Starting Your Career as an Interior Designer: The Business of Interior Design
I was, for a few months, a sole proprietor working alone out of my apartment in Philadelphia. I did it all. Sales, project management and follow-up. I couldn’t wait until I had the income to hire staff. It all came to pass, I rented a space and began to hire employees. Oh, that was another kettle of fish. Still someone had to take care of all the details of operating a business. I found the creation of purchase orders and the follow up to be the hardest part of the job. Just getting a quote for clients could take all day. I finally decided to assign a single employee the responsibility of that particular part of our business. Since early 2000 Robert and I have, again, operated as a two man firm. We do it all in house and I still find the follow up tedious. Alone we may be but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are firms out there that specialize in supplying an alternative to in-house staffing. As a matter of fact, it is sometimes more cost effective to outsource the staffing than to hire and maintain staff on your premises. One such firm, Gibson Design Management, www.gibsondesignmanagement.com offers quotes, pricing and purchase order placement and follow-up to members who join their collective. For some firms this might not be the best choice but I believe for sole proprietors and small firms this approach could mean a more efficient use of the principals time and a savings to the firm. By outsourcing and sharing the complex task of purchasing and follow-up through delivery you, the designer, now have the time to get out there and sell, sell, sell. I have also looked into outsourcing other aspects of your business. Certainly using an accountant wouldn’t be effective for the day to day operations of the business but a bookkeeper who works outside the office as an independent contractor and not as a full time employee can save you thousands in time and dollars. Drawings, renderings, working drawings for custom product and electrical plans can all be outsourced. Some to places as far away as Asia. Ah, the joys of the Internet. Still, very cost effective when applied to our business. We use people as close as San Francisco and as far away as Bangkok. Gibson Design Management is in Virginia. So, start thinking about ways to save money and time and get those big new clients in the door.