June 14, 2016

Budget With/Without an Interior Designer

People often have the impression that hiring an interior designer is an expensive and indulgent activity. And it can be, but it's probably not as expensive as you think, and invaluable if you haven't got a lot of spare time.

First, let's tackle the expense

Our fee structure is very simple. £2500 per room if you have a big project and want just Kia's design input, and £1500 per room if you'd like Kia aided by her studio. There is a minimum of 3 rooms per project. On top of that we charge a 20% buying fee, but this usually doesn't really cost the client anything, as we negotiate hard with suppliers for trade discounts and then pass them on. Most of these discounts work out between 15-30% off, with an average of 20%, so once you've paid our buying fee it comes to the same as if you had walked into the shop. These discounts aren't available to the general public, and even if you are going to 'do it alone' and set up a company to do up your flat or house, several traders will have high minimum spends (which we can  accumulate over the year on many projects) or only deal with proven businesses.


We realise that by improving your home, it well need to not only be beautiful and work perfectly for you, but you will need to see added value, and so sadly we turn away several potential clients if we feel the amount they would pay us in fees could compromise the amount they would spend on the whole project. Typically our fees fall between 3-7% of the overall budget. Here is an example of a build where the design fees were at the top end of what we would normally recommend spending.


We thought it was worth while, as over 2 years the properties in that street went up an average of 21% and this property went up 63%.

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The second thing to consider: time

If you work from home and can be in at all hours of the day, then you are probably alright, but most of us can't. A recent 4 bedroom flat that we completely renovated had over 800 items ordered. Delivery companies will delivery between 6am and 10pm, and this project had things being delivered over 5 months. We always compile all your deliveries in a secure warehouse and deliver them onto site in one go, which has a small storage cost, outweighed by the fact you aren't paying for each separate delivery person to carry items to the top floor.

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It also means you haven't got 1/2 your property filled with stuff months before it can be used. If you wanted to organise this yourself, you could, but you would have to spend huge swathes of time giving the warehouse co-ordinated spreadsheets so they can place, store and monitor each item correctly as it comes in, and check that the company has delivered the right thing. You will also have to carefully record, store and keep every single receipt (and they frequently number 500+ per project) for VAT records, proof of purchase and customer ownership. Not to mention that doesn't include the time searching for the items in the first place, customising them if need be and placing the order.

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