By Marc Molinksy, CEO of DesignerAdvantage


As CEO of DesignerAdvantage, I have had the pleasure of working closely with hundreds of interior design firms throughout the United States over the last 15 years.   My job has provided me with a unique vantage point into all of the different ways that interior designs manage all of the intricacies of their firms.

I was recently reflecting back on my many years of experience in this industry and it occurred to me that the most successful design firms all shared 5 attributes regarding the manner in which they run and manage their businesses.   These common 5 attributes are as follows:


Great Customer Service

Running a highly successful design firm starts with providing great customer service.  In the same manner in which The Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons treat every encounter with their customers with the greatest of care and attention to detail, the most successful design firms use the same approach with their clients.

Providing great customer service entails promptly and thoroughly responding to all client requests and proactively keeping them informed on the progress of the project.

The best design firms understand that there is no detail too small when it comes to working with high end clients.


It is inevitable that some things are going to go wrong on most design projects.   The best firms understand that every problem is a golden opportunity for them to demonstrate their integrity and accountability to their clients.

In my experience, the most successful firms immediately take full ownership of all problems on a project and they do whatever is necessary to “make it right” with the client.


Positive Culture

Firms that have been able to create a culture of excellence and positivity seem to attract and retain the best employees and clients.   Positive energy within a firm is generated when the principals create an environment where everyone in the firm is required to be highly respectful of one another at all times.  It is also created by challenging each employee – in a positive manner – to perform their work at the highest possible level of quality and excellence.


Proficient at Billing Time

The best firms are fearless and unapologetic when it comes to billing their time on a project.   Even though they might receive negative feedback from their clients from time to time, they continue to bill their time with confidence because they understand that time billing is essential to their firm’s financial well-being and their clients have agreed to it in writing.


Know When to Say “Goodbye”

Another common attribute about successful firms is that they are not shy or hesitant to terminate clients that do not value their work or are not willing to pay for their time.   Although every firm has to deal with this type of client at some point, the most successful firms understand that these clients can quickly destroy the morale of themselves and their employees resulting in lower quality work and high turnover – and ultimately less profitability.