Interior design is profitable if you are prepared to work hard

The design business enjoys strong demand as people are always buying and moving into new homes and remodelling their old houses.

The design business enjoys strong demand as people are always buying and moving into new homes and remodelling their old houses.

The economic growth in South Africa and the political change that led to the birth of economic segments like the black, middle class, lead to many people being affluent, affording homes, offices, shops, and so on that require interior decorating.

According to Morris Ndebele, owner and founder of Siyakhula Interior Contractors in Wynberg, Alexandra, "there are many business opportunities in interior design but skills are key. You can either work as a product-driven designer or as a design consultant".

"The product-driven designer is a hands-on one who combines the task of conceptualising the look of the given space with marketing a wide variety of products. This is ideal for start-up designers."

This designer sells and markets different products. He or she sometimes gives free design advice if the client buys all the products from him or her. A product-driven designer also charges an hourly rate but buys products from another company. A big percentage of the designer's income comes from product sales.

Your long service in the interior design industry accompanied by a good reputation and a long list of references can put you in a good position to start your own design-consulting services.

You will not sell or market any product, but instead sell advice for interior design of apartments. You will be selling your design expertise, and not any product.

When starting up you will have to work twice as much to get clients and it is not easy. This also requires a great deal of people skills from you. You must go out and meet people you think might be interested in your services.

You may have to lower your estimates at first. You may have to spend some money by advertising your services in your local newspaper.

Unlike graphic designers who can expand into many fields, interior designers rarely work in every field.

There are two options that interior decorators and designers can choose from. They can choose between residential areas and commercial properties. Others even narrow their field to work for certain types of homes and businesses only. It is also common for interior designers not to confine themselves.

Some will work wherever there is work. While this leaves the field wider for them, specialising is a more professional route to take.

What does an interior designer do?

They do most of their work in people's homes. They design rooms inside and around the home. There is a lot of freedom in this field as clients usually leave designers to work on their own, which allows for more creativity.