Whether you assign them in-house, outsource them or handle them all yourself, renderings and floor plans are a necessary part of an interior design business—they prevent major pre-construction and pre-design heartache; they make a designer’s vision real to her clients; and they can even function as a sales tool. They’re also, for some, a time-consuming endeavor.
Charles Messenger, CEO and lead draftsman of Designs Rendered, which launched earlier this year to provide interior designers with a particular set of services (three-dimensional floor plans and renderings, Photoshop enhancement, and branded documents among them), discusses all that designers should know about 3-D renderings and room plans.
Can renderings and floor plans improve a designer’s bottom line?
It is entirely up to the designer if it is going to improve their bottom line! Depending on how the renderings or room plans are used, they most certainly can and will improve the bottom line. If the designer wishes, they could charge the client for the drawings, or on the other side, they can just focus on using the renderings to build a relationship with the client for the design of the space.
The purpose of the plans and renderings is to assist the designers in selling their design concepts. The visualizations tend to help sell designs faster, as the client can see the end result, not just have a possible image in their head of what the space may look like. Seeing the space in front of them allows for clients to make decisions much faster, and that means quicker sales for the designers.
What are some of the complaints you hear from designers about renderings?
First and foremost, the designers I speak to all say that they simply do not have the time to draw the floor plans or renderings, and they want to have it for their projects. Another big complaint from designers is that trying to create 3-D drawings and renderings is very frustrating, mostly in that the software or programs are too difficult to learn or navigate.
Other designers just say that they spend way too much time on drawings, to the point where they cannot charge their clients because the amount of time is just so high. In other cases, designers just don’t feel comfortable with their drawings after they’ve spent hours working on them. They feel their drawings don’t portray the space accurately and would rather not show their clients at all.
What are the benefits of sharing 3-D renderings and room plans with clients?
[B]oth designer and client can see the visual representation of the design intent. The designer has the vision in his or her head, whereas the client(s) can only imagine what the designer explains to them. From a business standpoint, designers can focus more time on their design work and less time on drafting. This is huge when designers have multiple projects going on at a given time!
Another great benefit, and one of the most important in my opinion, is that the clients are able to see the overall design concept before anything is purchased or before any construction has started. ... [I]f a client sees something in the 3-D rendering that they may not necessarily like, it is much easier to adjust the drawing than to correct a physical, costly mistake—i.e., built-ins, flooring, etc.
What is your most popular service?
Design rendering services. The designers I work with want to see the spaces that they are trying to create just as much as their clients. ... Some of my designers even reported tears from their clients at the excitement!
What is your least well-known service?
The least requested service that I offer would be the floor plan services. Most designers that I have interacted with are familiar with AutoCAD for their floor plans. I have actually found that SketchUp offers more flexibility and is easier to navigate than AutoCAD with similar, if not more than similar, results! I do have a few steady clients that I am working with that solely use my services for floor plans, but other than those few, not many people inquire about how I can service their floor plan needs.
Which tools do you use to run your business?
There are several programs that I use to navigate and run Designs Rendered. I use QuickBooks for my billing and invoicing, IVY for communicating and connecting with designers (I am listed in the IVY Discover Panel in the IVY platform). Being that my business is 100 percent digital and can services designers around the globe, I include Facebook and Instagram as some of my leading business management tools, as they connect me with designers far out of my immediate market reach. I use Squarespace to organize and manage my business website.
The primary benefit from all facets of my business operation is that every tool I use is quick to learn and easy to use! In the digital world, it is so crucial that clients (both my clients and design clients) are able to have immediate access to their information and projects. I am able to send project documents and drawings to my clients with a click of a button, and it is just as easy for my clients to send them to their own clients.