There are so many questions, considerations, and opinions when it comes to pricing services. There are so many factors at play—location, clientele, experience, style, and demand just to name a few. Deciding what your time and expertise is worth is such a personal decision, but no matter what you charge, there are a few standards we recommend for keeping things simple, straightforward, and professional. One of those is a minimum project budget. Having this restriction in place is a service to both you and your potential clients. Here’s why:
Having a minimum budget keeps your pricing fair and standard and gives potential clients a reasonable expectation for the final total. Quoting estimates on the fly, without a base pricing structure, can cause issues when you forget to factor something in or when referrals come in expecting a lesser price.
The minimum project budget will be one of the first conversations you will have with a potential client, so it’s a good time to begin establishing trust in you and your business practices. Being upfront about costs gives them realistic expectations so there are no awkward talks later. It’s also a great opportunity to explain to them what they’re paying for and why they should work with you.
And, consistency isn’t just for the benefit of potential clients. It’s also valuable for you to have figures on hand that you can send without too much thought (or have listed in your investment guide—read about what else you should include here). It’s so much better to sit down and really consider how much time, personnel, overhead cost, etc. you need to be prepared to give each project. Establishing a minimum project budget ensures that you are covered and aren’t losing money because you’ve already taken the time to factor in all the details.
If you read our business posts regularly, you know we talk a lot about the importance of saying “no” so that you have time for the right opportunities. Setting up a minimum project budget will deter potential clients that are looking to spend less, and it’s an easy way to turn away clients in a way that is professional and inoffensive. If you have a standard in place, all you have to do is send that figure and it will weed out many inquiries that aren’t a good fit without all the guesswork.
A minimum project budget can also be a small act of accountability for yourself so that even if you’re having a slow month, you’ll remember the valuation you place on your work and will wait for the right project. Don’t fill your schedule with the wrong clients to the point that you have to turn down your ideal client due to time constraints!
Every business runs into “browsers” who are basically window-shopping services that they have no real intention of purchasing. Communicating your minimum cost upfront will eliminate those endless email threads that ultimately lead to nowhere and take up important admin time.
When you work for yourself, it can be really difficult to calculate what you’ll earn in a given amount of time. If you establish a minimum project cost and an ideal number of projects you’re willing to juggle, you can create a more accurate projection of your income. It’s so helpful to have a baseline and to know what you can expect to get out of your hard work! You might find after a few months that you need to increase your minimum project budget based on profitability.
Creating standards in your processes and fees shows potential clients that you know your worth and are an industry professional. It is an indicator that you value your time and will value their’s too. Quality work isn’t cheap, so don’t cheapen yourself by undercutting your profits. Your potential clients will base their valuation of your services largely on yours. Just be certain you can deliver.
It’s also important for your clients that you charge enough so that you can keep a small client list. The more projects you need to take on to pay the bills, the less individualized attention you can give. This is obviously more important to some clients than others, but it’s necessary for you to be realistic about the level of work you can put out without compromising quality and then calculating budget from there.
For more tips on elevating your interior design or lifestyle brand, check out these posts:
IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.