Why Aren’t Designer’s Billing More?
By Gail Doby, ASID
Chief Vision Officer & Co-Founder, DSU & Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Designers are working a lot of hours, and so are their staff. Yet, they’re working a lot of hours for free! That’s the finding from our 2014 Interior Design Fee and Salary Survey.
The majority (53%) of the designers who responded to our survey are working between 40 and 50 hours a week, and another 20 percent work between 60 and 70 hours – some even more. About half have one or more employees, and of those, nearly two-thirds have another interior designer on staff, either full or part-time.
We all know designers only get paid when they bill their clients. Nonetheless, more than two-thirds of the respondents to our survey say half or less of their time is spent on billable client work. Moreover, for many, their staff are spending less than half their time on billable client work.
It’s understandable that sole practitioners need to divide their time between doing client work and attending to the other parts of their business, such as marketing and operations. Principals in larger firms may be doing more business development and client management than hands-on client work. But even accounting for those responsibilities, the discrepancy between hours worked and hours billed is alarming.
If you’re one of these designers, I urge you to review your business processes and billing methods. Chances are you are absorbing costs you should be passing on to your clients. Yes, your are in a service business, but don’t neglect your business in your efforts to impress your clients with your service.