Drafting Services for Interior Designers

Drafting Services for Interior Designers 

Visual communication is one of the most important (if not the most important) aspects of an interior design presentation. As an interior designer, you may choose to present a mood board, a floor plan, an elevation, a construction document, or a three-dimensional rendering to communicate your design vision with your clients. Later in the project, visual tools like these will also ensure that the contractors are all on the same page, as well. Modeling all sides of a three-dimensional room can take up to 16 hours to complete on average. Drafting and modeling can easily  take up a huge chunk of a designer’s week. Some of you may not have learned how to use modeling software when you went to school, which can add even more additional time onto this estimate. Luckily, there are drafting services for interior designers out there to help you prepare and polish presentations. Believe us, these services can make your life a whole lot easier – and allow you to stay focused on the parts of your business and the elements of your projects that you enjoy the most!

4Dbiz offers a variety of drafting services for interior designers to meet any of your project needs. Our well-rounded team has an impressive drafting skill set, which includes AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, Vray, Coohom, Foyr, Lumion, and Enscape. We provide high-quality two-dimensional drawing and three-dimensional computer-aided modeling. Read on to learn more about our drafting services. And when you’re ready to work with our team, simply create a free 4Dbiz account by clicking here.

Photorealistic rendering

Identify Your Drafting Needs

When you give our 4Dbiz Virtual Design Assistant team a drafting task to complete on your behalf, the first step is to provide us with as many details as you can about the project and the necessary deliverables. We would like to get some background on your project before we begin, so that we can use our time efficiently. Be prepared to answer these questions:

  • What type of drawing(s) do you need? (Design drawings, technical drawings, 3D models, renderings, a mood board, etc.)
  • When do you need the drawing(s)? Do you have a specific deadline? (*We do our best to turn around drawings as quickly as possible. However, we do not want to sacrifice the quality of the drawing, so we cannot guarantee that a drawing can be completed with a turnaround time of less than 24 hours)
  • Project & page layout information (project name, address, client, desired page size if printing, title block, and logo)

Two-Dimensional Drawing Types

Let’s take these drawing categories one step further and break them down into something more specific. Two-dimensional drawings can include design drawings or construction and technical documents. You may or may not need both types of drawings, depending on your intended use for them.

Design drawings are solely for visual purposes. Perhaps you want to show a client how the mirror they like will look in relation to the scale of their bathroom vanity. Or maybe you want to show your client a few different space plan options.

Floor Plan  Shaded Elevation

Examples of design drawings include:

  • Space Plans
  • Furniture Plans
  • Elevations
  • Shaded Elevations
  • Section Cuts
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans
  • Lighting Plans

Technical or construction drawings, sometimes referred to as “shop drawings,” serve as a set of instructions for the contractors, architects, and engineers who will actually bring your design concept to fruition. They are typically required when applying for permits as well. Although accuracy is always important for any drawing, it is crucial that construction drawings are accurate. They provide all of the necessary structural information that is needed to physically build something. If information is inaccurate, you run the risk of a costly result.

Construction Drawing

Examples of construction drawings include:

  • Custom Millwork
  • Shop Drawings for Custom Products
  • Plumbing Specifications
  • Electrical Specifications
  • Structural Specifications

Three-Dimensional Modeling Types

Computer-aided modeling is useful because it helps you and your clients visualize how a design will actually look in a three-dimensional space. You can undoubtedly get a better sense of how objects relate to each other when you see their depth, in addition to their height and width. We typically use programs such as Coohom, Foyr, Chief Architect, and SketchUp for three-dimensional modeling.

We consider a three-dimensional model to be a rendering when photorealistic views or walkthroughs are needed, or when it will require an extensive amount of time to complete. Renderings are determined on a task-by-task basis. Our team’s preferred rendering programs are SketchUp and Vray, but we are happy to work with you if you require specific accommodations.

3D ModelPhotorealistic Rendering

The estimated time to complete one view of a photorealistic rendering can range from 2 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the room to render. Walkthroughs require an additional 4 to 6 hours on top of the still-view estimate.

If you’re looking to cut down on time, a simple three-dimensional computer-aided model is the way to go. It is still effective in conveying your design ideas, but it is not quite as labor-intensive as a full rendering. We estimate that a three-dimensional model view can take between 1 to 4 hours to complete.

Before we begin a project, we will provide you with an estimation range and an initial invoice for the lowest number of hours required to complete it. Any additional time spent beyond the lowest hour estimate will be billed on a separate invoice once the final drawings are approved.

Still not sure what type of drawings you need? No problem! Schedule a 1:1 call with our Senior Drafting Specialist, who can help you determine the best way to present the concepts that you need to visually communicate. We offer drafting services for interior designers because we see the value of solid visual communication within the industry. We care about your business success, and we’re here to celebrate those big and small wins right along with you!

 

 

Proposal builder for interior designers

Proposal Builder Resource For Interior Designers

Stay profitable and close jobs with confidence.

Our simple Proposal Builder for interior designers will give you insight into how to create estimates that are profitable for you, clear for your prospective client, and thorough enough to protect your bottom line.

Click here to get access.

When you request access to the Proposal Builder, you will receive 4 emails over 4 days:

  1. A Proposal Builder will be delivered to your inbox immediately. This simple tool will help you determine how long a project will take. And that is what should determine what the project will cost.
  2. Once you complete the Proposal Builder and see our estimate for the project cost, we will follow up with a simple hour allocation “menu” that will help you understand how we calculated that estimate.
  3. Next, you will receive a breakdown of our formula for increasing your hourly rate to $750/hour, without charging your clients more.
  4. Finally, we’re going to send you access to a variety of other business resources such as contract templates, marketing guides, product education, how to’s, and more!

No spam, just actionable resources to help you be the best interior designer and business owner you can be.


Still have questions after going through our proposal builder, let’s work together 1-1 to create a custom interior design proposal builder, specific to you and how you work!
Reach out for a one-on-one Business Strategy Coaching Session. Our 4Dbiz team can help you save time, stay profitable, and grow your business with confidence.

Sourcing Fabric for Interior Design Projects

Sourcing Fabric for Interior Design Projects

Ask any interior designer about the most tedious tasks of the job, and it’s likely he or she will mention ordering furniture in the reply. It can be a long process, as there are many details to specify and confirm before an order is finalized. For example, if you are ordering upholstered furniture, sourcing fabric is another task in itself. It’s important to have a solid understanding of fabric quality and attributes, as well as price point, during the selection process. With this knowledge already under your belt, you will not only cut back time spent down an upholstery rabbit hole, but you will also minimize the risk of order errors and ensure that your client is receiving the best product available for its end use. Keep reading to learn where to start when sourcing fabric for interior design projects.

Interpreting Fabric Attributes

There are millions of different fabric choices on the market, so how do you narrow it down? You can start by reviewing the attributes of fabrics you like, but only if you first understand what these attributes mean. You should be able to find them listed on the specification sheet for the fabric. Pay special attention to the following attributes and how they can affect a fabric’s performance or application:

  • Rub Count – referred to as a certain amount of “double rubs” on a specification sheet, rub count indicates how well a fabric resists damage from abrasion. Every fabric is tested by a machine that rubs against it until it becomes worn. The number of rubs that it takes to wear down the fabric are recorded. The higher the rub count, the more resistant to abrasion a fabric will be. It is best to use fabrics with high rub counts in commercial settings where fabrics will be handled frequently by a large volume of traffic.
  • Flammability – this indicates how easily a fabric will catch on fire and burn. Fabrics undergo a test where they are placed in contact with a lit cigarette and the results are recorded as an NFPA 260 classification. For furniture, there are 2 classifications: Class I and Class II. Class I is less likely to burn.
  • Colorfastness – this indicates how long a fabric swatch will hold its original color. It’s especially important to note this attribute when you are designing for an area with lots of windows or skylights. Fabrics that do have strong colorfastness will fade very quickly.
  • Break/Tear Strength – like rub count, the break and tear strength relates to durability. Minimum weights are listed in the specifications for these attributes to indicate how much weight can be placed on a swatch of the fabric before it breaks or tears.
  • Chemical Treatments – some fabrics are treated with chemicals to enhance their performance. For example, they may be treated for stain resistance, wrinkle resistance, or as a water repellent. You will want to know if a fabric has any special treatments so that you can easily determine the best application for it. If it doesn’t, you may want to have it treated to preserve the life of the fabric in its original form. For example, you probably don’t want to use a very expensive untreated fabric for a family with three active children under the age of four. For practicality, it would be wise to look at stain-resistant fabrics that can endure a little mischief by tiny hands.
  • Care & Maintenance – be sure to check how a fabric should be cleaned and maintained before ordering as well. While this might not sound like a deal-breaker, for some applications, it is. You want to avoid selecting fabrics that are hard to clean and cannot easily be wiped down, especially in commercial settings, where those cleaning and maintaining the fabrics may not always be aware of specific care instructions.

Fabrics are typically accompanied by a specification sheet with detailed information about performance, care and maintenance, flammability, and more. 

Understanding the Fabric Grading System

While some big-box stores offer a limited selection of fabric options for furniture, most companies that regularly work with design professionals have a fabric grading system in place. The grading system is a built-in tool provided by companies to you in the right direction when sourcing fabric. You can use it for estimating the price of a fabric, or as a guide to identify which fabrics will be most appropriate for your application.

There is no universal grading system, so be sure to do your research on the company from which you are ordering and clarify the system that they use. This information can usually be found on the company’s website under a “Materials” or “Fabrics” section.

That being said, there is a general rule for how most grading systems work. Each fabric is assigned a letter to indicate quality, performance, and price point. A is the lowest grade, and the letter assignments continue consecutively as the quality and price point increase. For example, a fabric with a grade of A might be an inexpensive polyester that is not very durable for heavy-duty applications, whereas a fabric with a grade of L is probably a very expensive fine leather or high-performing vinyl with stain resistance and other special treatments.

The grading system works in reverse, too. Let’s say you know what price range you need to stay within, but you aren’t sure what fabric to recommend. Identify which grades are in your client’s price range, and use that as a starting point. Some companies have an option to filter fabric choices by grade on their website, so that you can search only for offerings within your price range.

What is COM?

It would be impossible for companies to include every fabric choice on the market in their grading systems. But even if the fabric that you want to use is not graded, you may still be able to use it. Most companies offer an option for COM, which stands for “Customer’s Own Material.” This option will expand your choices significantly and allow you to create truly one-of-a-kind pieces for your clients. But it also means that there are a few extra steps involved.

Because the quality and price points can vary greatly, COM has to be quoted individually on a case-by-case basis. It must be sent in for testing and approved by the company before an order can be placed. If your client is in a hurry to receive furniture, it’s important to note that this process can extend lead times.

When you sign up for a 4Dbiz account, you can easily order fabrics from our premiere fabric vendor, Covington Fabric & Design. It includes access to stock dealer pricing, with a 55% discount.

Sign up today for exclusive trade discounts from all our premiere vendors. 

 

interior design installation, before during and after

Interior Design Installation: Before, During, and After

As an interior designer, you probably already know that it can take several months of sourcing, ordering, planning, and coordinating to weave a project together. Installation is the final puzzle piece that brings your vision together. This is the moment your client has been waiting for! So it is important to navigate installation in a way that is organized and stress-free. With thoughtful preparation, your installations will run smoothly. Keep reading for tips on how to efficiently prepare before, during, and after an installation. 

Before the Interior Design Installation

The first step to a successful installation is setting a clear schedule and confirming with all parties involved. You should expect to receive a call from the installers when your items are ready for delivery, but you may have to follow up if you don’t.

Once you have pinned down a delivery date with the installers, make sure to confirm the date(s) with your client. Try to find out as much information about the site as you can to eliminate unexpected surprises when possible. Here are some helpful questions and items to address with your client:

  • Will you be on site during the installation? If not, what are the entry instructions?
  • Do you require a Certificate of Insurance (COI)? *Details below.
  • Are there any special requirements for the site? Some examples: 
    • For furniture being delivered to an upper level, is there access to an elevator?
    • Do elevators need to be protected with moving blankets? 
    • Where should installers park their truck?

It’s important to ask your client if they require a Certificate of Insurance (COI) for the installation. A COI shows proof that the installation company has insurance, in the event that an item is damaged or a worker is injured on the job. If your client does require a COI, you will need to ensure that you’ve requested and received the document from the company prior to the installation day. A COI typically requires your client’s name and address, along with any special requirements for the building. 

Be sure to relay any information that you gather to your installer. If you have floor plans or a list of items to be installed, send those to the installer ahead of time, too. This will give them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the site and clarify any questions they may have ahead of time. It is always better to provide more than enough information, so that everyone is on the same page during the installation.

Our 4Dbiz Virtual Design assistants are always here to help when the scheduling, communication, coordination, and preparation becomes too much. Work with our team by-the-hour, with no commitment. Click here to sign up.

What to Bring

In addition to the administrative prep work for an interior design installation, you will also want to pack some items that will be helpful to you on the actual installation day. Here is a checklist to get you started:

  • Floor Plans (2-3 copies, in case the installers don’t bring their copy or the client requests one on site)
  • Quick Reference List – make a simple list of items to be delivered, the details of each item, and where they will be located within the project site. When you’re on your feet directing the installation, it can be a huge help to have a list that you can reference quickly.
  • Order Information – include purchase orders, details of each item purchased, fabric and finish samples, etc. so that you can make sure the items being delivered are correct
  • Phone – you may need it for calls with the client, installers, or vendor; the camera also comes in handy for documenting deliveries, items that need follow-up, and the final results of the installation
  • Tape Measure
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Pens/Pencil 
  • Clipboard
  • Optional, Marketing Materials to leave behind – Referrals are an interior designer’s best friend! Leave your client with a business card or brochure so that they can share your information with friends. Email our 4Dbiz Marketing Specialist, Evelyn, if you need help creating an eye-catching brochure for your business.

During the Interior Design Installation

It’s a good idea to arrive at the site at least 10-20 minutes early on installation day. This will give you time to walk the site and do any last-minute prep for the installation. Many installers like to get an early start, so don’t be surprised if they are already there waiting for your instruction. However, some may also run late if they have trouble with parking or finding the site. Anticipate unexpected circumstances and stay on call. Keep your phone with you throughout the day and check it periodically, in case the installers need to contact you.

When the installers arrive, they may begin unboxing items without any direction from you. It’s up to you to intercept them and offer direction to ensure that the installation process goes according to your plan. Never assume that the installers know how and where each item should be placed, even if you previously sent them plans. As soon as they’ve arrived, introduce yourself and offer them an extra physical copy of the floor plans. Talk them through the location for each item and confirm that everyone is on the same page. Sometimes it helps to physically walk the space with them and show them how each item should be placed as well. If you plan to leave the site and return later in the day, request that the installers contact you when the job is complete and before they are ready to leave the site. 

You will need to return to the site when the job is finished to complete paperwork and sign for the delivery. Take your time to walk through the space and inspect items for any damage. Make note of any items that need to be fixed or replaced, and document them with photos as well. Don’t forget to include outstanding items on the punch list provided by the installers and request a copy of the paperwork you sign, too!

Speaking of photos, we highly recommend taking lots of photo and video content during installation. Take 30 minutes to get a few vignettes and detail photos. You don’t want to have to wait for your professional images to come back before you can start showing off your latest project on social media, do you? We also recommend you capture a few sweeping videos of the space to use for Instagram reels!

Need help with social media? Schedule a free 30-minute social media consultation today!

After the Interior Design Installation

After the installation, it’s important to see the job through to completion. Follow up with the client to ensure that they are happy with the results, and let them know about any outstanding items that need to be repaired or replaced. Stay on top of the installers to ensure that they properly address each and every note on your punch list. Once everything on the punch list has been addressed, reach back out to your client to schedule a photo shoot. Not only will the photos be great for building your portfolio, but it will also be a nice parting and thank you gift to your client!

A successful interior design installation has a lot of moving parts! When you need support, 4Dbiz is here for you.

Sign up for a FREE account today to join our community of design professionals.

4 Ways to Personalize Interior Design

4 Ways to Personalize Interior Design

Let’s be honest: interior design can be an incredibly competitive industry. Competition demands that interior designers stay on top of their game when it comes to standing out and making themselves known in the design world. One of the best ways to set your brand apart is by creating unique and memorable designs that have been tailored to fit each client’s individual needs, personality, and style. Read on for a list of four ways to personalize interior design concepts and make a lasting impression with your clients!

 

1. Incorporate Custom Millwork

Customizing millwork is an effective way to personalize interior design and make a statement. Millwork often occupies a large chunk of the square footage in kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms, so it makes sense to make it the focal point in these rooms.

The options are endless when it comes to custom millwork, making it easy to design something that has not been seen too often before. Start with the material, and you already have choices for laminate, wood, metal, and more. For wood cabinets, you can choose between paint and stain; within those categories, there are also hundreds of choices. Millwork can also be designed in different cabinetry styles, such as inset or overlay. Even after it has been produced, you can personalize millwork with custom hardware that fits your client’s individual style.

Designing custom millwork can be time consuming, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a 4Dbiz virtual assistant for support. Our assistants can spend time sourcing or provide you with shop drawings to speed up the process. They’ll help you save time and stay focused on the big picture of the design.

 

2. Choose COM Upholstery

Custom upholstery is another way to personalize a space. Most furniture manufacturers allow you to designate if you would like to use the customer’s own material (COM) for upholstered pieces. This option significantly broadens the possibilities for personalization. You can then tap into offerings from any fabric company, or you can even incorporate fabric that you or your client has personally designed.

Let’s say your client wants a silver metallic ottoman to coordinate with their modern decor. The ottoman manufacturer doesn’t offer that type of fabric, so you choose COM. All you have to do is find a fabric company that makes silver metallic fabric and send a sample to the manufacturer for testing. Once the fabric is tested and approved, the ottoman can be upholstered exactly how you and your client envisioned it.

As a 4Dbiz member, you can access a list of all your favorite fabric vendors through the online portal. Filter your search by offering to quickly display a list of all the fabric vendors. Each vendor listing contains a link to their website, so you can easily view their fabric offerings. You can also use the vendor directory to check on discounts, and to check if a particular furniture company offers an option to use COM.

 

3. Design Custom Furniture

Did you know that you can use the 4Dbiz Virtual Workroom to design and order custom furniture? Custom furniture is the perfect way to personalize interior design because it allows you the freedom to modify size, color, style, or any other element to fit in seamlessly with your concept. You can make a truly one-of-a-kind piece through custom furniture design.

You can submit a request for custom furniture online in the Virtual Workroom. We encourage you to provide as detailed of a description as possible. You can link the request to a specific client in your portal, and you will also enter shipping information for delivery when the custom piece is finished. There is an opportunity to upload concept photos, sketches, or shop drawings with your request as well. We’re dedicated to ensuring accuracy, so that your design vision comes to life just as you and your client imagined it.

 

4. It’s All In The Accessories

While furniture design is the most unique way to personalize interior design, the most cost effective way is through accessories. Spend some time getting to know your clients during initial meetings. Think about how you can incorporate little tidbits of their personalities and stories into the accessories you select for their space. For example, if you have a family-oriented client, perhaps you can create an artistic gallery wall showcasing photographs of loved ones. Or maybe your client is an avid traveler who has amassed a significant collection of souvenirs over the years. Those souvenirs just might be the perfect accessory to style living room shelves and simultaneously tell the story of your client’s global adventures!

 

Creating personalized interior design is all about storytelling and bringing your client’s dreams to life. When you’re passionate about the stories you tell, it just might help you earn recognition as a designer, too.

With an organized portal, plenty of free resources, and a team of knowledgeable virtual assistants ready to help, 4Dbiz can provide you with the support you need to make those dreams a reality!

Sign up for a free 4Dbiz account to learn more.

Free Tools for Interior Designers

Free Tools for Interior Designers

When your design business is booming and you’re especially busy, it’s easy to become a bit jaded by all the moving parts and pieces. That’s where 4Dbiz can help. In addition to paid services, members have access to a multitude of free tools for interior designers. Each tool has been designed to help you stay on top of the many tasks you juggle.

From business coaching to purchasing to virtual assistance to digital marketing, 4Dbiz offers the tools, technology, and team support you need to grow your business. We are a life-saving powerhouse team with the knowledge and expertise to skillfully take on any tasks you delegate to us.

Even if you’re not ready to start working with our team just yet, you can still give your business a boost with the resources on the 4Dbiz platform. We offer tons of free tools for interior designers to grow at their own pace. Let’s take a tour of the most helpful free tools we offer, shall we?

 

Client Management Portal

One of our most important free tools for interior designers is the client management portal. This portal allows you to keep a running list of all your active clients. It effectively condenses what could be a mess of papers on your desk into an organized space-saving system that’s convenient and easy to use.

Free Tool for Interior Designers - Client Management Portal

All client names and contact information are displayed alphabetically in a simple list format through which you can easily scroll or search. Under each client’s name, you will find additional tabs that tell you everything you need to know about that client’s design project. You can use the client management portal to:

  • Organize your to-do list for project deliverables
  • Keep track of billable time
  • Keep track of orders
  • Upload relevant images (inspiration, products, site photo documentation)
  • Digitally store floor plans and renderings
  • Write detailed notes about your client’s preferences
  • Submit requests for 4Dbiz virtual assistant support
  • Manage 4Dbiz virtual assistant tasks

A well-planned system of organization goes a long way for your business, your clients, and your sanity. Strong organizational skills convey a sense of professionalism and exceptional service, which allows you to build trust with your clients.

This free time management tool will not only help you stay organized, but it will also open up your schedule so that you can spend more time focusing on the fun stuff!

CTA here. Want to learn more about how to manage your clients effectively? Schedule a call with our team today!

 

To-Do List

4Dbiz’s To-Do List feature alone is worth its weight in gold for busy interior designers. We’ve done the work for you to set up an organization system that is straightforward and efficient. You can keep all of your tasks for every project organized, giving you the ability to quickly identify outstanding tasks and upcoming deadlines.

Say goodbye to pulling up 10 different documents and tabs when you work on a project! You can enter details for each task, including a description, the deadline, and estimated hours, in the To-Do List. Time spent on a task can also be tracked, and there is even an option to pass tasks to 4Dbiz’s virtual assistants when you’re feeling swamped. To-Do List Screenshot

You can add tasks directly in the To-Do List, or you can opt to import a list if you already have one that’s ten miles long when you become a member. As you complete them, tasks can be marked as complete. Completed tasks are separated from the outstanding tasks. You can still reference completed tasks, but they won’t bog down your list with unnecessary information or take your focus away from your priorities.

 

Virtual Workroom

Interior design can be a competitive industry, so you probably already know that it’s important to make your business stand out. One solution is to offer high-quality custom products that make your designs truly unique. However, sourcing custom products on your own can be a time-consuming process. That’s why 4Dbiz offers the Virtual Workroom.

Virtual Workroom Screenshot

With access to the Virtual Workroom, you can request estimates and order a variety of products and custom decor that fit your client’s needs. Examples of offerings include:

  • Drapery
  • Window treatments
  • Carpet
  • Platform beds/headboards
  • Bedding – pillows, cushions, and duvets
  • Custom furniture
  • Sample kits

4Dbiz members are not required to use our virtual assistant services in order to access the Workroom. It is a complementary resource that gives you the flexibility and creative freedom to be as innovative as you want with design projects.

 

Strategy Center

Now let’s switch gears and talk about the strategy for your design business. At 4Dbiz, we’ve got your back on this aspect, too! You can use our Strategy Center to develop and build on the foundation for your business and ensure that it operates smoothly.

Strategy Center Screenshot

Start by creating your business profile, which holds all of the pertinent information for your design business. The profile is designed to spark ideas and guide you through the process of developing a solid business model. In your profile, you can identify your:

  • Vision statement
  • Mission statement
  • Tag line
  • Customer avatar (your ideal client)
  • Client psychographics
  • Elevator pitch
  • Core values
  • Business goals (weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual)
  • Revenue goals (quarterly and annual)

Defining your goals and values up front will help you monitor your business success over time. It’s a good source of motivation to check in on your progress now and then, too. The “Revenue Goals” section even features an automatic calculator that allows you to track your progress towards your quarterly and annual goals.

Through the Strategy Center, you can also see how well you’ve optimized your business. If you’re looking for some additional support with marketing or business coaching, schedule a Strategy Session with Shayna Rose, or participate in a two-hour marketing and strategy boot camp for an additional fee.

 

Additional Tools For Interior Designers

In addition to the resources highlighted above, 4Dbiz offers a number of other free tools for interior designers. Members also enjoy the benefits of:

  • Educational resources: Our education portal is filled with an array of resources to help you succeed in the design world. There are:
      • Glossaries to improve your design knowledge and expertise
      • Live recordings of vendor showcases to refresh your product knowledge
      • Articles to keep you updated on the latest industry news
      • Templates, including client questionnaires and contracts drafted by legal professionals
      • Opportunities to submit requests: if you need an educational resource we don’t currently offer, email us and we’ll get your question answered quickly and efficiently!
  • Virtual industry events: Enjoy access to group discussions on marketing, networking events, marketing presentations, live product demonstrations, and an impressive lineup of guest speaker presentations
  • Order tracking: Keep order information for all pending shipments in one place, making it easy to do a quick check on all order progress. You can opt to receive assistance from one of our Product Specialists, and they will follow up on all orders on your behalf.

Free Tools for Interior Designers - Order Tracking

 

These are just some of the free tools for interior designers who are members of 4Dbiz.  If you’re ready to take the next step toward success for your design business, register for a free account today!

The Design Purchasing Process

The Design Purchasing Process

If you’re an interior designer, you probably learned early in your career that the design process is much more involved than most people think. It starts with an initial concept, long before you even have the materials, furniture, and accessories to transform a space. What some clients don’t realize is that all of those items are ordered by an interior designer who has the skills and knowledge to accurately specify them. The design purchasing process can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if you are new to navigating the purchasing side of the business. However, with the right tips and tools, you can ensure that the interior design purchasing process runs smoothly and efficiently from start to finish.

 

Design Purchasing Prep

It’s a good practice to do a little prep and research on your own to finalize your selections before you reach out for a formal quote. This will save you time in the long run, and empower you with confidence to make the best decisions for your clients.

Start with Specification

As you’ve probably learned from your own experience as a designer, most finishes and furnishings require detailed specification that goes beyond choosing a color and size. Companies and manufacturers usually provide a list of specifications from which to select when placing an order. These may include elements such as:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Finish (for tile, veneers, and other finishes)
  • Handing (for appliances and potentially anything with a door)
  • Type/Location of Power Unit (for benching)
  • Adjustability (for task chairs)
  • Locking Mechanism (for hardware)
  • Color Temperature/Color Rendering Index/Wattage/Dimmability (for lighting)

It’s especially likely that you will need to provide these detailed specifications if you are working on commercial design projects. For example, when specifying benching for a corporate office, you select the color and size, but you may also need to determine the type and location of power units, height adjustability, hardware color and style, type of ganging, and more.

Make Initial Selections

It’s recommended to prepare specifications before requesting a formal quote. It will spare you and the sales representative with whom you are working from having to make several revisions that could lead to inaccuracy and error on the final quote. Do your research carefully, consider your client’s specific needs, and compare specifications for quality across different brands.

Order and Check Samples

When you’ve made some initial selections, be sure to order samples of any finishes and materials on the product. Checking a sample before ordering helps to eliminate the possibility of an unwelcome surprise upon delivery.

Seek Additional Support

However, if you still find that you need a little help with specifications, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local sales representative! They are equipped with the skills and expertise to help you make the best selections, and most are happy to work with you to provide input and share their knowledge.

4DBiz also offers access to the Member Benefits Directory and help from product specialists. Register to become a member today so that you can order samples each month, streamline the payment process, and receive discounts through wholesale and trade accounts.

Open a Trade Account

The best part about purchasing as an interior designer? The discounts! Most furniture and finish companies offer discounts to professionals in the trade, ranging from 10 to 60% off the retail price.

Discounts are a useful tool of the trade to help you earn an additional profit for your business. You can mark up the cost of the discounted items when you sell them to your client, allowing you to make money for each piece of furniture that you sell. And when you’re furnishing an entire project site, those profits can add up quickly!

The only requirements are that you complete a trade account. If you have a seller’s permit, you may also send a resale certificate with your application so that you can make purchases with sales tax exemption.

When you fill out an application, be prepared to provide the following information and answer these questions:

  • Basic company information: Name, address, years in business
  • Preferred payment method: Will you keep a credit card on file?* If the company sends invoices to collect payment, do you need net 10, 15, 30, or 60 terms?

*It’s a good idea to clarify if there is a fee to use a credit card; some companies charge between 3.5-5% of the order total.

  •  Default shipping location: Will orders typically be received at your office? Does the shipping location have a forklift, lift gate, and pallet jack on site? Do you have a preferred carrier?
  • Trade references: Most companies request that you list other references who have done business with you. Your references should be able to vouch for you and your ability to make payments on time.

Request a Formal Quote

Once you’ve selected specifications and opened a trade account, you’re ready to request a formal quote.

Who to Contact

Sales representatives from the manufacturer are a direct line to the product source. They are typically quite knowledgeable about the product they represent and can be very helpful in answering questions about the product. Some manufacturers allow you to purchase the product directly, but more often than not, they will require you to purchase through a dealer or distributor.

Distributors purchase the product directly from the manufacturer, usually at a wholesale rate. They sell to dealers, who work directly with the public. When you purchase from dealers and distributors, you can most likely expect to receive a trade discount. However, keep in mind that the cost of the products will be more than if you had purchased directly from the manufacturer. Dealers and distributors include a markup in their pricing.

What to Provide

You will save a lot of back and forth time if you anticipate and provide the information needed to generate a quote when you first reach out. It’s also a good idea to gather as much information as you can, too. Make sure to cover these points in your request:

  • Project Name
  • Quantities Needed (square footage, yardage, number of sets, etc.)
  • Shipping address
  • Delivery and installation information: are there stairs? Do you need a certificate of insurance for the delivery?
  • Inquire about lead time and shipping/delivery/installation costs up front

Bill the Client for Design Purchases

Once you have a quote, the next step is to bill the client. It’s important to receive payment from the client before you place the order, as most companies require at least a partial deposit to send the order into production. Typical markup for clients can range from 10 to 45%.

Consider what discount you were offered with your trade account, and then mark it up for the client accordingly. For example, let’s say you open a trade account and receive a 50% discount on a lounge chair. The list price, or suggested retail price, of the chair is $1000. This means that the net price – your price after the discount – is $500. You can then mark up the product by whatever percentage you feel is appropriate. A 40% markup on $500 is an additional $200. This means that you just earned $200 in profits by ordering this chair for your client.

 

Complete the Purchase

You’ve gathered your specifications and formal quote, and you’ve received payment from the client. Now you are ready to efficiently complete your purchase. While making a purchase certainly isn’t rocket science, there are a few extra steps to take when placing an order professionally.

Send a Purchase Order

Companies expect to receive a purchase order to start the process. A purchase order can be compared to an online shopping cart. It typically lists each item that you are purchasing in detail, including specifications, quantities, and price. Purchase orders can easily be generated using software such as Quickbooks, Coupa Procurement, or Xero.

Be sure to double check your purchase orders before sending them! Useful tip: Keep your purchase orders with copies of the product cut sheets and highlighted specifications. It helps to keep a record of what was selected. Then you can always return to it later for quick reference. It’s a good idea to check your purchase orders against the specifications with a fresh set of eyes to ensure that you are not overlooking any important information.

Check with your sales rep to find out where to send purchase orders. You can often email them to the rep directly, who will enter the order for you. However, some companies have a special email address or fax number that is specifically designated for orders.

If you’d like to avoid some of the hassle of navigating the purchasing world, consider becoming a 4Dbiz member. You will earn access to an extensive directory that enables you to find information for products, such as lead time and cost, in real time. You can also enlist the help of a product specialist, who will save you time by placing and tracking orders for you.

Complete Payment

After you send in your purchase order, you will most likely need to either pay in full or make a deposit to get the ball rolling for production. Some companies do send invoices after the order has been placed, but it is essential that you clarify this when placing the order.

Be sure to ask about accepted payment methods. Companies almost always accept checks or wire transfers. Most companies accept credit cards, too, but they may charge a fee between 3.5 and 5%. If this is your preferred payment method, you can request a credit card authorization form. Fill it out, email or fax it back, and make sure you receive a confirmation that it was received.

Drawing/Finish Approval

Some purchases, especially custom and upholstered pieces, require drawing or finish approval before they can be sent to production. If an approval is required for your order, expect to receive a drawing of the custom product with detailed dimensions, or a physical sample of the selected finishes in the mail. Check the drawing/finish against the specification, sign if required, and send it back to the rep or orders team.

 

Design Purchasing Follow-Up

Hooray, you’ve placed the order! However, remember that the order is not complete until it’s installed at your project site and the client is satisfied with it. There are a few more moving parts and pieces to track as the order moves from production to the installers to the project site.

Purchase Tracking, Delivery & Installation

Tracking might just be the most vital step of the entire design purchasing process. After all, it doesn’t matter that you placed an order if it never arrives! Stay on top of tracking by creating an Excel spreadsheet that details important information you’ll need to know throughout the process. Here are some suggestions for what to include:

  • Product model number
  • Quantities
  • Purchase order number
  • Order number
  • Order date
  • Payment method
  • Shipping costs: were they included? Were they billed to the client?
  • Order status: estimated time of arrival, any outstanding parts and pieces
  • Location at project site
  • Tag/spec number for the floor plan

Follow up regularly for updates on the estimated time of arrival. For local projects, check to see if the delivery carrier or installer can call you ahead of time so that you can be at the site to receive the delivery. For distant projects, check with someone at the site, such as the contractor, to ensure that it was received on time.

If you are personally checking the delivery, be sure to bring your highlighted cut sheets, order information, and any finish samples that you have. Open the box and look for any damages or scratches. Check power for lighting and appliances. Make sure that the samples and order information match what was delivered.

Tie Up Loose Ends in Design Purchasing

When you’re working on large projects, it’s expected that there are going to be a few unexpected surprises throughout the process. You may experience shipping delays, items that arrive damaged, or missed deliveries. The best solution is to anticipate these snafus and be prepared to handle them.

When you dive into it, the design purchasing process is much more involved than most people realize. It’s a big job, and it’s a lot of work for just one person. If you find that you need help with sourcing, specifications, ordering, and tracking, you might want to enlist the help of a skilled virtual assistant from 4DBiz. Register today to get the help you need and streamline the design purchasing process!

Design Networking Strategies

Design Networking Strategies

You have the skills and knowledge, and you’ve taken the first step to starting up your own interior design business. But when it comes to design networking and finding clients, you’re not quite sure where to start. Does this sound like you? Or perhaps you’re already heavily invested in your design career, but there’s been a lull in new business lately. Business owners are known for having to wear many hats, including being the primary salesperson for their services. It can be overwhelming at times, but selling your services doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn how you can reach potential clients and build your business at the same time.

Digital Networking Strategies

In this day and age, technology is heavily relied on for both business and pleasure. So it can be extremely beneficial to utilize digital media as a powerful design networking and marketing tool.

 

Promote Your Business on Social Media

It is becoming increasingly necessary for businesses to have a presence on major platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest. Social media is at the fingertips of most of the world, and it has become useful for expanding one’s circle and discovering potential clients.

Gone are the days of high-pressure sales. Posting regularly on major social media platforms introduces your work to a broad audience and creates a sense of familiarity with them in a low-pressure environment. You can also use hashtags to make your posts show up in more searches and increase their visibility.

To fully take advantage of social media promotion strategies, you should maintain active involvement on major social media platforms. This includes:

  • Liking and commenting on others’  posts
  • Spending time in the “Explore” section on Instagram
  • Researching hashtags that are relevant to your field
  • Following accounts that could lead to potential referrals or collaborations down the road. You never know if the builder you follow might notice your work and ask you to design the interior of a project on which he’s been working!

 

Become an Interior Design Blogger

Starting a blog is another efficient way to network and make your business known in the digital world. An interior design blog can feature:

  • Creative decorating tips
  • Inspiration images
  • Behind-the-scenes looks at projects
  • Sneak peeks into the design process to show clients what they can expect from your services.
  • Anything else that shows off your knowledge and expertise in the field!

Blogging will help you gain credibility and build trust with the public more quickly. Interested readers will follow along, and when the time comes that they need help with a design challenge, your business information will already be in their back pocket.

There are opportunities to reach a wider audience and increase the revenue stream for your business through affiliate marketing. You can use your blog to highlight products or services in your projects, and many companies offer commission for recommending their products. Not only could you potentially increase your revenue, but you will also expand your reach by appealing to the followers of the company you are promoting.

 

Tailor Your SEO To Optimize Design Networking Opportunities

For those on a limited budget, search Engine Optimization (SEO) can make all the difference for your business. SEO involves using analytics and keywords that are attached to digital content to increase traffic from search engines. In other words, it’s a little boost in search rankings for your business. The best part? It’s free!

To improve SEO for your business, you can start by paying attention to these factors:

  • Brainstorm keywords and short phrases that you think your target market will search to find your services. Use an online research tool to confirm which of these phrases are searched most often and keyword difficulty (how many other businesses already have a high ranking for that search term.)
  • Keep titles simple and unique: include a strong identifying keyword, limit to 55-60 characters, and use words like “how” and “why”
  • Meta descriptions should be 1-2 sentences and include a very detailed summary of what readers can expect from your content. Don’t forget to include an identifying keyword!
  • Use short paragraphs and bulleted lists
  • Use headings and subheadings with keywords for visual appeal
  • Call-to-action buttons that guide your reader and help them navigate to your services

Online Advertising

If marketing services are within your budget, it can also be a good idea to consider investing in online advertising. Google Ads offers business owners the opportunity to promote services and products through search engines like Google, as well as on websites, videos, and mobile apps. Ads are pay-per-click (PPC), which means that you only pay for the ad when someone clicks on it. Major social media and e-commerce platforms also offer advertising services, including campaigns that start as low as $1 per day.

 

Launch Design Networking Email Campaigns

Email marketing campaigns are typically very successful in drumming up referrals and additional business from previous clients. Start an email list with current contacts who might be interested in your services, then focus on how to grow that list.

Use Lead Magnets

One effective tool for growing your email list is a lead magnet. Lead magnets offer free access to exclusive content, in exchange for the interested party’s contact information. This is a great way to identify who is interested in your services. You can build an email list, while also sharing your knowledge with potential clients. Examples of lead magnets include:

  • Newsletters and updates about your business – new projects, events, behind-the-scenes, etc.
  • Special offers for services
  • Whitepaper – offer in-depth product recommendations, design tips, or other educational information that will teach readers something new
  •  Surveys and polls – show readers that you’re interested in their input; this helps you learn more about your audience’s interests so that you can improve the appeal of future content as well

Email Campaign Tips

Send out periodic email blasts to everyone on your list, as a gentle reminder of your services, and make sure your content offers something valuable to your readers. You never know when an email might reach someone at a perfectly opportune time.

Still not sure what to include? Here are some additional ideas:

  • Introduction for new subscribers – describe your business, goals, background, anything you think will create a connection!
  • Relevant industry information – share case studies, the latest news in interior design, etc.
  • Calls to action – encourage readers to take immediate action

Find Additional Marketing Support

The challenge with navigating the digital landscape is that all of the design networking strategies listed above take time – time to learn, time to post, and time to grow. Outsourcing social media responsibilities for your design business can prove to be an effective solution. 4Dbiz offers marketing assistance from knowledgeable professionals who find satisfaction in collaborative work and celebrating business growth right alongside you. Contact Evelyn at 4Dbiz to schedule a call today!

 

Boost Your Design Business With Real-Life Connections

In spite of the emerging trend toward digital spaces, don’t overlook real-life connections either! There is something to be said for design networking in-person, as these interactions can make a more memorable and lasting impression.

Referrals

Sometimes drumming up business is all about who you know. For example, Client A approaches you with a small renovation project. You’re not sure if you should accept because it will take up a lot of your time, but you ultimately decide it sounds like a fun project. When the project is finished, Client A is so happy with the results that she tells all of her friends about it, including Client B. Client B is a developer and has been looking for a solid interior designer to assist with a multi-family housing project. Client A’s referral could not have come at a more convenient time, which means you’ve just earned yourself more business.

In-Person Design Networking Opportunities

Look for opportunities to get involved in circles with which you aren’t familiar. Here are some suggestions:

  • Collaborate with a contractor, builder, or even another interior designer who has a little more exposure than you
  • Do some volunteer work and partner with local organizations to show how your business is an impactful contributor in the community
  • Host workshops and special events at your own office or a public space to meet new people who might be interested in your services
  • Design networking can also be outside the industry. Find people who align with your values. For example, if your niche is sustainable interior design, find referral partners who are also interested in sustainability (you will probably have overlap in your ideal client) – You’ll have to reword this, but you get what I mean!

It’s always a good practice to keep your ears open for new opportunities to meet people. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!

Need a little more help getting started with design networking? Schedule a call with 4Dbiz today.

How to design and order custom drapery

How To Design And Order Custom Drapery

Ordering custom drapery for your client? Whether you are ordering through 4Dbiz or not, we want to help you sell products with confidence. When it comes to how to design and order custom drapery for your client, it is important that you know how to measure accurately, walk your client through design decisions clearly, and calculate your order confidently. Keep on reading for more details!

How To Measure For Custom Drapery

Print this drapery measure template and take it with you to the project site! As long as you have accurate measurements for A-H, you will be able to confidently order custom drapery.

You will need to print 1 copy for each wall you plan to dress with gorgeous new draperies.

How to design and order custom drapery

measure template for custom drapery

(Please note: This will not be sufficient for inside mounted shades. This template is solely for drapery.)

 

How To Design Custom Drapery With Your Client

As a designer, it is your job to help your clients understand their options for how to design and order custom drapery. Here are a few resources that you can keep on hand when consulting with your clients:

S Wave vs. Ripplefold Drapery

S Wave vs Ripplefold drapery

 

Common Drapery Pleat Types

Common drapery pleat styles

how to design and order custom drapery

butterfly drapery pleat

custom drapery pleat styles

custom drapery pleat options and styles

How To Calculate A Custom Drapery Order

how to order custom drapery

how to design and order custom drapery

We hope these resources come in handy the next time you’re stumped on how to design and order custom drapery for your client!

But if you need more 1-1 support and education when it comes to custom, schedule a call with our CEO Shayna Rose anytime.

interior design business coaching crash course

Interior Design Business Coaching Crash Course

interior design business coaching - maximize profit

What is your current method for pricing jobs, creating proposals, and closing sales? Does your final estimate end up being more of a “best guess”? If so, there is a 99% chance that you are consistently shaving your profit margin thin, and missing out on valuable income for yourself and your business.

 

interior design business coaching - using time efficiently

How are you currently managing your project workflow? Do you have a clear set of expectations with your client for every phase of work? If not, you are most likely working overtime, essentially giving away your valuable design time for free. But you deserve better than that!

 

interior design business coaching - operations and systems

Do you manage a team? If so, are you thoughtfully delegating work in a way that gives you more freedom and fulfillment – or have you just replaced design work with putting out day to day fires? If you are in the process of building your company and growing your team, you need to have a streamlined system of procedures in place.

 

If any of these scenarios sound a little too familiar – don’t worry. You are not alone! These are common pain points that we hear from interior designers ALL the time. And that’s why we created a 2-4 week interior design business coaching Crash Course. To help you increase profits, save time, and bring some JOY and FREEDOM back into your interior design business. But… how? Here’s the bottom line:

 

Making more money while saving time all comes down to working efficiently.

 

In just 2-4 weeks with our 4Dbiz Executive Team, you can have all of the tools you need to run a more streamlined and efficient business. You can have your business operations clearly outlined in a simple, easy-to-follow document. You can create a personalized calculator that will make building detailed proposals and estimates a breeze. All by going through what we call our Business Roadmap & System Of Procedures Crash Course. For a limited time only, you get all of this for just $1995.00.

How It Works: 

  • 2-Hour Interior Design Business Coaching Bootcamp with 4Dbiz Co-Founders Shayna and Evelyn, where we will do a deep dive into your current operations.
  • Up to 4 hours of 1-on-1 with Shayna to thoroughly overhaul your existing systems, find opportunities for improvement, clarify what’s working, and identify any gaps that need addressing.
  • Up to 1 hour of Shayna working independently to supply all deliverables (listed below).
  • Up to 2 hours of 1-on-1 marketing consultations with Evelyn to audit your current marketing strategy, identify areas for improvement, outline your ultimate business goals, and create a marketing strategy to help you reach them.

Deliverables: 

  • System Of Procedure document, outlining your entire design process in detail.
  • Organized client folder ready to be duplicated for all future projects.
  • Templated proposal builder to help you build effective proposals and maximize profit in every project.
  • Recommended marketing strategy, complete with expectations for cost, timeline, set up, and on-going content plan.
  • Search Engine Optimization report with recommendations for how to improve your rankings.

 

We only take 2 interior designers into this course per month – so don’t wait!

GET STARTED TODAY.