When people get in touch for the first time to enquire about our services, we first have a telephone or zoom call to find out more about them and what they need help with.  The natural next step is an in-home visit.

In this article I’ll answer why we make a charge for the first home visit and treat it as a working consultation meeting. 

Firstly, if a homeowner has got in touch about interior design services it is because they have a problem they need solving and an end goal in mind.  Perhaps they don’t have time or the creative flair to do it themselves, or they are overwhelmed with the scale of work involved or are new to the area with no local contacts or knowledge.  

If we’ve been invited to someone’s house the owner will expect us to give advice on their situation, ways to overcome any hurdles and come up with some initial ideas – regardless whether they are paying for the visit or not. 

It usually very apparent to us what changes could be made to help the homeowner achieve their aims and answer any questions they ask and offer solutions.  If fact it is pretty impossible to stop ideas being blurted out of our mouths!

Our primary service is the design of interior spaces and on free visits we always ran into a conflict between the homeowner wanting answers to their questions and suggestions on the spot and our expectation that we will be paid for our professional expertise and the ideas we will give them.  Consequently, where the visit is free most designers will hold back from giving out any ideas.  This frequently leads to the meeting being unproductive and underwhelming for the homeowner and frustrating for the designer. We think there is a better way to do this, in a way that satisfies both sides

Let me give you an analogy – if you have a painful back and you ask a physiotherapist to visit your home would you give up an hour of your time to have them talk about how much it hurts?  No, you would like them to give you a massage and exercises to help improve the situation, and if you were impressed with the improvement, you will book a course of treatment. 

Equally, the physio’s time is precious and they also would expect to have a paid appointment and make an immediate difference to their prospective client’s life instead of sympathising about how much pain they are in and then returning for a separate visit to diagnose in more detail and treat them.  Of course, the homeowner would normally go the physio, so to have one do a home visit would be a premium service!

Interior designers do work in different ways, and indeed some will come out and visit you free of charge but for the reasons mentioned above, we prefer to arrange a paid visit so we can give you great value and advice by sharing preliminary ideas and suggestions unreservedly and make the best use of everyone’s time.  For a small outlay you get to see us in action and will gain confidence that we know what we are talking about and are indeed experts.  We’ll also explain the necessary steps to overcome the issues you are experiencing and how that might be achieved.  You’ll also be able decide if we are the right fit for your project.

What about builders and architects and some trades people visiting your home without charging I hear you ask?  It’s a good question and probably the main reason why someone would assume that interior designers would do the same.  

In fact many architects do now make a consultation charge if they are going to be sharing ideas.  They also offer something that the vast majority of home owners would never attempt to do themselves, likewise builders. 

It’s a bit different with interior design because many people want to give it a try themselves, though with varying degrees of success.  However, those people who ‘get’ the difference a professionally designed space has on the way they feel and navigate through it and the value it adds to their home will always invest in that service because it provides huge long term emotional benefit and an insurance policy against making mistakes.  They want to do it once and do it right.

Nonetheless, a design consultation can set you onto the right path with ideas and advice if you don’t want to hire a designer to handle your project.

Our guarantee: We are so confident that our paid first consultation will give you huge value and actionable advice, that we guarantee to refund the cost should you feel that has not been the case.  It is a win win for both sides.

Our consultations charges start at £450.  The price varies according to the number of rooms involved and travelling distance.

If you would like to have a chat about your project or book a consultation, please get in touch via the form on the contact page, or info@thehouseministry.co.uk