Your interior design business in 6 steps

JAN 10 2020

This is a small guide on how you can build your very own interior design business in Italy. From getting started to legal requirements you'll need.
plan, business, interior, design

You might already have the experience under your belt or you’re looking to get into this field. In an earlier post, I covered what an interior designer and architectural designer were. Now we want to know how exactly do you start your interior design business? Like with starting out your own anything business wise, it’s a tough but not impossible feat to accomplish.

Below I’ll go through some bare basic points you can follow to begin your interior design business in the Province of Lecco.

What you need before starting your new business

There are a few things you are going to need to progress in your new career. First some kind of training or experience and actual work to show what you can do. Anyone can call themselves a merchant without any items to sell so, what you buy from them?

Without these two, you are more than likely to fail before you even begun. Let’s look at some ways you can get up to speed within the interior design world.

Training and experience for your interior design business

interior design business, starting, camera, lens

Source photo: Pexels

Before we get a nice strong portfolio going, we are going to need some knowledge and experience behind us. There are many ways to obtain these two, some ways are convenient but can cost, and other some ways require a lot of self discipline for next to nothing. Keep in mind that if you are serious about pursuing your own business, you will have to spend in some way or another.

For locals, I’ll cover where are some of the places you can seek training to becoming an interior design photographer.

Getting some training

There are a number of places you can visit for courses on photography to get you started. For example Accademia italiana has a short summer course with an enrolment fee of €200 and tuition fee of €1000. Their workshop is based on Lungarno delle Grazie 22. For interior design, you can visit Accademia Riaci in Florence. They offer interior design, furniture design and architectural design.

The alternative to a paid course is doing a lot of research online and in your local library. They’re plenty of video tutorials on photography to get the training you need.

Getting some experience

Can you be an interior designer without a degree? Absolutely. Like with most jobs, you need to gain some experience after you gain some sort of training. You might have some work from your previous courses you’ve taken, or from the research you’ve done.

You can get some referrals through people you know, maybe some friends or family members that might have some kind of connections. Another way you can some real world experience is by approaching local landlords, realtors, camera shots, furniture companies and offer up to be an assistant. Or, you can even attend events or art galleries, discuss with event managers stating that you’re looking for some experience. Even offering some free work can be an option, most likely guaranteed to get the shoots you are looking for.

A portfolio showcasing your work

Let’s say you have the training and experience, another step closer to starting your interior design business. Now you want to showcase your work. The best way to go about this is have a website and web hosting for your services. They’re are a ton of cheap hosting and methods to getting a basic site up and running for when you’re just starting you.

You will need to state where you are based, your services, your contact details and your work. Once you have these on lock, you can then start blogging ( like me! ). Blogging is a large avenue to catching your potential new client’s eye. You can write about what you’ve learnt, share techniques you’ve used or ever review equipment or software you have used.

Getting Started

legal, sign, business

Source photo: Pexels

So you finally have the training, some experience and a website to showcase your work. Now it’s time to set up your business and start getting those clients. Some previously mentioned points may need to be repeated but now you can start charging more for your services.

Believe it or not but the hardest part is the initial start and you’re already half way there. So, I’ll go over some of the basics of what you can do kick start your interior design business in no time.

Finding your niche

With all your gathered knowledge from the beginning, you can now refine the way you do interior design photography. Find out what sets you apart from all of the rest of the interior designers and photographers. For a start, you already offer both interior design and photography!

You can even niche down and become an architectural design photographer that covers the interior aspects. Or a furniture design photographer. Even going further as to adding on styles such as minimal interior photographer. As you can see the combinations and paths you can choose are broad.

Documentation and getting legal

Having all of your documents is extremely important to go about your business properly. You MUST keep track of everything that goes on such as your income, outcome, clients you’ve worked with, clients you turned down, invoices, contracts and basically everything that you do will have to be in some form of writing.

Why? This protects your business and your self when, say for example a client refuses to pay you or you have been accused of something that has nothing to do with you.

When your business is flowing, consider hiring an accountant so you can focus on your work. Also hiring a lawyer to help you with legal issues is also very handy.

Doing things in Italy

So you have a basic idea of what’s needed but you also need an action plan to get your interior design business in motion. A common way is to follow a seven step plan.

  • We’ll start with opening up a bank account in your business’s name and depositing 25% into your new account.
  • Public deeds of incorporation and company must be executed by law before tax is paid. This is a fee of €260.
  • Buy the corporate and accounting books. This is a fee of €15 per 100 pages and €30 per 500 pages.
  • Pay a government grant tax into your local post office account. This is a fee of over €500.
  • If you’re hiring, register company and employment books with the INPS office within 5 days of hire.
  • Lastly, get a fiscal code and VAT number. Register your business’s trading with the Italian tax office.

Final thoughts

It took me many years to figure out the ropes to starting my own interior design business. I failed a few times at the start because I lacked the proper knowledge at the time.

There is going to be times where you fail badly but that does not mean you should ever stop pursuing your goals. This is just a part of the process of growing your own business and coming back stronger than before.

Hopefully this small guide gives you the boost needed to build a successful interior design business.