Why Discounts Are Hurting Business

Why Discounts Are Hurting Business

When you discount your services, you are undercutting the value of the entire industry.  Ever bought a Groupon for a discounted exercise class, but then never went again for full price?  If you pay less for something it is really hard to fork over more money later.  When you lower the price of something, it sets a precedent and people don't want to pay more for it.  The perceived value goes down.  This may not matter when you are first starting or if you are in a slump and need whatever clients you can get, but it will matter when you are wanting to get paid more for your services or want to work on higher budgets.  It also matters to all the other designers out there working their butts off and growing their businesses.  

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THE BUSINESS OF DESIGN: SHOWROOM DISCOUNTS

10 things interior designers won't tell you - you don't need me to get big discounts from showrooms

Part 7 of breaking down the article, 10 Things Interior Designers Won't Tell You, start at Part 1 to learn more!

YOU DON'T NEED ME TO GET BIG DISCOUNTS FROM SHOWROOMS

Any designer who picks out new furniture or fabrics for you will probably make the purchases at "trade only" showrooms, where goods are priced up to 50% below retail. Although these showrooms were traditionally the exclusive domain of design professionals, that is not necessarily the case today.

According to Barbara Schlattman, a Houston, Tex., interior designer, many design centers have programs where ordinary shoppers can come to the showroom to be paired up with a designer. The designer will then help you pick out items, often at a discount below the list price. But call ahead to see if the design center near you has a similar program. "Potential buyers might get there and find out they need an interior designer's license card just to get in the front door," says Schlattman.

I am not sure if any design centers are closed to the public anymore, recently one of the last hold-outs, the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, opened its doors to the public.  But that doesn't mean that just anyone can walk in and make a purchase.  Some have programs as the quote above says that you can purchase through a registered designer or certain showrooms will have a designer "on-staff" or other accommodations for clients.

By opening to the public, design centers are making design more accessible and less elitist, which I think is great.  It is starting a dialogue on design and shining some light into the once very elusive practice of "to-the-trade only".  I love for clients to take a look at what is out that and be able to speak to the showrooms about the quality of their goods and perhaps why their sofa is $10,000 when they can get a very similar style at Pottery Barn for $1500.  You can only make better more-informed decisions by educating yourself.

There are people whose job title is "shopper", but I am not a shopper.  Meaning that it is not my sole job to go shop for goods for client's homes.  I am a designer and my job is to look at a client's lifestyle, tastes, preferences, room layout, architecture, and to process that into a design plan for the room or their home.  So, if you only want me to buy you a sofa at 50% off retail you have missed the point of hiring an interior designer.  But if you have hired me to design a room or your home, you will get my discount.

How do you feel about to-the-trade only?

read the entire series:

1. SHOP IN THE RIGHT STORE AND YOU MAY NOT EVEN NEED ME 2. MY TITLE DOESN’T MEAN VERY MUCH 3. YOU MIGHT AS WELL USE MY ESTIMATE AS WALLPAPER 4. YOU’D SAVE A BUNDLE IF YOU KNEW HOW I SET MY FEES 5. MY BILLS ARE LADEN WITH HIDDEN COSTS 6. IT’S NOT IN MY INTEREST TO HUNT FOR BARGAINS 7. YOU DON’T NEED ME TO GET BIG DISCOUNTS FROM SHOWROOMS 8. I PREFER BIG PROJECTS, BUT I’LL TAKE WHATEVER I CAN GET 9. YOU HAVE LITTLE OR NO RECOURSE IF I SCREW UP 10. MY WORK IN ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST IS A MIRAGE