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Business Advice

Am I too old to start a career as a designer?

business advice | October 18, 2018
Sean Low is the the go-to business coach for interior designers. In his advice column for BOH, he answers designers’ most pressing questions. By Sean Low

How do I fire an employee?

business advice | September 25, 2018
Dear Sean: I have been a designer for over 10 years and currently have a team of three aside from myself. I have had an increasingly difficult time with my oldest tenured employee (she has been with me for over seven years). Our clientele has grown as has our approach. I no longer need her to... By Sean Low

Am I indebted to my clients?

business advice | September 11, 2018
Dear Sean, I recently had a great client—she was pleased with the finished project, and I loved working with her throughout the entire process. But there's trouble brewing in paradise now, post-project. This client referred me to a friend of hers. I met with him, and my gut tells me that he is ... By Sean Low

Is it time to quit interior design for good?

business advice | August 28, 2018
Dear Sean, I’m burned out. I’ve had a long and successful run as a designer, managing my own business, but for the last few months I’ve been feeling jaded, scattered and unfulfilled on a daily basis. This is despite working with a number of great clients (and an equal number of not-so-great o... By Sean Low

My clients are too slow. How can I speed up their decision-making?

business advice | August 14, 2018
I know we're in the midst of the dog days of summer, but it seems like every client of mine is moving like molasses! It’s taking certain clients weeks to respond to simple email requests—and forget about making larger, more expensive decisions. What can I do to prevent delays in client communica... By Sean Low

I don’t take on smaller-budget clients—am I leaving money on the table?

business advice | August 1, 2018
Dear Sean: Most of my projects are very high end with budgets always higher than $450,000. Lately, I have been getting inquiries from potential clients with significant budgets—let’s say up to $250,000—but not enough for me, personally, to be able to do what I do. I have a staff of two junior... By Sean Low

Am I a stylist or a designer? 

business advice | July 18, 2018
Dear Sean: I am weighing an offer from a potential new client. The fee is great. However, her existing home is a disaster: a mix of conflicting aesthetics, a jumble of clashing furniture, atrocious art … The list goes on. Of course, I want to do an entire revamp, but she’s making it clear tha... By Sean Low

My client wants her money back—what now?

business advice | July 6, 2018
Dear Sean: My client hired me to redo her living spaces and dining area. Even though she approved (and paid) for everything beforehand, she now hates everything I have done. She wants me to take everything back and return the entire fee. I have never had this happen to me before—usually it is... By Sean Low

My client is undercutting me—and the showroom is helping her!

business advice | June 19, 2018
Dear Sean: My client is trying to undercut me—she went behind my back, posed as a designer to the showroom, and received net pricing (aka the designer’s rate) as a result. How would you handle this? Dear Undercut: Let’s acknowledge both the awfulness of a client pretending to be someon... By Sean Low
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