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General Upholstery Questions and Comments => General Discussion => Topic started by: lc on February 28, 2012, 10:16:45 PM

Title: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lc on February 28, 2012, 10:16:45 PM

I have so many questions !! sorry I am a pest...

What do you do when an interior decorator / designer approaches you ?,...she is charging a high price to her customer but she wants me to cut my prices down...How do you deal with these people ??

  I had one that made me feel cornered and at one time I would bow down on my price ..
I didn't this time and I haven't heard from her since.
Anyone have run-ins with this ? How do you deal with these people ?
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: kodydog on February 28, 2012, 10:55:26 PM
The decorator makes their money by charging by the hour and by the yard. If you offer a high quality product then this is all they should be concerned with. Your making the decorator look good by delivering custom upholstered furniture in a professional manner and sometimes you have to remind them of this.

Two weeks ago I saw a car in a shopping center with a designers sign on the side. I sat in my van with card in hand. When she came out of the store I introduced myself and handed her my card. The first thing she asked was what kind of discount I give to designers. When I said 10% she said, is that all, how am I supposed to make any money? I ignored her and went directly into my spew about my services, how my quality will make her look good and offered to show her a chaise that was in the back of my van.

Over the years I've had designers ask me to charge the customer more and give them a kick back. This seems unethical to me and I pass.

I do a lot of work for 3 decorators who's only concern is a quality job. They refer me to the customer and I usually bill them directly. If the designer wants to handle the billing then I have no problem if they mark up my labor.

If its a big job I'll give a discount. But how can you give a discount on one or two pieces?
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: sofadoc on February 28, 2012, 11:19:23 PM
I charge them the same price as anyone off the street. Most of them around here just have the customer pay me directly. They just make their markup on the fabric, and whatever "fee" they charge.

Like kody, I have some who only care about the quality of the job. But I have others who would go to the competition if he was 5 bucks cheaper than I am (and they often DO). They're the same ones who are buying the fabric from "seconds" outlets.

I used to have decorators who didn't want me even having contact with the customer. They would hire a seperate courrier service to pick up and deliver.

Over the years I've had designers ask me to charge the customer more and give them a kick back. This seems unethical to me and I pass.
It's all in how you look at it. While you call it a "kickback", others might refer to it as a commission, or a finder's fee. But like you, I never engaged in that practice either.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lc on February 28, 2012, 11:33:11 PM

Your dead on about them sometimes going to the lowest priced upholsterer
..many years ago we had a chair brought in by a designer who was upset ...the customer wasn't happy with it. so she brought it to us to look at .
It was a mess !
A chanel / fluteback that had no padding and wrinkle city !  the outside back was hollow., no padding there either .  She got this person because they worked from her basement and not above board as a business...a dyi that probaby didn't charge much .....I'm glad to hear there are decorators out there with a brain.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: kodydog on February 29, 2012, 08:04:17 AM
I love the designers I work for. They are easy to work for, they have personality and treat me as an equal.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: Joys Shop on February 29, 2012, 08:18:06 AM
the decorators I work with get paid by selling the fabric and charging the customer a fee

I give the customer my price for doing the pieces, and charge them directly

The decorators keep their hands out of that part of it

(except if they have any requests for changes to the piece)

Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lc on February 29, 2012, 09:08:34 AM

I like the idea of dealing with the customer , I'll remember that when aproached next time ., we have a couple of decent ones here that work well with us it's the ones that make me try to lower my price it can be a bit intimidating ., this particular one seemed to look down on me as though I was under her .....I am dressed for shop work and my shop a mess while working but it doesn't mean I am under her class.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: mike802 on February 29, 2012, 10:29:53 AM
You can bet when a decorator asks you to lower your price they are keeping the difference to line their pocket.  I have a decorator who I work for that does not want their customer to know who I am.  I wear shirts with my company name on them, so I don't actually have to tell them who I am, but if they should ask for a card I will provide one.   The decorator has told me in the past that they do not want me telling their customer who I am and I honored that for a while, but I have recently learned they are using a second upholster.  I don't blame them for using a different upholster, I can get backed up, or sick and it is in there best interest to have an alternative, but if the decorator is unwilling to give me an exclusive then why should I give them one?  I am interested in building my business not theirs.  I have a good financial relationship with this decorator though, I charge my going rate and they pay me on time.  They have mentioned that if I lowered my prices I could pick up more work from them.  That sounded brilliant, work more for the same amount of money, I decided to pass.  What this really said to me was, we like your work better than the others guys, but he's cheaper.  I have decided if they get really mad at me for giving out business cards to those clients who ask and drop me, I am going to start a major add campaign in their area.  I think it is sad that they have so little faith in their ability as a decorator that a skilled upholster threatens them so much, I admit that I am no decorator.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: sofadoc on February 29, 2012, 11:08:06 AM
My Grandmother used to say "Watch out for decorators! If you let 'em, they'll have you pourin' piss out of a boot!"
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: fingers on February 29, 2012, 06:10:49 PM
I used to have considerable disdain for designers/decorators. I'm coming around though. Simply put, you have to cull the herd. Either they like the work you do or they don't. Toasted ice comes to mind. Respect yourself when you lay your head on the pillow at night.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: gene on February 29, 2012, 07:10:14 PM
sofadoc: Your grandmother must have been a hoot.

I'm wondering what she meant by that? My guess is that she was saying that designers could scare you so much that you would pee your pants and the pee would collect in your boots and you would then have to pour out the pee from your boots. Am I close?

gene
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lc on February 29, 2012, 07:13:32 PM

    I think she is saying some of us are too soft
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: sofadoc on February 29, 2012, 07:31:37 PM
I never fully understood it myself. I think she meant that they (decorators) take so much advantage of you, that you won't have time to even go to the bathroom. Hence ergo, urine collects in your footwear.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: kodydog on February 29, 2012, 07:34:48 PM
The way I read it was that sometimes they just piss on you. (can I say that?)
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: gene on February 29, 2012, 08:53:22 PM
Awhile back I was installing cornice boards in a downtown condo. Someone bought a multi story garage and turned it into massive condos. Some guys were moving a bed around in the room where I was. A lady came in and yelled at those guys to get back downstairs, to a totally different condo, and finish their painting. The interior designer I was working for had, somehow, gotten these 3 guys to leave their job and come up to the condo she was working on to help her move stuff around. I can see what you grandma was talking about. LOL

gene
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: kodydog on February 29, 2012, 09:01:38 PM
but if the decorator is unwilling to give me an exclusive then why should I give them one?  I am interested in building my business not theirs. 

I think it is sad that they have so little faith in their ability as a decorator that a skilled upholster threatens them so much, I admit that I am no decorator.

One designer I work for told me her painter "protects" her. She stopped short of saying I should do the same. I think she knew what my answer would be. She had a falling out with one of her clients and the client called me directly. Was I supposed to turn down the job?

I love the designers who charge $50 to $100 per hour and charge $150 per yard. Talk about confidence.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lc on February 29, 2012, 09:30:22 PM
whooooe thats a hot topic in itself ..their mark up is  where they make a lot of moolah I'de say.
People look at designers like the name brands ...the customers like to brag and chatter on how much they paid .

I wish I was able to pick out colour schemes and point to the mover where to put the sofa and direct us to what their customers want with upholstering...they make a good buck for directing while we get sore backs ha ha
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lruthb on February 29, 2012, 09:51:45 PM
It is so funny how Dec's have effected all of us in one way or another.
I have two dec's I've worked for over the years. I used to get screwed ( without a kiss ) by the feeling that I needed the work, so I wouldn't make up for supplies and fabric sales. They always supply the fabric. This fabric isn't always the best stuff to work with. I learned to add 10 to 20 percent to make up for everything depending on the style furniture or cornice boards. I don't lose out any more. Both these dec's have no problem making their money after I charge for mine. Yes they have the customer go thru them. The dec's pickup and deliever.
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lc on February 29, 2012, 10:12:09 PM

 arrgh !!  some of the fabric they give us we could make skimpy curtains with !
 it ends up  turning into a big headache and more work than we bargained for .
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: kodydog on March 01, 2012, 07:45:46 AM
Some of the fabric they give is you could make underwear with. We had one designer get mad at us because you could see the seam allowance through the fabric. What are they thinking? ???
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: Mojo on March 01, 2012, 08:49:30 AM
Pouring Piss From a Boot is a Texas term used to describe someone who is stupid. :)

The full statement is " he is so stupid he wouldn't know how to pour piss from a boot if the instructions were written on the heel ". Gotta love those Texans. ;D

Here is another Southern expression:

 "He is so lazy he wouldn't hit a lick at a snake." The phrase means he is too lazy to hit a snake about to attack.

Which reminds me.......I need to get to work. :)

Chris
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: gene on March 01, 2012, 09:29:56 AM
That's funny, Mojo. What a great visual. I can see someone reading the instructions on the bottom of a boot and then still complaining that they don't know how to pour the piss out. ROFLMAO.

gene
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: bobbin on March 01, 2012, 10:39:14 AM
Good interior designers and decorators (they are not the same thing!) are worth their weight in gold to people who don't have a sense of how to work with color, pattern, furniture design and placement to achieve an attractive room.  They are in the service business and putting together a thoughtful and cohesive plan for a room that meets a client's needs/wants/tastes requires a lot of planning, a lot of professional resources, and a lot of patience.  I am always impressed when I see the "story board" for a room, complete with paint color options, fabric options, rug options, and the layers of design detail clearly spelled out.  That sort of plan indicates time and consideration. 

Like Sofa. and Kody I know what I have to make for my own attention to the detail of my craft to be worth the effort personally!  My price is my price and I wouldn't offer exclusivity.  Realistically, I can't afford to.  Nor have I ever had a designer/decorator ask me for that. 
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: sofadoc on March 02, 2012, 12:00:36 PM
QUESTION:
Who's best interest is a decorator acting on behalf of?

ANSWER: (ranked in order of importance)

#1 Themself
#2 Their customer

Did you notice that the upholsterer didn't make it into the top 2?

BTW I refer to all decorators/designers as simply "decorators". I know there's a difference, but it's the term I grew up with. I still call 'em "used cars" instead of "pre-owned". ;D

I recently delivered a job to a decorator's customer. She was there when I arrived. The customer had a large portrait of her son on the wall. The decorator told her that she coordinated all the colors of the new decore with the golden blonde hair the boy had in the portrait. The customer was moved to tears. She said that the decorator had truly seen into her heart.
As I heard this, I was thinking "I wonder. Did she really see into the woman's heart, or could it be the 100 yards of gold chennille she has stored at my shop" (that she's been trying to unload for 2 years now).
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: kodydog on March 02, 2012, 10:32:44 PM
As I heard this, I was thinking "I wonder. Did she really see into the woman's heart, or could it be the 100 yards of gold chennille she has stored at my shop" (that she's been trying to unload for 2 years now).

Defiantly 100% heart. How could you even question it. :D
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: lamx on March 03, 2012, 07:36:01 AM
I guess I'm in the minority in this discussion. I used to work for two different decorators. Our arrangement was that the decorator would provide the fabric and I would charge the customer directly for my supplies and labor and remit a commission of 20% to the decorators. I increased.my labor charge by 25% and mailed a check for 20% to the decorator when I got paid. I didn't have a problem with that arrangement
Because I got the same labor I would have if I had done any other job using COM and the decorator provided a service by performing all the interface with the customer. I didn't have to go to their home to make an estimate or answer questions and the decorators fended off any complaints that involved schedule, cost, or fabric. I also estimated fabric high to make save the decorator the embarrassment of telling the customer thay had to order more to complete the job and had enough left over to do a chair for another customer later. I really didn't have a problem working with them, it was a win-win situation.

Ed
Title: Re: Interior Decorators / terms and pricing
Post by: sofadoc on March 03, 2012, 08:55:36 AM
I really didn't have a problem working with them, it was a win-win situation.
I had a few of those situations back in the day. But somewhere in the early 90's, fabric (seconds) outlet stores started popping up everywhere. Suddenly, EVERYBODY was a decorator. Most  of them had no formal training, and were just looking for a "trade discount" on stuff for themselves and their friends.

I realize that I just want it BOTH ways. On one hand, I want to make a retail profit for selling material. On the other hand, I don't want to spend a lot of time holding the customer's hand helping them pick out fabric. And I don't even consider myself qualified to coordinate colors anymore. With all the different patterns I put on furniture everyday, I've lost my ability to be objective.  I think these are some of the reasons why many upholsterers are leaning toward an "all COM" business.

I'm still clinging to the old way. Obviously, COM is a huge part of my business. But I still manage to sell 50-100 yards a month at 15% off MSRP.

It was always my experience that the decorators that I've dealt with needed me a lot more than I needed them.