorial calendar with topics and bullet points. You can find a writer for less than $100 per hour or article in some cases.

If you don’t like to do the task, don’t do it well, don’t know how to do it, or it doesn’t make money for you, then outsource.

Be sure to join our private DSU LinkedIn group to share other ideas and ask your peers for outsourcers they use.


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Gail Doby

Gail, with her team at Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting, has helped more than 10,000 designers in 76 countries. Many of them have achieved amazing results... doubling, tripling (and more) their revenue and profit... with clarity and confidence. Gail and her team build one-of-a-kind experiences, walking beside Interior Designers to help them create and implement their plans.
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  1. Ayushi Ahuja on December 15, 2016 at 5:53 am

    I think with the increasing use of social media especially Facebook and twitter you just need to have a personal assistant and a creative writer for the posts. There is already a lot of demand of Interior designer nowadays.

  2. Maxine on March 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    This is an imporatant topic many business owners yet interior designer have to be more aware of this.

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