Running an interior design firm is fast-paced and dynamic with daily tasks including customer relationship management, creating new mock-ups or layouts, scheduling, contract agreements, and general accounting tasks.
Managing all these tasks would be an exhausting and time-consuming process for a single person. Thankfully, software programs and apps exist that can make operating an interior design agency much more efficient.
Interior design software refers to computer-aided designer programs. However, these programs make up a fraction of the software used in a design firm. With the myriad of administrative, business, marketing, and customer relationship tasks, interior design firms rely on a combination of computer-aided design software and general business software to effectively run their business.
CAD design software includes programs such as AutoCAD, Onshape, SketchUp, HomeByMe, and Floorplanner. Interior designers will utilize these programs to create mock-ups for the new proposed layout of the interior space. The software used will depend on prior knowledge, comfort, and the scope of the project.
General business software includes any programs or applications that assist with marketing, customer relations, HR, administration, or bookkeeping. Commonly used business software programs include Bonsai, QuickBooks, WordPress, Salesforce, PayPal, HubSpot, MailChimp, and Office 365.
The specific general business software used at each interior design agency will vary. But all companies are now using programs and apps for invoicing, proposals, contracts, client management, scheduling, and accounting.
While knowledge of these programs is not associated with interior design, many interior designers are learning and utilizing business management software systems to streamline business operations and free up additional time for the design phase.
As we move forward, more and more interior design companies will rely on software programs for the administrative side of the business. The better you can understand the utilize these programs, the more time and money you can save for your business.
Owning and operating a successful interior design business requires technical knowledge and business acumen. First, you must understand your style, service offering, and the costs needed to run the business. Once you have determined your unique offering, you must find clients, agree on a fee, perform the work, and collect the funds.
Most interior designers can successfully identify their unique style and consistently deliver a high-quality service. However, many designers attempting to run a business for the first-time struggle with more nuanced aspects of daily operations, such as contracts and taxes.
If this sounds familiar, business management software can cover your weaknesses and allow you to focus on your strengths. Depending on the needs of your business, apps, and online programs can assist with or entirely automate various aspects of the business, including invoicing, contract creation, scheduling, and more.
Below is an overview of some commonly used programs by interior design firms to manage day-to-day business operations.
If you manage an interior design firm, one of the most essential aspects of business is invoicing. Generating revenue is crucial for any form of business, and having a quick way to create professional invoices will help you finalize more contracts and efficiently collect money.
You do not need to spend much manual time here, as several invoicing software programs can automate this process for your business. Four commonly used invoicing software programs are:
These programs can also assist with accounting tasks such as tracking expenses, generating financial reports, managing payroll, and simplifying tax preparations. Understanding company finances is essential for the longevity of businesses, and these programs can serve as your around-the-clock accounting team.
The proposal stage is when interior designers compete for clients. To succeed, you must create informative and visually appealing proposals that summarize the project. Proposal software apps and programs such as Bonsai, Proposify, Bidsketch, and Better Proposals can help your business stand out with top-quality project proposals that convey essential details in an easy-to-digest manner.
Using proposal software streamlines the entire process, with apps such as Bonsai offering customizable templates, drag-and-drop interfaces, electronic signatures, and much more. If the challenge of creating a winning proposal is holding you back, these software programs can assist with the process and give you an advantage over the competition.
You must write a contract to formalize the arrangement after you have secured the client in the project stage. Interior designers can utilize contract software to create and manage contract agreements rather than hiring a team of attorneys. Some advantages of using contract software include the following:
Some commonly used contract software programs for interior designers include ContractSafe, Concord, and PandaDoc.
Most interior design firms manage several clients at once. Finding a way to adapt and prioritize each customer's needs is essential for establishing positive relationships. Interior design business owners are starting to use CRM software to track and maintain positive relationships.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides an overhead view of your sales pipeline, allowing you to manage sales and customer relationships. Some of the most used CRM software include:
As you can probably tell, managing client relationships is paramount to meeting deadlines and project timelines. Scheduling software can help you track all upcoming meetings, improve communication, and increase efficiency.
Some commonly used scheduling software programs for interior designers include Bonsai, Calendly, Acuity Scheduling, and Doodle. Here are some benefits of using scheduling software:
While we have mentioned multiple helpful interior design applications, learning, and managing all would take time. The best way to minimize the learning curve for these programs and get immediate assistance with your business management tasks is through Bonsai’s interior design software.
Bonsai has developed an all-in-one business management dashboard for interior designers that assists with all areas of business operations. The Bonsai app provides you with a dedicated workspace to effectively manage:
Bonsai interior design software is easy to use, secure, and extremely flexible. Through the online backend dashboard, you can easily design your invoices, contracts, and proposals from scratch, or use the library of templates to simplify the process.
Try Bonsai Interior Design Software Today
Sign up for the Bonsai interior design software today and receive a 7-day free trial. With the help of Bonsai’s interior design software, you can capture more leads, accurately track finances, and free up time for fun and creative aspects of interior design.
Bonsai software is beginner friendly, and you will be using the system effectively in minutes. Try it today to start onboarding your existing projects into the system and optimize your workflow.