In this guide, we review the Best Crm For Interior Designers, interior design management software, project management for interior designers, and best crm for graphic designers.
Best Crm For Interior Designers
Every interior designer needs a CRM to keep their clients and projects organized. Here are five of the best options out there.
Design Manager (Design Manager.com)
- Design Manager is a great option for small interior design firms looking to streamline their workflow and not break the bank. Its website boasts that it’s “the most powerful inside sales automation software for the AEC industry,” and it certainly lives up to its claims: easy scheduling, proposal generation, and project management are all seamlessly integrated with Google Calendar and Gmail (as well as some other tools), making it easy to stay on top of all your clients.
- The free version allows you to make appointments, create proposals, keep track of projects, organize your contacts into groups that serve as virtual teams within your firm (so you can assign tasks more easily), create budgets based on job types/size/location—and even track time spent at each appointment by team member(s).
Designer’s Gallery (DesignerGallery.com)
Designer’s Gallery is a free CRM for interior designers, so there’s no cost up front. You can upgrade to paid plans starting at $19/month if you need more features like storage space and more users.
For those with a more limited budget, DesignerGallery.com offers the basics of what you’ll need in an online contact manager: lead capture forms, email alerts and marketing materials. With this software, you can create a portfolio of your work and send it to clients via email or download directly onto their device as a PDF file.
Lucidpress is a free online design tool that will help you create infographics, posters, flyers and other printable designs. It has a drag-and-drop interface and can be used for projects of all sizes. You can also use Lucidpress to create presentations (think: Keynote on steroids), digital marketing materials like Facebook cover photos and social media posts, or even eBooks.
Lucidpress’s template library includes dozens of templates for things like business cards, postcards and event invitations in addition to more generic layouts for things like flyers or resumes. The platform lets you choose from various sizes for each template so your design fits perfectly within the space allotted by your printer or printer settings (for example 300 dpi).
You can export your files as PDFs in different sizes and formats including PNGs at 100% quality (no compression) which means they look great but take up more storage space than JPEGs or PNGs at 85% compression—but if storage isn’t an issue then this option might be better because it retains more detail than other formats do when printed larger at high resolutions (like those found on glossy paper or magazine covers).
Canva is a free graphic design tool that offers over one million stock images and fonts to choose from. The company has a variety of templates available, so you can easily create an eye-catching Facebook cover photo or poster for your next event. Canva’s easy-to-use interface makes it ideal for beginners looking to create their first design projects.
Adobe Spark (AdobeSpark.com)
If you’re looking to create a website for your interior design business, Adobe Spark is a great option. It’s free and easy to use, even if you have limited experience with web design. You can use it to create all kinds of content, such as social media posts and newsletters. And if you want to share some of your graphics with potential clients, this is the platform for it!
There are a number of CRMs available to interior designers
There are a number of CRMs available to interior designers that can help streamline your business.
Choosing the right CRM will depend on your industry and company size, but there are many benefits to using one. Here’s how to make a decision that works for you:
- Determine your needs by looking at the type of work you do and how often you perform it. The more complex or open-ended those projects are, the more likely it is that you’ll need an advanced tool such as ProjectWise from Autodesk (which has been around since 2001). If you’re looking for something simpler, take a look at FreshBooks or SnapBill—both offer great functionality at low cost.
- Once you’ve narrowed down your options based on price and features, try them out! There’s no better way to figure out which one works best than testing out each tool yourself with some simple tasks in order to get familiar with how they operate before committing fully into using them long-term.”
interior design management software
Interior design projects don’t entail only the fun and creative part. As a matter of fact, interior design project management is far more complicated than beginners in the industry might think.
Shortly after the initial phase of consulting with the clients and establishing the budget has ended, the real trouble comes in:
✔ Reality check: these are just a few of the project management challenges interior designers face on a daily basis — and all while their deadline is approaching.
The truth is — interior designers get completely overwhelmed by poor organization and technicalities. It’s high time we faced the reality — to carry out a successful interior design project, you should be properly organized.
If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’re looking for professional project management software to help you manage your interior design team.
Well, stay tuned, because we’ve got some good news — you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll cover the 7 best apps interior designers should use in 2022.
What is interior design project management software?
To put it simply, interior design project management software is a platform that helps you deal with managing daily issues, such as:
Interior design project management software is created either specifically for interior design projects, or it can be easily accustomed to interior designers’ daily tasks. The software contains a list of features that allow you to track progress and establish the phases of your interior design project.
Which is the best project management software for interior design?
According to research, when it comes to the 3 most important factors when choosing project management software, users primarily focus on:
With this in mind, to help you choose the best interior design software for your team, we’ll review some of the most popular project management apps — we’ll look at their features, compare their pricing, and assess their user-friendliness.
Feeling ready to get into the details? Then, let’s dive into our list.
Ivy is software created specifically for interior design. It is basically a business management tool, but it offers some project management solutions.
As Ivy focuses primarily on the organization of a business, it may be too widespread for short-term interior design projects. The app doesn’t offer any free plans, while their paid plans are a bit pricey ($49/mo, $65/mo, $399/mo per package).
Why use Ivy in interior design?
Ivy offers a wide range of features that help interior designers manage tasks and organize their projects in stages.
Apart from these features, Ivy offers marketing solutions, such as email marketing or even creating an entire website for you.
All in all, Ivy is an advanced all-in-one tool intended for any size of business.
Ivy’s best feature for interior designers
Web clipper is probably one of Ivy’s prime features. With this option, you can clip the products from any website into an Ivy Product Library, which allows interior designers to easily access lists of items (e.g. furniture, fabrics) and make proposals for clients.
Ivy is available for: iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari
Gather is interior design project management software created for large teams carrying out complex projects.
The platform contains many features to help interior designers track their team’s progress and stay informed of recent developments.
Why use Gather in interior design?
Using Gather will most likely boost your team’s overall performance and keep them well-organized, by using features such as:
Gather’s best feature for interior designers
Gather’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it appealing to interior designers. To put it simply — Gather is easy to use.
Furthermore, you can organize your project by separating it into different Areas, e.g. lightning, flooring, walls, and so on.
However, similarly to Ivy, Gather is built to accommodate larger teams. So, it might take time to master this software, as there’s a steep learning curve. Sometimes, users may feel as if Gather offers a little too much.
Unfortunately, there is no free version of the software — though you can always try it for free.
If you decide to use Gather, you can get a Studio Plan (for up to 5 team members) for $199/mo. But, on the plus side, you’ll get a discount when billed annually.
Gather is available for: Web
Unlike Ivy and Gather, Plaky is a universal project management tool, meaning — it offers you much more flexibility when it comes to task management — and not just the functionalities linked to interior design management.
Additionally, unlike Ivy and Gather, Plaky offers a completely free plan.
You think that sounds too good to be true? Well, there’s more — Plaky allows unlimited projects and users, all for free.
Why use Plaky in interior design?
If you want your team of interior designers to operate well, you absolutely need to keep them on the same page. This is exactly what Plaky will take care of — helping your team members stay coordinated by:
Plaky’s best feature for interior designers
Plaky is a great choice, if you’re looking for an app that’s:
Plaky is available for: Web
Monday is another universal project management tool, similarly to Plaky.
It allows you to manage projects from the beginning to the end and track progress in between.
Why use Monday in interior design?
As it’s built specifically for project management, Monday is highly customizable and suits any project’s needs — interior designers’ among them.
When it comes to features, Monday allows you to:
Plus, the good news is – Monday offers a free plan for up to 5 users and up to 3 boards. Of course, you can try some of Monday’s paid plans ($8/seat/mo, $10/seat/mo, $16/seat/mo), that offer features such as Automations, Integrations, more than 5 users, and so on.
Monday’s best feature for interior designers
With integrations, you can import all the important data from other apps into Monday.
Integrations include Outlook, Gmail, Excel, Adobe CC, and many other useful tools.
Monday is available for: iOS, Android, Web
Mydoma Studio is an all-in-one interior design platform offering project management features.
The platform is available for a free trial, after which you can choose from 3 paid plans ($59/mo for solo users, $79/mo for a team of up to 8 users, and $129/mo for an unlimited number of users).
Why use Mydoma Studio in interior design?
As Mydoma is created specifically for interior design — it aims to improve all aspects of the interior design business. That’s why Mydoma offers many useful features, such as:
So, let’s face it — Mydoma Studio’s creators really thought of almost everything a designer may need along the way.
Mydoma Studio’s best feature for interior designers
What interior designers would probably get the most benefits from is their Project Management feature, which includes:
All in all, there’s no doubt that Mydoma Studio is an excellent app.
However, it’s still more of a business management app — it aims to organize all aspects of your business, rather than focus on single projects. So, if you’re looking for something less feature-loaded, and, more focused, maybe it’s better to opt for an outright project management tool.
Mydoma Studio is available for: Web
Design Manager is interior design software that helps designers stay on top of projects with their full accounting system.
Design Manager offers a free trial and a Pro Cloud plan for $65/per user/mo.
project management for interior designers
Want to achieve better profitability for your interior design projects while keeping jobs on track (and your customers happy)? Learn the ins and outs of project management for interior designers in our comprehensive guide so you can move seamlessly through each stage of your next design project — and finish on time and on budget. project management software to help you oversee it all.
This article will cover what the interior design project management process is all about and why it’s important for your work, as well as include a step-by-step guide to master every project stage. We’ll also provide suggestions for exploring interior design. Start by watching the video above to hear real designers share tips for managing projects online.
What is project management in interior design?
The interior design project management process involves organizing and coordinating the scope, timeline, budget, resources and tasks required to complete a design for a client and achieve the project goals within the necessary constraints.
Why is project management in interior design important?
Project management is an important aspect of your work because it can impact an interior designer’s bottom line in several ways.
First, before committing to a client’s project, you need to know how their timeline fits into your overall schedule and how you can allocate time for other projects, as well, so your sales pipeline doesn’t “run dry.” Second, project management for interior designers helps you better manage the overall design budget and resources, so you can remain profitable. Lastly, project management helps you organize complex design projects so you’re better able to stay on track, keep clients updated along the way and finish on time. This helps to make clients happy to work with you and gives you much greater word-of-mouth advertising and positive reviews for your business.
Interior design project management tips to nail every stage of a project
Below is an outline of various interior design project phases that are common milestones to include in your project timeline and tips for how to make the most of each stage.
First impressions are everything. So make sure your first contact with your potential client puts your best foot forward with professionalism and provides enough expert advice to make your prospects want to move to the next stage.
In the discovery call phase, your client may still be considering working with different designers. Meanwhile, you’re also determining if they’re a good fit for your business. A typical discovery call will take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour in which you should get an overall scope of your client’s vision, while assessing if they’re a good match. If they are, make sure to position your strengths as a designer and share why you feel you can help fulfill their vision.
Your client questionnaire typically falls in the pre-consultation phase before you’ve started charging for your time. It should be thorough enough to understand the full needs and scope of the project, including questions about color, patterns, style, budget, design likes and dislikes and more. Typically one week is a reasonable turnaround time for receiving your potential client’s completed questionnaire, so make sure to set these expectations beforehand.
Your initial client meeting or consultation is when you will likely start charging for your work. In this session, you’ll go over the client questionnaire together and clear up any questions. Typically these meetings are on-site with your client so you can be more “hands-on” with the space and understand the layout, natural lighting, etc. It’s important to give yourself enough time to have all your questions answered in this meeting so you can move on to the crucial design planning stage.
Now that you’ve met with your client and have your questions answered, you can start planning your timeline for your interior design project management process. Remember, it’s better to overestimate than under when it comes to time, but also keep in mind your client’s budget and timeline requirements for getting it all done.
Use your client questionnaire as your go-to reference for planning your space and design in the schematic phase of your project. Don’t be shy about contacting your client with any remaining questions while creating your plan. It’s best to have the necessary details up front before moving onto subsequent stages.
Before creating your final design proposal and presentation, it’s important to make sure you can source all the products and furnishings you’re proposing for your client’s design. That way you won’t run into any surprises or unavailability later and run the risk of disappointing your client.
Your proposal provides all the budget and timeline details for completing your project, so being as thorough and accurate as possible are key in this stage. Meanwhile, your design presentation should be compelling, professional and reflect the desired vision your client expressed in their questionnaire while being guided and refined by your expertise.
Always assure that you have a contract in place before making any purchases on behalf of your client. Make sure it’s signed and dated by both parties and that your files are digitally backed up.
After you have your contract in hand and your client has approved your design you can now move forward to making purchase orders of products and furnishings. Make sure to allow enough time for the ordering itself, the processing or creation time needed from the vendor, as well as shipping times.
Contractor Bids, If Needed
If you’re hiring any contractors for your design project, you’ll want to allow time for this in your project schedule. Pro tip: make sure to keep lists of your favorite go-to contractors and back-up contractors in case anything comes up or your preferred contractors are unavailable. What’s important is hiring quality subcontractors while keeping your project moving forward, which sometimes requires some compromise.
During the course of your design project, you will definitely want to make regular on-site visits to see how the work is progressing. If you don’t, then you run the risk of things not going according to the original vision, which can delay your project completion.
With your space prepared and products delivered, you’re ready for the exciting completion phase of your project. This can take anywhere from one day to one week or more depending on the scope, so make sure to account for this accordingly in your timeline.
Whether you’re invoicing your client along the way at different stages or all at once at the end, you need to set aside time to create detailed invoices for your client. This will greatly indicate your level of professionalism, organization and will help your client pay faster and on time if everything is thoroughly outlined.
After you’ve sent your final invoice to request payment for your project, it’s a great business practice to send a thank you note, small gift of gratitude and any referral marketing materials you might have to your client to both thank them and provide a strong closing impression at the end of your work together. It’s a very helpful strategy to contribute to repeat business and receive recommendations from your clients.
Should you try interior design project management software?
Interior design projects have a lot of moving parts, with unexpected issues occurring at any time: from change orders and construction issues, to contractor or shipping delays. Using project management software can help you better plan your interior design project phases while accounting for unforeseen circumstances, and so much more.
Here are several other benefits that project management software can provide:
From start to finish, project management software for interior designers can help you plan the time needed to complete each project phase, while allowing for a “cushion” of time for unexpected delays. As people say, time is money — and when you have a firmer grasp of the time needed throughout your project stages, your schedule can be freed up for other aspects of running and building your business.
2. More Effective Collaboration
As an interior designer, you’re likely working with other design team members, sub-contractors, administrative staff and others. Project management software can help you effectively collaborate with key stakeholders allowing them to see the full project timeline, due dates, design plans, files and more. You can even have staff send you status updates and photos at the end of each day so you know exactly how the project is progressing.
3. Better Budget Management
Budget reports and spreadsheets can be used within most project management software programs to help you keep track of all project costs and have a much keener eye on expenses and cash flow.
best crm for graphic designers
Freelance graphic design work can be incredibly rewarding. You get to do what you love on your own schedule. Still, there’s no getting past the not-so-fun management side of running your own business. Far too much non-creative work like client intake and invoicing can take precious time away from the good parts of the job.
And once you start scale your business, these management woes may get worse. With all of that in perspective, it may be time for you to take a serious look at customer relationship management (CRM) tools. With features that automate some of the most critical elements of your business, HoneyBook by far the best CRM for graphic designers.
What is graphic design consultant CRM?
As a small business owner and graphic designer, you definitely do it all: draft proposals; create consultant contracts (sometimes from scratch); communicate regularly with clients; send (and subsequently chase down) invoices; develop inbound marketing strategies. All of these are necessary business practices but they can quickly eat into the time and energy you need to do the core part of your job as a creative.
There are numerous tools and software for consultants that can help you minimize the amount of time you spend on the more mundane parts of running a business. But you could quickly find yourself hopping back and forth between a dozen different tools just to keep track of all of your business communications.
The modern solution to this problem is all-in-one graphic designer CRM like HoneyBook, a client management software for small businesses.
CRM stands for “customer relationship management”. When you see the term, it typically refers to the type of software you use to manage multiple aspects of your working relationship with different clients.
At a minimum, the best CRM for graphic designers will help you:
That might sound like a rather extensive list of “minimum requirements”. But let’s face it; your business management needs are also extensive. The CRM you use should operate as a single-source program that keeps all of your project communication and business management needs under one roof.
CRM is all about how you create and maintain effective client relationships. Effective CRM starts at the very beginning of that relationship but it doesn’t end there. What you want out of a CRM service are the tools and features necessary to automate as much of the communication and relationship as possible, with the flexibility to take direct control of the communication where and when it benefits you most.
Most important CRM tools for graphic designers
As a graphic designer, your client relationship management needs may differ from a freelance consultant who works in a non-creative industry. Ultimately, the goal should be to trim how much time you spend managing communications, which can easily account for multiple hours per day of lost productivity.
According to graphic design experts, some of the most common graphic designer productivity hurdles include:
While you nod your head in agreement to these points, take note that HoneyBook provides tools that can help graphic designers tear down all of these barriers to productivity.
Once you begin to scale your business, you’ll find workflow automation is incredibly important to help minimize distractions. An influx of inquiries from prospective new clients or requests from previous clients could easily shrink your effective productivity time. It’s not uncommon for people to spend over 2.5 hours each day reading and answering emails. As a designer, you might lose your most beneficial working hours if you spend too much time responding to clients.
HoneyBook’s all-in-one business software features a unique automation feature that will take your inbound inquiries, automatically send on-brand responses, and help you move the project along with an incredible amount of speed and efficiency.
The multi-step automation process works like this:
Save time with HoneyBook Automation
With HoneyBook, you can easily create step-by-step automations that help take redundant tasks — like following up with leads and sending check-in emails — off your plate.
Prepare questionnaires, brochures, and proposal templates ahead of time, then set your automation on autopilot, adjusting your documents along the way as needed. Workflow automations reduce the number of hands-on, time-consuming interactions you’ll need to have with potential clients until you’re ready to get started on the project.
Clear communication with questionnaires and brochures
There’s a common misconception among clients that graphic artists are happy to provide free samples, or are willing to work for exposure. Many new and starry-eyed independent consultants or freelancers have fallen into this trap, but you have to make a living. Communicating clearly with clients about payment expectations is one way to help lower the number of free work requests you receive.
HoneyBook allows you to create questionnaires and brochures that you can add to your automation. Once an inquiry comes in, you can set up your automation to send potential clients questionnaires that will help elaborate the project scope.
You can also fully customize the brochure designs to showcase the strength of your portfolio and your talent. Design every feature of your brochure from top to bottom with your own flair, or upload previously-crafted marketing material via PDF to create an eye-catching welcome guide for prospective clients. Pair the brochure with your questionnaire and allow clients to select services right from the brochure.
Questionnaires and brochures are a good way to help filter potential clients whose budget requests may not make them a good fit. When you find a client who is happy with your work and your rates, easily move the project along by sending a proposal using proposal software.
Control your productivity with HoneyBook CRM
Freelance graphic designers face a myriad of challenges, but everything seems to circle right back to productivity time. You want to provide the best end product and designs for your clients, but that’s hard to do with constant interruptions.
HoneyBook’s wide range of customer relationship management tools will help you take back control of your schedule. Minimize distractions from client communications, find the best clients, and let those creative powers go to work with your newly-available productive hours.
Ready to up your productivity? You can try HoneyBook risk-free for 7-days (no credit card required).
Use an All-in-One CRM to Manage Your Projects
This post was updated in August 2021 when the HoneyBook Workflow tool was renamed to Automations. The HoneyBook Automations tool maintains the same functionality with the ability to automate communications, tasks and more. For more information about the Automations update, check our August 2021 Release Notes.