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.
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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
- 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!
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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.
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