Saturday, February 16, 2013

Do You "Really" Need an Interior Designer

Odd topic you would say, right? You will say "everyone needs a designer provided one can afford it".
You may find it odd hearing this coming from someone from the fraternity (a.k.a. me) that.

1. Not everyone who can afford a designer actually needs one &
2. Every one can actually afford an interior designer

Let me explain what I mean. Over the last few years having been in this line & having met & spoken to multitudes of people making their homes I feel one can categorize home makers broadly into the following 3 groups

Type 1. Folks who know exactly what they want, have the time and a deep desire to be closely involved in each aspect of home making, love spending their weekends looking out for stuff for their new home & possibly have someone or can themselves supervise daily construction.

If you belong to this category then you definitely DO NOT need an interior designer to help you, simply because you are mostly good enough to help yourself. What you DO NEED however is a good Carpenter to execute what you have already created in your mind.

If you are the Type 1 described above but do decide to hire an interior designer you run a serious risk of  (1) "Clash of the Creative Juices"  and (2) "the designer is the carpenter syndrome" a situation which you as well as your designer will hate to be in. What will suffer in the end will be the work and the final output.

Type 2: Folks who know what they want, don't know how to do it and don't have the inclination or the time to learn how to either.
If you are type 2 then you are an ideal case to benefit from hiring an interior designer. The designer will bring in explicit expertise to fine tune your thoughts and specialist workmen to ensure that those thoughts end up in matching output. Also the fact that you ride on the supply chain efficiencies of the designer will ensure genuine material, timely execution and lower cost (...more on the cost later).

Type 3: Folks who don't know what they want.
If you are Type 3 and making a home then STOP. First spend some time to think through what you want. Make a list of the things that you need in your new home & have a broad budget based how much you want to spend on your interiors ... with a little bit of stretch.
Once you have done that, identify whether you now belong to the group Type 1 or Type 2 above and proceed (this is somehow starting to sound like computer programming logic:) )

To my second point - "Everyone can actually afford an Interior Designer".
In my analysis, most designers, given they are scrupulous and actually use the material they promise, would make a pre tax margin of between 10 - 15% on an average because if they are over 15% they will be priced out of the market & if they make less than 10% (= 7% post tax) then its not worth it.

A designer's supply chain efficiency itself balances out this payout. What I mean by that is that if you were to go into the market to purchase the material & quality labour on your own, you will end up spending 10 - 15% more than what your designer will spend because of the designer's established supply chain. So in effect the designer's service is coming to you at zero cost.

Additionally, if you were to do it - add to this the cost of

1) Your time & effort
2) The risk of spurious material
3) The risk of a mess up leading to rework.
4) The designers expertise built over years brought in for your project
5) Time delays due to the workers running off [the designer running off is still comparatively lower risk : )]

Net net - if you are Type 2 then hiring a designer is a Win - Win. However if you are Type 1 - then don't risk it.

The cat is among the pigeons now... as always would look forward to your comments & feedback.

Signing of