How to Charge Clients: Navigating Pricing Strategies for Interior Designers

by Todd 

Determining how to charge clients can be a daunting task for interior designers.

With different interpretations and preferences in the industry, finding the right pricing strategy becomes the million-dollar question.

In this article, we will explore various options for charging clients, drawing insights from industry anecdotes and expert analysis, to help interior designers make informed decisions that benefit their business and clients alike.

Understanding the Different Charging Options:

  1. Design Fee: One popular approach is charging a design fee, which covers conceptual design work and collaboration with architects and contractors. This initial fee sets the foundation for the project. Interior designers have flexibility in determining the structure of this fee, whether it is a fixed amount or an overall fee aligned with the client’s budget.
  2. Markup and Commission: Some designers opt for a combination of design fees and markups on purchases, also known as commission. By leveraging their access to best pricing, typically around 20% off retail, designers can add a percentage on top of the discounted price. This approach ensures coverage for overhead expenses and compensates for the time invested in managing project elements.
  3. Hourly Billing: For those who prefer a more precise measurement of time and effort, hourly billing provides a transparent approach. By diligently tracking hours spent on different tasks, designers can accurately capture their input and present clients with detailed reports. Implementing time-tracking systems and habits can help streamline this process and alleviate potential challenges of multitasking.

Benefits and Considerations:

  1. Flexibility and Customization: By understanding the various charging methods, interior designers gain the flexibility to customize pricing based on the project’s specific requirements and client preferences. This adaptability allows for tailored solutions that align with both the designer’s expertise and the client’s budget.
  2. Transparency and Trust: Implementing clear and transparent pricing strategies fosters trust with clients. Whether through design fees, markups, or hourly billing, providing detailed breakdowns helps clients comprehend the value and effort invested in their project. This transparency builds credibility and establishes a solid foundation for a successful working relationship.
  3. Maximizing Profitability: Choosing the right pricing strategy can have a significant impact on an interior designer’s profitability. By considering overhead expenses and employee costs, designers ensure that their pricing structures adequately cover their operational needs. This approach allows them to run a sustainable business while delivering exceptional design services.

Seeking Further Guidance?

Navigating the complexities of pricing strategies may require additional assistance. Fortunately, resources are available to support interior designers in their quest for fair and profitable charging practices. For instance, visiting websites like provides access to helpful spreadsheets and expert advice on calculating fees and exploring new avenues for monetizing their business.

Determining how to charge clients is a vital aspect of an interior designer’s success. By understanding and evaluating different pricing strategies, designers can make informed decisions that align with their business goals and client expectations. Whether through design fees, markups, or hourly billing, adopting transparent and adaptable pricing practices ensures a harmonious relationship with clients, fosters trust, and ultimately leads to a thriving interior design business.