Deborah Wiener discusses her reasons for a fixed design fee in the article, “Ten Things Your Interior Designer Won’t Tell You,” by Erika Rasmusson.
“My hourly rate will make you see red.”
When Catherine Lynn needed her San Francisco home redecorated, she used the same California-based design firm that had handled her home in Kona, Hawaii, four years earlier. Much to her shock, the prices had skyrocketed. The firm’s billing practice had changed from a flat fee plus 30 percent product commission to an hourly rate plus commission. The result was a bill for $48,000 more in fees that she’d paid for the first, similar-size project. While Lynn admits that the hourly rates were described in the contract, “it never occurred to me that I would be paying $75 an hour for office assistants to place my orders, check orders and send mail.”
A better method is to ask for a fixed fee. To calculate a fair price consider that a room typically takes about 20 hours of designer work to complete and hourly rates can range from $75 to $350. “A fixed design fee is a better deal for clients,” says Deborah Wiener, of the Silver Spring, Md., firm Designing Solutions. “If I’m paid by the hour, I don’t have as much incentive to get it right [the first time].”
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