How to Stay on Budget for Your Design Projects

Setting a budget - and sticking to it - can be one of the hardest and most stressful parts of an interior design project. Especially today! Costs are rising every day on both supplies and furnishings, and it's so important to lock in pricing when you can. But once you FINALLY have set a budget, the next challenge is ensuring that you don't get off track. It won't always be absolutely perfect, but there ARE some things you can do to stay on budget. I call them "Budget Maintenance." Give these ideas a try!

1. Honesty Is the Best Policy

The very best thing you can do is to be very honest with your clients up front about the costs of their project. You want to give them a general idea of what the budget should be before they EVER sign an agreement with you. I can hear you say: "But what if I scare them off, Kathleen??" That could happen, but would rather have to go back to them again and again to ask for more funds because you weren't honest with them (or YOURSELF) about the budget?? That won't create trust, and it won't leave you with a happy client at the end of the day. So give them a very good idea of what the budget SHOULD be before you even start. 

2. Have a Contingency Plan

We all know that saying about the best laid plans, right?! You and I both know that things can and will go wrong on almost every project. So it's always a good idea to have a contingency plan and a budget to deal with it. Especially if you're undertaking a major renovation. There's always something in those walls that we didn't count on! HA! Tell your clients that you want to have a bit of a cushion - maybe 10% to 20% of the overall budget - set aside just in case. And explain WHY. They'll be glad that you're looking out for them. And if there's money left over at the end of the project, they'll thank you for the bonus!


3. Stay Organized

The worst thing that can happen to a budget is when a deadline is missed. Or when you have to reselect a sofa over and over. Those mistakes and mishaps can often be avoided if you and your team stay on top of every detail. And the only way you can do THAT is if you are organized and have great systems in place. You want your team to be as efficient and effective as possible - time REALLY is money in this case! Remember that if you need help getting systems in place, check out my Project Management with Asana course. Check out the PS.

4. Communication is Key

Constant and regular communication with contractors, subs, AND your client will help keep your budget on track. You want to know about any issues as soon as they crop up so you can formulate the best plan for dealing with them. And you want your clients to know right away when you have a solution! You also want to let them know when there's a procurement issue so you can make re-selections as quickly as possible. That communication will help you keep the project moving, and it will keep the trust between you and your client.

Download my FREE Guide for Staying on Budget here! That has more great tips to keep things from spinning off track!

PS. If you need to keep your design projects on track, avoid dropping the ball on hundreds of design details, delegating tasks and staying organized, check out the Project Management with Asana course. You're projects will be organized in no time!

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