Mind the Minutia: Maximizing your Earning Potential

As interior designers, we have thousands of miscellaneous fees attached to the necessary parts of our job that feel like dragging a ball and chain.  These costs incur, sometimes sitting on your credit card statement too long so you end up paying interest on them before they are billed to the client!  Then you may get pinged by the client with a question or they may dispute for the fee.  Empathize much?  

Let’s get proactive and liberate ourselves from this burden!  Hidden expenses and ineffective invoicing methods can erode both your time and profits. In this edition of the Philes, we are offering you clever strategies for streamlining operations and preventing fee disputes.


Often, one of the biggest potential profit sectors in your design business is the procurement of product.  Although there are many different ways designers approach the billable price, you can either collect payment per proposal as you obtain client approvals OR collect a large percentage payment on the goods once the budget is approved. 

The ladder method of a bulk, front-end deposit eliminates piecemeal proposals which delays the ordering process and ultimately affects your installation date.  Say hello to full control and cushion time if something arrives damaged too close to the install date (and there’s no time to fix it, but the client expects it to be in place!).  It also reduces the window of time for an item to be discontinued or fall out of stock in between the time you present the item and the time you get paid for it.  You have the liberty to place the order right there in the presentation if you need to!

Avoid the awkward answer to their question, “Where is this or that?” and having to explain that you installed their bedroom but actually the bed is missing so you cannot move in tomorrow like you had planned.  During the onboarding process, we recommend explaining this scenario to the client as an example of the many things that can occur and affect their project timeline.

interior design by kmnelson design.  


A necessary, but unexpectedly expensive fee when designing a home, freight is the most contested and complained about fee in my two decade experience.  To reverse this reputation, think about the best possible experience for the client.  I did and use these tactics in my design business successfully:


  • The client should pay for the freight when their estimated furnishings budget is approved, prior to actual furniture selections.
  • Your bookkeeper should collect freight bills and reconcile them on a monthly basis against the estimate and client payment.
  • Invoice or credit the client, based upon the original freight estimate, at the end of the project.  It gives clients less irritation during what’s supposed to be an enjoyable design process.  


I typically estimate at 22% of the total procured goods net cost for remote project locations and 18% for local and or bigger city (with easier access) project locations.  That percentage covers inbound freight from the manufacturer, a receiving report with photographs, storage, 3rd party delivery and installation plus messenger service for miscellaneous things throughout the project.  

*Pro-tip:  A messenger should always be less than your design service fee.  Instead of having your employee return memo items from an installation, have the messenger pick up to save you hours and lighten the client’s freight cost.


It may not be hard to imagine that a client may not pay for a freight invoice quickly enough, or perhaps it fell through the cracks and didn’t get billed previously. Now, you are in a position of weakness with delayed goods and possibly a delayed installation date.  


To pass the 3-5% processing fee on to the client or to not pass it on?  If you are simply needing more airline miles or points, think twice about billing the client for the fee if you haven’t already discussed your vendor payment policy with them.  You should establish this policy up front and include in your contract if all purchases will be made by credit card and passed onto the client.  

Not all vendors charge a fee for using a credit card.  If the project has a tight timeline, I would encourage you to include the percentage for using a credit card payment method in the original budget for approval.

Just like we talked about with freight, your bookkeeper should be reconciling it monthly and either invoice for the remainder or credit the client for the surplus at the end of the project.


If you could only monetize your time going from point A to point B for any reason, we would all be living large!  Time holds immense value, especially in business, and it behooves you to account for that time spent traveling.  Your time is worth more than just the expense of gas and the government car mileage rate.  Ultimately travel time from one client takes you away from tending to your other clients. 

I consider traveling to the client or their project a luxury concierge service and it is billed at half of my design selection fee. Whether you charge by the hour or a flat fee by the project, failing to factor in travel time can lead to underestimating the true cost of site visits and client meetings.  This fee is separate and apart from your airline or train ticket, which is a reimbursable expense.  



Expanding your clientele to include out-of-state projects can open up new opportunities for growth, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. One such challenge is navigating the tax implications of conducting business in multiple states. To maximize your earning potential and simplify the process, consider establishing an LLC in the state or country where you’ll be conducting business. This official motion not only helps you secure a resale certificate, allowing you to purchase and ship materials to that location tax-free, but also provides liability protection and other benefits for your business.

Some states may have residency requirements for LLC formation, meaning that at least one member or manager of the LLC must be a resident of that state. However, many states do not have such requirements, allowing businesses to establish LLCs without needing to reside in the state. To ensure compliance,  you will typically need to designate a registered agent located in that state who can receive legal documents and official correspondence on behalf of the LLC.

It’s essential to consult with legal and tax professionals who are knowledgeable about the laws and regulations of both your home state and the state where you plan to form the LLC. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific business goals and circumstances.

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Pricing Precision: Achieving Yearly Success through Mastery of Flat Fees and Hourly Rates

What is arguably the biggest question in how to make your business as profitable as it can be? Should I charge a flat fee or an hourly fee? Both can be profitable but it requires vocalizing unwavering confidence of your worth. Below, we’re breaking down these two fee types so you can make the right decision for your projects and design firm (maybe it’s both!). Identify and implement…let’s do this!


Flat fee billing is a widely adopted method in interior design that sets a fixed project price. This approach hinges on the project’s scope, size, and required work. While it offers clarity to clients, it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages..



  1. Streamlined Pricing: Flat fee billing offers clients a finite understanding of their financial commitment, eliminating surprises and unexpected costs during the project.  We will add a caveat that the only unexpected occurrence should be a modification to the scope, (which could be caused by construction delays) would probably prompt a revision to the flat fee.  Sara Malek Barney of Bandd Design, our ambassador in Texas, makes a compelling case in this Key Call.
  2. Efficiency Equals Profit: With flat pricing established at the onset of a project, you and your staff are freed up to design and execute to your fee’s (not your heart’s) extent.
  3. Cash Flow Control: Managing cash flow is simplified with flat fee billing. You have a precise grasp of your earnings and when to expect them, facilitating effective budgeting and financial planning.




  1.  Estimation Challenges: Accurately estimating the necessary time and resources for a given project is tricky. Underestimating can lead to losses (and bitterness!), while overestimating may result in clients feeling gauged and declining your services.
  2. Scope Ambiguity: To avoid scope-related disputes, you must clearly define the project’s scope and the services included in the flat fee. Failing to do so can lead to additional work that erodes your profits.  It is equally important to explain how you will bill and deliver additions to the scope.  If a portion of your scope is deducted or paused, describe how you will handle such an event.  More on this topic can be found in our guide, What I Wish I Knew to Include in a Worry Free, Ironclad Interior Design Contract.
  3. Project Risk: Flat fee billing can pose a financial risk if unforeseen complications or changes, especially in construction, in project requirements arise. These unexpected factors can disrupt your budget and profit margins.


Hourly rate billing entails charging clients for each hour spent on a project. This billing approach offers a dynamic set of pros and cons, influenced by factors like your experience level, project complexity, and location.



  1. Precise Tracking: Hourly rate billing enables accurate tracking of time and resources spent on a project. This data serves as a valuable tool for estimating future project durations, enhancing long-term profitability.
  2. Flexibility in Pricing: The flexibility of hourly billing shines when projects require more effort than initially envisioned. You can bill clients for additional hours (without a theoretical amendment to the contract with an additional scope fee), ensuring equitable compensation for your work.
  3. Transparency: Clients gain insight into the exact time spent on their project.  Yes, sometimes it takes far longer than a client may imagine to source something small, but think about how much longer and harder it would have been for them to solely attempt to find that item or solve that problem on their own.




  1. Estimation Challenges: Accurately gauging the required project time can be challenging. Discrepancies may lead to disputes with clients who perceive overbilling.
  2. Client Hesitation: Hourly rate billing can give rise to client uncertainty about their investment. The ambiguity of final expenses may deter some potential clients.  Pro tip:  Provide an estimated cost range based on the amount of hours you think it will take to present and deliver their project to ease their uncertainty.  If you think you may have missed some time, then pad the estimate by at least 20%.
  3. Rushed Decisions: Clients under hourly billing may feel the urgency to expedite project completion, potentially resulting in hasty decisions and a compromised attention to detail.  Yet another reason to pad the estimated fee.

interior design by bandd design.  photography by ryann ford.

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Creating a Vision Board for Design Success in the New Year

As Interior Designers, creative instincts are part of our DNA. We’re wonderful at creating vision boards for our clients’ projects, but have you ever curated one for yourself or your business? With the new year upon us, now is the time to get crafty and start dreaming! But where to begin, you may ask… Follow these simple steps and let the juices flow (does that inspire you to pour a nice glass of wine?!).

Unplug & Dream Big

First and foremost, resist the urge to look up ideas online. Turn on your favorite musician, light a candle or a fire. The goal is to truly unplug and think deeply about what success looks like to you in the new year. 

Next, set an intention for your vision board. Quiet your inner critic and open yourself up to abundance. Don’t talk yourself out of selecting images you feel drawn to. Allow yourself to dream big– remember, the sky is always the limit!

Assemble Your Board– Supplies?

Now it’s time to begin assembling your board. Yes, I mean create one the old-fashioned way and not on the computer. You’ll need to gather supplies such as:

  1. A framed bulletin board/foam core board (something that is sturdy enough to hang for at least Q1)
  2. Go to your local magazine stand or grocery store to stock up on a variety of genres.
  3. Grab scissors to cut out your inspiration, and push pins or glue sticks to hang them.


Core Categories To Consider

Once you have all of your supplies, you can begin asking yourself– What does success in 2024 look like to me? And apply this question to each of these categories:

  1. Relationship with your loved ones (partner, family, friends)
  2. Career aspirations
  3. Financial health
  4. Mental and physical wellness
  5. Shelter (where you live)
  6. Faith and beliefs in higher powers
  7. Morals and values
  8. Travels
  9. Hobbies

Progress Is The Key!

Remember— if you only have a few things on your board, that’s perfectly you! It shows where you are focused and what is most important to you at the time.

However, try to answer all the above questions/categories in a document you can keep in a safe place you’ll remember, even if they don’t all make it onto your board. Refer back to this list at the beginning of every month or quarter. Take stock of your progress and what wins you’ve had so far. You might find your priorities have shifted, and now you’re motivated to pursue something else. 

Life is ever-evolving, but this is a great way to continually remind yourself of your goals and find ways to accomplish them Lastly, remind yourself that Rome was not built overnight!


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The Power of Planning: Developing a Strategic Roadmap for the New Year

Pat yourself on the back! You’ve navigated your way through 2023 and hopefully you are feeling proud. I know all too well how the holiday season anxiety can sneak in throughout the month of December. This is a time when my personal life becomes a bigger priority, and it can be a bit stressful keeping track of everyone’s “out of office” dates to ensure we meet deadlines before the new year. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished in the past 12 months, but also dream and look forward. I would love to hear more on our next Key Call, how you will be preparing for success in 2024!

In the meantime, let the following steps be your guide to developing a strategic roadmap for the new year.

First Steps Start with Organization

Contemplating all you want to accomplish in the coming year can be a formidable and exhilarating mental tango. I recommend organizing your goals into a timeline so you can clearly see how your they coincide with personal commitments (like family vacations 🏝️) and how the work to accomplish these goals needs to be delegated.  

The Questions To Ask Yourself Now

This roadmap should empower you to embrace the year’s conclusion with a sense of liberation, simplicity, and, ideally, enjoyment! It’s important, before plotting strategies for each quarter, to ask yourself these questions now:

  1. Do you know the tasks that are absolutely necessary to complete before the year’s end? If not, re-prioritize your work and inform clients or other project trades of any shifted submittal deadlines.
  2. Take a mental note of your relationship with each client. Is it where you want it to be? Can you ask them to write you a letter of recommendation to have handy for that dream project you want next year? Candid feedback will help you sharpen your skills and process, even if it’s a bit hard to swallow at the time.
  3. Are you working with trades that respect you and make you shine?
  1. Did you review your team members at least once this past year? If not, schedule a meaningful chat with them this month.  Make it a point to learn something new about each of them.  That news should either strengthen your bond or reveal something that will change the course.
  2. Do you have the right people supporting you? Did you feel confident and prepared in meetings? Did you meet or exceed your deadlines?
  1. Who expressed interest in you or your business this year? Who didn’t express interest that you wished had?
  2. What were the missed opportunities of this year?
  3. Design and/or order any additional materials needed to reach out to clients in Q1.
  1. Are there any orders nearing completion that you can bill for now?
  2. Are there any items that do not have an invoice attached to them?  (hint: pull a “Work in Progress” report in your billing software.)
  3. Ask your CPA if you may need to hold on collecting a payment or making a donation for tax purposes
  4. How much did each project profit? Using your billing software reporting, this practice is handy to dictate future goals. Good economic growth typically falls within 2-4%. (Source: Indeed)
  1. Set up your “OOO” email reply this month.  Send clients personal emails about your holiday closure.
  2. Where am I going next year to show up stronger, brighter and longer for my clients, my team and myself? Book your vacation travel for 2024 NOW before the work vortex sucks you in.


Give Yourself A Runway For The New Year

Tackling these questions in December allows you to hit the ground running when January 1st arrives. This exercise will give you and your team the runway needed to begin strategically planning for business growth in the new year and new possibilities! Happy planning!


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The Art of Prioritization: Maximizing Productivity as an Interior Designer

As Interior Designers, with multiple clients, projects and deadlines, it can be overwhelming when every project feels like your main priority. Oftentimes we need to take a step back, self-assess, and determine how to better maximize our productivity. The great news, there are several programs available that can help you do just that, while helping you mark the key milestones to be remember on every new build! Think: work smarter, not harder.

Find the Right Management System

Management systems like Asana or Monday.com are helpful because they will store all your project information. Everything from the day you begin a project, to setting deadlines for every phase of the project, to noting all items that need to be developed, presented, approved, expedited and installed, all the way down to the lightbulbs and toilet paper holders – that’s where the real glamour comes in! 

High Level Milestones to Remember

Pro tip! Make sure your team is aware and in agreement with the deadlines you have set before committing to the client! By plugging everything into a management system, you will be able to see the flow of projects over the course of 6 months or even a year and understand if it’s attainable.


Creating a Schedule that Works: Balancing Multiple Projects and Deadlines

Running your own Interior Design business has its challenges, especially when you’re juggling multiple projects, deadlines and managing communication internally and externally. This is why it’s so important to create a schedule that actually works for you and your team and offers clear communication to keep everyone on task. As we all know, there will be delays and project mishaps along the way (hello, COVID!). Circaphiles is here to level up your organization game and protect your system from distraction!

Define Goals and Objectives

What do you want to accomplish for each project?  Write these goals and objectives down in a place where it is highly visible on a daily basis for a constant reminder.  If you are doing something that doesn’t serve that goal, delegate or delete that task (as my business coach likes to say).  

Are all of your team members aware of these goals and objectives?  Including your support staff on these conversations, from creation to the extent of their definitions, will better prepare them to do the job to the best of their ability.  Visibility into the firm and project goals often fosters growth and dedication.  This will, in turn, raise the bar of the entire firm’s reputation. 


Understand Team Dynamics

Consider the strengths, weaknesses and work styles of you and your team members.  This understanding will help in allocating tasks effectively and ensuring a balanced workload.  If one team member is more adept in problem-solving, perhaps he or she is best suited to handle client communication or expediting.  If a team member is struggling with a task, ask them about it in a supportive way.  Pave a wide open lane of communication.  

Pro tip! The faster you discover the root of the delay or frustration, the quicker you assign better help and keep your clients happy. 

Divide and Conquer

Breaking down the project into their phases with bite-size, manageable tasks is a great course of action. Establish the most critical tasks due over the next 6 weeks and prioritize them.  Hold standing meetings to track progress, encourage focus and meet those deadlines.  

Pro tip! One of my best strategies is to set an internal deadline a few days before the actual client deadline.  It reduces anxiety about not finishing in time, procrastination and allows time for any adds, substitutions (due to stock or budget constraint, for example) or extra polish that will set your firm apart.  Preparedness = confidence (and confidence sells!)


Implement Calendar Blocking


The best tool for the job is what’s called “calendar blocking.” To begin implementing, first and foremost start your week by reviewing your tasks and meetings (with your team, if you have one) to prioritize. Once you’ve done this, you can then set aside time for each project with different tasks (whether it be billing, scheming, expediting, or client updating) by scheduling it on your calendar. That way, nothing else gets booked during those time blocks, and you can focus without the distractions. Of course, there may be weeks when you will need to re-prioritize or push a task because something didn’t go according to plan, but it will be much easier because you’ll already have a framework in place.

Pro tip! Remember, the key to staying on task and on time with projects is by creating a schedule and communicating. As designers, we’re often so focused on the big picture for our clients but are we as laser focused when it comes to our own calendars? Big wins start with small tasks. Calendar blocking gives you the tools to see the big picture for each week and the best part, it’s easy to start doing today!

Managing Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments: A Roadmap for Interior Designers

The concept of estimated tax payments for self-employed designers can be overwhelming, but it’s a fundamental aspect of financial responsibility. Don’t drive down this daunting path alone! Circaphiles is here to provide the roadmap, so you are making every important stop along the way, *beep beep!* In this blog post, we will embark on a journey to unravel the intricacies of estimated tax payments, shedding light on their importance and the vital considerations involved.

Whether you’re just starting your self-employed design career or looking to refine your financial acumen, we’ll provide practical insights and expert tips to help you budget, plan, and navigate your financial landscape with confidence!

Record Your Business Transactions

Keep meticulous records of your business activities in real time, as soon as you are making the purchase. Create a habit for yourself to input your financial transactions into an accounting software the same day (or week!), including as much billing information as possible. Questions like “Is it billable?”, “who was I with for the business meal?” or “what type of business expense is this?” should be answered in the entry line item.  This process is much easier if you are recording them regularly, as it is fresh on your mind. 

Adding as much detail as possible allows your bookkeeper to accurately analyze your activity, so you can understand your expenses versus profitability. Doing so also allows your tax preparer to use that information to maximize your savings at the end of the year!

What are Allowable Expenses?

In general, business expenses are eligible for tax deductions only if they are incurred solely for the purpose of conducting your business. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of which expenses qualify, as they can significantly reduce your tax liability. Incorrect claims, on the other hand, may lead to penalties. Therefore, it’s wise to assess whether these expenses may qualify for tax benefits before you commence your expenditure. Below, we’ve compiled a list of common costs that are typically eligible for deductions, specifically tailored for self-employed interior designers:


  1. Computer and Printer 
  2. Business Website
  3. Licenses, Software, and Subscriptions
  4. Phone and Internet
  5. Project-Related and Networking Travel
  6. Automobile Mileage
  7. Health and Business Insurance

Common Tax Deductions for Self-Employed Designers

Tax deductions are what you take out of your taxable income, lowering the total income on which you can be taxed. Therefore, saving you from paying more in taxes. Here is a list of some self-employment tax deductions:

Design Your Finances: A Guide to Effortless Tax Recordkeeping for Interior Designers

In the world of interior design, creativity knows no bounds. Yet, amid the tapestries of textiles and symphonies of colors, there exists a less glamorous but equally vital facet of the profession: financial management. *cue suspenseful music*. Understanding the importance of maintaining accurate and well-organized records is not just a financial necessity; it’s a cornerstone of a thriving design business. Let’s take the fear out of mastering this challenging side of your design business!

In this blog post, we embark on a journey to illuminate the path toward financial clarity for interior designers. We’ll explore the art of organizing and streamlining your financial documentation, offering invaluable insights, practical tips, and best practices that will not only simplify tax season but also help you gain a clearer perspective on the financial health of your design endeavors.

Make Sure to Account for Every Billable Hour

For designers who bill by the hour, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your time. Even if you use a flat rate or don’t plan to charge clients for your hours, tracking your working hours is essential to ensure your flat rate adequately covers the time invested in projects.

At the end of each month, allocate time to create invoices based on the tracked hours and expenses. Timely invoicing helps maintain healthy cash flow for your business. Remember that tax obligations may vary by state, requiring either monthly or quarterly payments. Keep in mind that open invoices will still be subject to taxes, regardless of whether you’ve received payment. It’s crucial to exercise caution with invoices, as they appear on your financial statements. Once submitted, avoid making changes to invoices, especially if you’ve already filed sales tax for that period. 

Genevieve Trousdale

Keep Personal and Business Accounts Separate

Avoiding the commingling of personal and business finances is an absolute must for interior designers.  Whether it’s using your debit or credit cards, the practice of keeping your personal and business expenses separate is not to be taken lightly. This segregation is your safeguard against inadvertently covering a customer’s expenses, overlooking potential tax deductions, or missing out on owed reimbursements.

Maintaining distinct accounts is more than just a good practice; it’s the pillar of maintaining clean and organized bookkeeping, free from the clutter of daily personal transactions. By adhering to this principle, you not only enhance your financial accuracy but also streamline your business operations for greater success.

Pay Attention to Purchase Orders


When you’re fully immersed in the whirlwind of an interior design project, meticulous bookkeeping may not be at the forefront of your mind. However, there’s a crucial tool that should always have a place in your project management toolkit: purchase orders. Purchase orders serve as a safety net, catching errors early, accurately allocating expenses, and expediting the invoicing process. They are instrumental in maintaining financial transparency and project efficiency.

Neglecting purchase orders can lead to project delays and financial discrepancies for clients. To ensure efficient bookkeeping, establish clear communication with vendors, create purchase orders promptly (Using the Circaphiles Purchase Order Specification Templates), process payments, and track order statuses diligently. By doing so, you’ll not only streamline your financial management but also maintain project integrity and client satisfaction.

Talk With Your Accountant to Review Your Financials

As an interior designer, the beginning of the year is not just about embracing new creative projects; it’s also the perfect time to take a proactive approach to your financial planning and ensure your records are in order. 

Pro-tip! Review your books with your accountant in January, so they can advise you on potential write-offs and tax-saving strategies.  

By being proactive, you can get ahead of the tax rush that typically engulfs many businesses later in the year. With your finances in order, you’ll have peace of mind, and can get back to what you do best! 

Managing Scope Creep: Navigating the Fine Line Between Client Requests and Practicality

As designers, we’re tasked with translating our clients’ dreams into tangible spaces, all while ensuring that projects remain on track, on budget, and aligned with the original vision. Oof, that is no easy feat! Let’s also not forget the delicate balance of accommodating evolving client requests while maintaining the practicality of the project. If scope creep has been the biggest challenge for you, you’re in luck because, today, I’m sharing a few tips for navigating this fine line!

From setting clear project boundaries to fostering transparent communication, harnessing the power of change order systems to finding the right balance between professionalism and personal connections, we’ll delve into a wealth of knowledge aimed at streamlining the nuances of scope management.

Define Price Structure

When defining the pricing structure that governs your project’s revenue, ensure absolute clarity by listing your provided services with concise action verbs. Rather than stating “floor plans,” emphasize “create personalized floor plans harmonizing functionality and aesthetics.” Likewise, swap “initial programming consultation” for “ascertain client preferences, vision, and lifestyle.” This approach highlights the uniqueness of each project phase, contributing to an exceptional client experience throughout the design process.

When utilizing a flat fee structure, outline the specifics: the number, frequency, and duration of meetings, presentations, installations, and other project elements covered by the fee. Recognizing that clients may swiftly scan contracts, consider organizing a festive kick-off meeting to revisit these details in person. This step ensures your client retains a deeper understanding of fee structures that persist throughout the project.

Genevieve Trousdale

Pro-tip! Polite, yet professional reminders might be necessary along the way, and are recommended to be as clear as possible.

Manage Relationships, Professional and Personal

Designers frequently develop close friendships with clients, more often than not, taking on the role of confidants for family dynamics. It’s prudent to consciously choose between maintaining a strictly project-centric relationship or venturing into a more personal connection that extends beyond the professional sphere. Opting for the latter – forming bonds beyond business – can indeed be fruitful, though it’s important to note that success is possible either way.

Set Consistent Reviews

Arrange a brief monthly or quarterly review with your COO or CFO to ensure alignment between the project activities and scope discussed versus what was initially agreed upon in the contract. Over time, the momentum and details can easily blur, making it challenging to recall contract stipulations from years past. 

Pro-tip! Engage a consultant or an in-house team member to conduct thorough checks, safeguarding against potential revenue losses for your firm.

Plan a midway meeting with the client to comprehensively assess the project’s status, encompassing services, deliverables, potential gaps in their needs, and scope additions as progress becomes evident. This meeting also serves as an opportunity to candidly discuss the quality of service provided by you and your team. While it might feel uncomfortable to initiate, asking for feedback is a vital step in ensuring your firm’s success, particularly when it comes to addressing concerns and negative feedback.



Take Charge of Change Orders

  1. When a clear addition to the project scope arises with a flat fee price structure, such as adding a new room, it’s crucial to issue an addendum to the contract that outlines the associated fee. This approach ensures the client’s understanding and agreement. Whether the new scope aligns with a flat, hourly, or hybrid fee structure, upfront communication about costs is essential.
  2. For situations where the scope additions are less defined, it’s wise to include specific contract language. This stipulation clarifies that any services beyond the contracted ones will be billed at an agreed upon hourly rate. This practice prevents any ambiguity or surprises in billing.
  3. In cases involving change orders that require general contractor implementation, endeavor to secure an estimate from them. This estimate can then be factored into the project’s overall design fee, providing a comprehensive view of the potential costs involved. This approach enhances transparency and collaboration within the project.



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Tips for how to make the most of Fall Market at High Point

High Point Market (HPMKT), a mecca for design inspiration, awaits – an immersive experience filled with endless treasures, unique insights, and the chance to connect with industry experts. But traversing this grand design haven requires a strategic approach to make the most of your time and leave no stone unturned. 

Are you ready to access the insider track that fuses street smarts with some juicy behind-the-scenes know-how? Join us as we unveil a guide to High Point Market that goes beyond the surface. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a first-time visitor, our expert insights will arm you with the knowledge to make the most of this extraordinary event.

Guided Tours

Unlock the hidden gems of High Point Market by booking a guided tour with none other than Jeanne Chung of Cozy Stylish Chic – a seasoned veteran of the event.  Jeanne’s unique perspective and insider knowledge provide unparalleled insight that you won’t find on your own. Let her guide you through the market’s intricate landscape, revealing the stories behind the exhibits and the nuances that shape this incredible experience.  

Event Map

High Point Market’s vastness can be overwhelming, but fear not – we’ve got you covered. Study the event map meticulously, grouping your shopping destinations by location. By doing so, you’ll optimize your time and avoid unnecessary treks across the expansive campus. To further refine your experience, create an itinerary that aligns with your goals. Research exhibitors in advance, ensuring you don’t miss the chance to explore brands you’ve been longing to see, as well as those you’ve yet to discover.

Hidden Gems

Leave room for curiosity and exploration – a key ingredient to unearthing the unexpected. High Point Market is brimming with eye-candy distractions that can lead you to new avenues of design inspiration and vendors who can execute current project visions. Venture beyond the mainstream and discover off-the-beaten-path sources like the Phillips Collection warehouse where you can shop their live edge wood slab inventory, Schwung Home with its delightful French café, and an array of vintage shops that offer unique finds.


Endless Education

High Point Market is not just a visual feast; it’s also an educational opportunity waiting to be seized. Prioritize time to rest your feet and attend panels featuring industry experts. The HPMKT website unveils these events and programs two months ahead of the market, allowing you to plan your schedule accordingly. These panels offer a chance to connect with like-minded designers, learn from industry icons, and gain insights to elevate your own business.


Time is precious at High Point Market, and every minute counts. For seamless transportation, consider renting a car to eliminate wait times for shuttles. Maximizing your time ensures you can pack in as much as possible during your visit. Parking options are aplenty, with affordable on-site rates, at $15 on the grounds, or a convenient option adjacent to EJ Victor, $50 which includes parking and a complimentary dinner at Pandora’s Manor for your carpool companions.


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