What Are You Selling, Design or Discounts?

Day 1_0321

Lloyd speaks to interior designers during the Business of Luxury Design (BOLD) Summit in Las Vegas, August 28-29, 2014.

I hear from many designers who feel their services are undervalued in today’s market. Not only do clients want to take on more of the project, but they also tend to balk at what they perceive to be pricey designer fees. To compensate, some designers are attempting to entice clients with designer discounts on purchases. While that might land a client or two, it sends the wrong message about your role and devalues your worth even further.

Without question, designer services are a tough sell in today’s DIY-centered market. It takes persistence and creativity to find the right clients. Nonetheless, you need to decide which business you are in. Do you want to be hired as a designer or as a discount broker?

Your mantra should be, “It is not my job to save my clients money, but to help them spend their money wisely.” Trade discounts compensate you for the knowledge, care and time you expend on getting just the right product for your client. They should not be bartered like coupons.

From the start, establish your value as a designer. Discuss with the client the scope of services that they want undertaken, and then explain how you provide value at each step of the process, being clear about how and why you charge for particular services. Justify your worth; don’t trade it for a shopping list of to-the-trade goods.

Need help determining how to set your fees? Join me for my upcoming presentation, “Deciding What You Are Worth and Charging It,” Friday, November 7, 2014, at the Cosentino Cincinnati Center. To register, visit the ASID Ohio South/Kentucky Chapter website.

Las Vegas Wedding Photographers, Las Vegas Family Photographer,



Instant updates by email.

3 responses on “What Are You Selling, Design or Discounts?

  1. Elizabeth Carrasco

    Thank you for setting the record straight! I never understood why professionals would hand over their remuneration to a client and turn a business profit into a charitable cause. There are plenty of other ways you can show your client your appreciation, while maintaining your credibility. I totally agree that it should be about value, not cost, and if the Design Professional doesn’t believe in the value of their services then the client never will!

  2. Lloyd Princeton Post author

    not sure if the record will ever be straight!!! also, it is impossible to sell “professional” services when leading with “we will help you save money on product”. it’s pretty easy to always find something less expensive….