It’s one of the first questions every interior designer is asked:
“What do you charge?”
It's then immediately followed-up with this one:
“How do you work?”
They're great questions, indeed. And, because an informed client is a good client, I'll answer them for you here - of course only in terms of how my studio, Aston Design Studio, operates (every designer does things a bit differently than another).
Our Hourly Rate & How It's Billed
I primarily work on an hourly basis, at a rate of $150 per hour. When visiting a project outside of The Woodlands or showrooms in Houston, $75 is charged per hour of drive-time.
I charge for my assistants’ time when they are working on CAD drawings, sourcing products, or visiting a job site or showroom for me for your project. I do not charge for their time when they accompany me to job sites or meetings; so, for instance, you're not going to get double-charged if two of us come. Their time is billed out at $50 per hour, with drive time included.
I bill twice a month, on or after the 15th and at the end of the month - sometimes (yes, I'll admit it) I’m a little late with that by a few days. In those instances, you won't be charged for the time spent during the days I was tardy. I'll bill you for those during the next pay period.
After our initial meeting, I write up a Letter of Agreement, where I describe the services you are requesting and detail the payments required, etc. After you sign that -- via a digital signature on SignNow.com -- we'll get started.
I do not take money up front for design -- as in a retainer -- because it sometimes takes a while for me to get to your project. Some designers do this, but I’m usually juggling all kinds of projects at any given time, and it takes awhile to work them all in. Personally, I think it's fair to only bill after my time has been spent.
Average Design Costs
(Figures based on Aston Design Studio's past projects.)
Here are some average costs for design on a project.
- Bathroom remodel design: $3,000 - $4,000
- Kitchen remodel design: $3,500 - $5,000
- Design Plan Only (for room with furnishings, no hard pricing included): $2,500- $3,500
- Additional time spent on quotes for actual pieces or treatments: $1,500 - $2,200
- After a construction project is started, site visits are always done/charged additionally, by the hour, with a minimum fee of $100 per visit.
It’s very difficult to put flat fees on projects, because each one is so unique and different. That’s why most designers, myself included, charge hourly. The above costs are simply a guide, based on my experience with other projects.
These estimates of fees generally include:
- Initial meeting with programming.
- Schematic Design Presentation at our Aston Design Studio office.
- Two or three additional meetings, or shopping trips, as required for the project.
- Documentation of the design with drawings, general notes and specifications.
- For projects with furniture, a digital storyboard can be included.
Obviously, the beauty of charging by the hour is that if you want more, we can give you more without having to write up a new Agreement. I don’t proceed ahead on design with new things unless you direct me to address new areas. Of course, I might make suggestions......:-)
For Those With Tight Deadlines...
If you have a tight deadline, and your project needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, an additional fee will be charged to accommodate your urgent needs.
Purchasing Through My Studio
I can get quotes for you on product purchases you wish to make through my studio.
I do charge hourly for time spent doing this. However, once you place your order, there won’t be any more time billed for a particular purchase. For example: if we’re doing custom window treatments in your home, and you’ve already paid your deposit, the time spent tracking and coordinating everything that relates to those window treatments is covered in the cost.
FYI: Tomorrow I'll be featuring a more in-depth piece about how the process of purchasing items through my studio works, so stay tuned...
One-Time Consultations & Other Options
One-time consultations can be accommodated fairly easily, and I welcome them! I charge $225 for a consultation in your home and it is payable at the visit. I find that 1 ½ hours for a one time consult works best.
Because time is finite, we cannot take on every project that's presented to us. If we cannot take on your project, or I feel your situation could be better handled by another designer, I have many talented designer friends I can refer you to.
How We Stay Connected
Personally, I prefer e-mail and texting to phone calls, because I’m often out driving, on job sites, or in meetings. But that certainly doesn't mean I'm opposed to having phone calls to discuss important issues. You’ll get my personal cell # when you sign your contract.
I have a beautiful studio, located in The Woodlands, Texas, where we can have meetings. If I'm not there, someone else is usually available to help you. I just hired my two part-time assistants for full-time work and I have one part-time intern now, so I'm working to be more efficient and more available every day.
You can message me at any time, except please Sunday mornings. But again: If it’s after hours and you urgently need to contact me, please do so via e-mail or texting. I feel that if problems arise, they are best handled quickly.
And that's all, folks!
There's a reason I'm an interior designer: There's nothing I don't love about this business!
I'm here to help you love your home and I will do my best to get you there!
So, whether you call upon me for your design needs, or another talented designer, one thing is for sure: Your life, as well as your lifestyle, will be more beautiful for having done so ;-)
This week we're talking about what it's like to work with an interior designer.
Tomorrow: The Process of Buying Product Through a Designer, Explained