We take a look at the strategy of listing fees on a practice website, and if the pandemic has had an influence on this decision.
Around 80 per cent of interior designers told the BIID that they did not list any of their fees on their websites in 2019, as part of our Fees Survey. Meanwhile, 11 per cent said they did so for some services. The proportion who did list their fees was a very modest 10 per cent.
Check out the full 2019 interior designers’ fees research results.
And in 2021, it seems that listing fees online is still the exception rather than the rule with few designers revealing what clients can expect to pay on their sites. But are there benefits to listing fees on your website? And do the changes the pandemic has brought mean it’s a good strategy? Here’s what two BIID registered designers who do advertise their fees on their websites have found.
Why publish your fees?
Both Kia Stanford at Kia Designs and Rowena Vaughan at RJV Designs have been showing fees on their sites for more than 10 years, but what prompted them to do so?
Kia says, ‘It’s always the question that everybody tiptoes around. I don't think anyone should have to. If you believe you are worth your fees, it shouldn’t be a problem to tell people what they are. Someone will always have an opinion on if you are “too expensive” or “a bargain” but at least you will be directly allowing your clients to make that decision before you have spoken to them."
For Rowena, the fact that most interior designers don’t advertise their fees ensures that doing so makes her practice different. She explains, ‘It’s very useful because people find interior design scary and are put off by not knowing what the costs are.’
Can listing fees bring in more clients?
For Rowena, there appeared to be no difference in the level of enquiries and commissions before advertising her fees to the volume afterwards. Neither do clients mention it as something they haven’t encountered elsewhere. But there are indications that it may have an influence. ‘It occasionally comes out when we’re talking,’ she says. She also identifies an appetite for information that reveals itself via the response to individual blog posts on her site, and which listing fees taps into.
For Kia, the practice of showing fees has been a boost to enquiry and commission levels, bringing ‘many more’, she says. ‘Clients can see what it is going to cost them right from the beginning. Whether it’s £13,000 or £100,000 the fees are clear.’
Should more interior designers provide fee information?
Whether designers choose to show fees on their sites will likely be led by the part of the market in which they practise. When it’s a question of commissioning a high-end residential designer, the attitude is ‘if clients need to know, they can’t afford it’, Rowena points out. However, other clients have the money available, but want to spend it carefully, she says, and it’s in this scenario that listing fees can help, making it a strategy she thinks other designers should adopt.
Kia would also advise designers to show their fees. ‘I think that you charge what you charge and it takes a lot of the initial worries on both sides out of it if you are clear and concise,’ she says. ‘You can have a pricing structure that is extremely detailed and still have it be transparent. We have chosen to be clear and very simple. It works well for us and most importantly our clients.’
Has the pandemic had an influence?
Interior designers have been forced to work remotely in accordance with the various lockdown and other restrictions over the past year, but alongside modifications to traditional ways of working, new services have also sprung up, offering design at a distance for an advertised fee.
The availability of these room-by-room or time-limited consultations at a known cost may have introduced a new set of clients to the benefits of working with a professional interior designer as staying at home focused attention on the problems or issues of their interiors. But it’s worth bearing in mind that it may also have led them to expect transparency about pricing that might play a part in your deliberations regarding listing fees.
Should you list fees on your website?
Though it remains a rare practice, the experiences of two BIID designers who have provided fee information over many years shows that it can be a very successful strategy, depending on the type of clients with whom you wish to work. While it remains an option not generally taken, it can also help make your practice stand out from the crowd. What’s more, it could also help attract the new generation of clients who have discovered the benefits of working with a professional designer during the past year.
The BIID are keen to build knowledge on how our members approach fees. If you currently list your fees on your website or have would like to share you opinion on this, please get in touch at email@example.com.
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