5th April 2022 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID ShareTweetPinterestLinkedIn If you’re an interior designer running a firm or freelance business, it’s important you’re aware of the things that clients are looking for when hiring a designer for their project. As a highly-competitive industry, it’s important to make sure your business stands out from the competition and the way in which you represent your firm reflects the quality of work you are able to provide. If you are struggling to attract clients or you’d like to increase the number of projects you are working on, here are some tips to help elevate your business’ appeal to potential clients. From portfolios to customer service, here’s what clients are looking for in a professional interior design company. Accreditation from an interior design organisation An indicator of a professional interior design company is the ability to prove your accreditation standards to a recognised interior design organisation. The most reputable interior designers and interior design firms are accredited by The Society of British & International Interior Design (SBID). SBID represents, protects and promotes interior design services in the UK and worldwide, so belonging to the industry’s recognised body supports and showcases your skill and integrity as a professional designer. Accreditation with the SBID verifies the quality of your interior design products and services, demonstrating your commitment to industry excellence and certifies you as a fully-qualified professional operating at the highest standards of practice. By receiving interior design accreditation, you will be listed in the SBID’s designer directory, making you discoverable to the public and potential clients. This will show clients that you offer a high level of professional service, design quality and expertise to be able to successfully complete their project. Clients are more likely to choose and comission you as their designer if you’re accredited, because they’ll know they can rely on you to complete the job to a professional standard. The best way to let your clients know that you have the ability and skill to complete their project is to become an Accredited Designer with the SBID. Excellent customer service As a professional designer or design firm, you should provide an excellent standard of customer service to your clients. This doesn’t just start when you choose to take on the project. A client will be paying attention to quality customer service from the outset to ensure that you are a designer that is going to go above and beyond for them. When a client is researching potential designers for their home or building development, they will be looking at everything you say and do to ensure that your style will match what they are looking to achieve. It’s important, in the initial first steps, that you are welcoming and open-minded towards each and every client to make a good first impression and ensure every experience with your company is professional and client-driven. This will also come down to other factors such as a clean and presentable office, quick responses to emails and even correct grammar and spelling in communication. Every aspect of your business should tell the client that you are organised, on top of your projects and willing to go above and beyond to meet the client’s expectations. Make sure that your quality of service is reflected in the way you present your company and your clients will be able to see your professional potential. A portfolio of high-quality projects The only way your clients will be able to get a feel for your work is through an extensive portfolio that showcases high-quality projects. Clients will spend time looking through each designer’s portfolio in order to pick the one they feel is most capable of creating their desired design. In order to make this feasible, you will need to make your previous projects easy to access and up to date. It’s a worthwhile investment to fill your portfolio with polished and professional photography. Quality photos of your previous projects will mean the difference between a client choosing you, or finding someone who they’re sure can create the design they are looking for to a high standard. Your portfolio is the only evidence a client will have to get a feel for your talent and expertise and it is one of your best marketing tools – so use it to your advantage. Treat your portfolio as a digital business card and optimise it to include a variety of past projects. It gives your clients the opportunity to visualise your work in their own space and highlight your style and capabilities in a variety of settings. Make sure each of your portfolio images accurately reflects your work, offering different looks and solutions so you are able to showcase your talents in a wide range of contexts. A creative and unique interior designer No client wants a design that can be seen in anyone’s space, they want a design that stands out from the crowd while still fitting into the style of their home or business. Clients will be looking for a designer that is creative and versatile in the work they produce. They are aware of the fact that they are investing a lot of time, faith and money into this working relationship, therefore there needs to be understanding on both ends. Upon your first meeting with a client, they will be trying to figure out your style and energy and whether this is suited to the project. This means you must showcase your understanding of the brief, a commitment to their projects and your ability to produce something that is both unique and exciting. Clients will be taking a leap of faith when choosing a designer, so it’s crucial you portray your ability to manage their project and let them know that you are willing to do what it takes to meet their needs and wants. As well as having your own unique style, you should consider that ultimately, you are being paid by the client to complete the work, so it’s important you are able to fit your work to suit them and their unique requirements. Fair price point While some clients may not be limited by budget, many of them will be looking for a designer that offers a fair price. Most clients will have established a budget before coming to you, so will have a good idea about how much they want to spend. While they will see interior design services as a worthwhile investment, they will still want a designer that will make the most of their money and provide value. It’s a good idea to be upfront about your costs as a client will be looking for a designer in their price range. Being clear about your costs from the get-go will help the client be vocal about their budget and you can avoid any challenging conversations further down the line. When it comes time to start designing, you will have formed an honest relationship with your client that will make work even easier. In terms of professionalism, it’s vital that billing and finances are mentioned and discussed in advance in order to make your client feel at ease. Being consistent with transactions will help to subdue any feelings of worry on your client’s side because they will know exactly how much they are paying and when. Digital payments are a great way to make your customers happy because they will have a greater understanding of the payment process and won’t be left in the dark about what the interior design services and materials are costing. Interior Design Accreditation with The Society of British & International Interior Design If you’re trying to show your clients your ability and professionalism as an interior design company, become accredited with the SBID today. Interior design accreditation from the SBID is one of the best ways to prove to your clients that you have the skill, knowledge and expertise to complete projects to a high standard. As a professional body that was created to regulate and promote interior designing, we champion best practice and are the mark of an excellent interior design company. By becoming an accredited firm or designer, you will be listed in the designer directory where clients will be searching for professional designers. To become accredited, you must have had three years of education, three and half years of practice, a commitment to ongoing training and development – as well as valid professional indemnity insurance. This means that clients looking for professional designers will know that you have met the industry requirements and provide high-quality professional interior design services. This gives them peace of mind and they will have great faith in your abilities. To learn more about the SBID and what we can do for you, get in touch today or visit our website for more information.