A number of years ago at Pearl Collective, we realized there was a huge gap in information available to interior design business owners. Many of our clients, for whom we were an interior design business coach, told us they often felt like they were trying to run their businesses in a vacuum. Either they had no peer connections, or other owners, fearing competition, were reluctant to share information about their business practices. While some interior design organizations and media regularly publish reports on macro industry business trends, no one was looking into the actual day-to-day operations of interior design businesses.
To help fill that need, we decided to conduct our own study of interior design businesses. In 2009, we launched the Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey to learn more about the challenges interior business owners were facing and how they were operating their firms. We were especially interested in gathering information about what owners most want to know but prefer not to share, such as their revenues, profit, fee structure, mark-up rates, and salaries. Much to our surprise, hundreds of designers responded, thanks to the anonymous nature of the final results. Many have continued to respond year after year. And the number of new respondents each year has grown as well.
Interior design business information you won’t find anywhere else
Over time, the survey has expanded to include more and more topics. This year we renamed it the Interior Design Business Survey to reflect its more comprehensive coverage beyond just fees and salaries. We gathered responses from nearly 900 interior design practitioners on a wide range of business-related areas:
- Business conditions 2022 vs. 2023 and outlook for 2024
- Sales and revenues 2022 and outlook for year-end 2023
- Fee structure, rates and mark-up
- Current business challenges and strategies to deal with them
- Current staffing—numbers of employees and types of positions
- Hiring trends—increase or decrease, what positions, how many; future plans
- Salaries—average by position
- Commissions—how common, how much, on what
- Future business outlook—impact of economy on clients, requests for projects; supply issues
- Succession planning—how prepared, retirement plans
- Firm demographics—location, years in business, size, specialty areas
What we report are not government estimates or projections based on an economic model but information provided from interior design business owners like you. Our sampling is comprehensive and reliable, representing all regions of the country. And you won’t just get the raw data. We’ve showcased the most important correlations of data and provided our own industry expert analysis.
Trends and developments that matter to your bottom line
Design media focuses on aesthetic and lifestyle trends that influence what clients may ask for. Alternatively, we analyze owner-provided data to see how interior design firms are performing, so you can evaluate how well your business is doing. In this year’s survey, for example, we collected data that would help us assess business trends such as:
- Are firm revenues trending up or down?
- Is the demand for design services holding steady or slowing down?
- Are clients changing their requests—and budgets—for projects?
- Has the competition for design talent eased?
- Have employee demands for higher salaries and more benefits subsided?
Use this information to inform your business and staffing plans. Get a new perspective on the market and where future opportunities may lie. Assess where you can improve your operations. Evaluate whether your current fee structure, mark-up, or salaries and benefits need adjusting.
Information supported by insights
Unlike other industry surveys, we don’t just report on the responses we receive. We look for the connections between the data. Pearl Collective provides an assessment of where businesses could be making improvements to increase revenues and grow their business. Throughout the report we call attention to underlying operational patterns that can enhance or impede business performance.
As an added bonus, in this year’s report we take a systemic look at the factors and behaviors that inhibit many interior design firms from growing and achieving the level of success they deserve. And at the end of the report, don’t miss the Consultants Corner, in which Gail Doby and Ken Roberts provide their expert advice on how to best respond to current business conditions.
Get the full report to delve into the details
Presented in easy-to-digest charts and graphs, the 2023 Interior Design Business Survey—Findings & Trends report is a must-have for any interior design business owner. To request your free copy, click the button below.