When a homeowner (residential) or commercial client needs to make informed decisions about hiring a competent interior design firm for residential, commercial, retail or office projects, deciding on which process to follow can be overwhelming. Should one go for a self professed interior designer, a referred one or seek services from local or online interior design firms?
The reason is that many people, especially interior decorators, profess to be certified professional interior designers. However, this is not always the case. Anybody who is creatively inclined to carry out home decoration tasks may use the term Interior designer loosely. This should not be so, as their qualifications for professional interior design practices are unknown. And because they are not trained as interior designers, they don’t have the knowledge and ability to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Interior designers are expected to prepare designs for works to be performed by licensed contractors, so are therefore required to pass a building and barrier free codes exam, to enable them demonstrate high proficiency in handicap access and other necessary code requirements.
Now if you are a consumer that needs interior design services for a small project, say a small home or office, employing the services of an interior decorator will suffice. However, if you have a complex project, it is advisable to hire professional interior designers or interior design firms that are truly qualified to tackle the complex project at hand.
Local and online interior design firms have in their establishment, trained professional interior designers, who will guide clients through the many plans, decisions, opportunities and challenges to reach a successful conclusion.
What to Expect From Local Or Online Interior Design Firms
With certified professionals under their employ, interior design firms are usually well qualified to design and submit any type of non-structural (non-load bearing), and non-seismic ( interior elements that excludes bracing of the structural system) interior construction plans, abiding and adhering to specifications stipulated by local building departments.
Professional interior designers found in local or online interior design firms have been well trained, with some having obtained Diplomas or BA Interior Design during their course of study. These professionals, through education, experience and examinations, will have demonstrated their knowledge of the UBC (Uniform Building Code), as it relates to planning of interior space, safety, security, flammability and issues of disabled access codes for the physically challenged.
With the engagement of an interior design firm for services, they are highly competent and will guide clients through the entire design process, from defining project goals, to meeting up with cost and time budgets. Working with interior design firms can actually save considerable time and unnecessary expense. They ensure their clients gets the most out of their allocated design budget by avoiding expensive mistakes.
Local And Online Interior Design Firms – How Do They Charge?
Fees for certified interior designers are very competitive in the marketplace. And with the world becoming a global village, hiring for interior design services from online interior design firms has become a popular and sometimes less expensive way of design service provision.
But there is no single set of industry billing standards for interior design service charges, rather, there exists a variety of payment methods that can be easily applied. It is therefore important to iron this out with the interior design firm, during the interview process, so as to understand the various billing structures available. This way, a suitable payment method can be chosen, one that both the client and the interior design firm must feel comfortable with.
How do local and online interior design firms charge for professional services? Do they charge fixed fees, or charges based on square footage. Hourly rates? If hourly rates are to be applied, what will be the hourly billing rate, and what is the estimated number of hours for the project? What about billing rates for travel time, and other reimbursable expenses? Here are the most used forms of payment structures for interior design services.
- Pre-fixed rates
- Hourly rates
- Percentage over costs
- Department store retail
- Combination rates
- Costs per square metre/square foot
Interior Design Companies
Some interior design firms provide professional design services only, and are not necessarily involved in the actual purchase of items for a project. Other interior design firms may hold a valid contractors license in order to hire subcontractors and perform ‘design & build’ contracting work.
However, the majority of certified interior designers or interior design firms strictly prepare designs for projects to be executed by licensed contractors and sub-contractors. Also, part of these services must include helping clients locate and co-ordinate suppliers, and other relevant resources in obtaining the necessary merchandise for an interior design project.
As virtual makeovers are revolutionising interior design services, interior design has become more interactive and exciting. And now, with recent technology, contacting clients and communicating design alternatives has become easier for design firms, so interior design services now requires less movement and travel. This translates to some great savings for today’s clients.
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