Decorating & Furniture/Career Questions

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Question
I am researching the career of Interior Designing and I would appreciate it if you could answer some questions about Interior Designing. If you could, please send it to my instructor Nancy Peterson.
1. What are sever of your normal job duties?
2. Do you work mostly with data, people, or things? Please Explain.
3. What are your normal working hours?
4. How often do you work overtime?
5. Do you ever work nights or weekends?
6. What skills and aptitudes are needed to do this type of work?
7. What are the education and training requirements to enter and advance in your career area?
8. What is the average beginning salary for someone in your career area?
9. What type of benefits do workers in your career usually recieve?
10. If you could change just one thing about your job, what would it be?

Answer
Maggie,

Thanks for writting. There are many many diffrent career avenues you can take as a designer, but I will be answering all the question from the standpoint of a residential home designer sence this is the area I have the most experience in.


1. What are sever of your normal job duties?
As a student, you have to realize that making a room look "pretty" is a small part of being a designer. There is a lot of paperwork and leg work to back up the rooms and what is places in them. Some of the duties I have from day to day are:
-Drawing/drafting floorplans, elevations, and perspectives.
-Space planning a room or space.
-Sourcing fabrics, furniture, lighting, accessories, ect...
-Writing up estimates for clients.
-Making purchase orders.
-Following up on the progress of orders.
-Meeting with clients.
-Meeting with reps and going to open houses and showrooms to see new products
-Meeting with construction crews and other people in the field.
-Getting prices on products and working with a budget.

2. Do you work mostly with data, people, or things? Please Explain.
Problably all of them. Not so much "date", but LOTS of paper work! If you are a designer, expecially a residential designer, you will work with a lot of people and you will need strong communication skills. And "things", I guess that would be all the elements you pull together to make the room such as a couch, rug, and pillows.

3. What are your normal working hours?
It can range again depending on what you do in design. If you are in residential, you tend to work a lot on the side (a few hours here and a few hours ther) because you have to fit so much into one day, you find yourself doing things for work a lot during your off time. If you work more in the retail depend on when the store hours are (expects to work nights and weekend) If you are a commercial designer, it is very 9 to 5.

4. How often do you work overtime?
As a residential designer, a lot. But your schedual is also more flexible, so it's not true overtime. As a retail designer, overtime is usually not a factor, and as a commercial designer, expects to work overtime if a projects NEEDS to be done.

5. Do you ever work nights or weekends? As I explained before, residential, sometimes, but your times are so flexible, in retail, expect a lot of nights and weekends, and commercial, it is pretty 9 to 5.

6. What skills and aptitudes are needed to do this type of work?
Have good communication skills, be so organized, you are classified as having an obsetion, and # 1 thing to have in this job are good people skills. Without that, you will not go far! You are always around people, and before you sell your design to a client, you sell yourself!

7. What are the education and training requirements to enter and advance in your career area?
You can get an associates degree (2 year degree), or a bachlors (4 year degree) and anything above that would be a wast of your time unless you are going to be an architect. You should know something...getting a 2 year and a 4 year degree in interior design in the same thing. You can only be tought so much in the proffession. You have to really have that born talent in you to be a good designer, and in college, you will soon see who really has "it"!

8. What is the average beginning salary for someone in your career area?
It always bothered me because, a lot of people put a # to starting salary that is not so realistic. Most often you can expect to be in the low 30's BUT you have to take into account where your job is (places like Chicago, LA, and New York are going to pay you a heck of a lot more than working for a furniture store in Smallville, Michigan) You need to go where the market is! Another determining factor is how good you are and how much ambition you have. I have a lot of ambition and started my own business when I was 17 and in high school. By the time I was in my last year of college, I had so many clients booked up, I was overwhelmed...and making enough money to be driving a Jaguar. You also have to realize how much to charge your clients per hour when you have your own clients. The typical rate is $75/hour and in bigger cities, this usually goes up to $120/hour. That is nothing to sneeze at! That is more money than most people dream of making an hour in there life, BUT you have to have enough business sence to have your own business and your own clients to do this. If you are working for a store or firm, the nice thing is, is that you can expect to move up the payrole ladder fast in the design career.

9. What type of benefits do workers in your career usually recieve?
If you have your own business and are self employeed, the only benefit you have is being able to make your own hours. Otherwise, if you work for a firm or retail store, you will get competitive benifits including health, medical, dental, and 401k.

10. If you could change just one thing about your job, what would it be?  
To have more time! You never have enough because as designers, we are so overbooked and over scheduled and there is always a lot on our plates!

Thanks again. If you have any other questions please feel free to write again. I hope this helped.

Ben  

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Benjamin Cottrell

Expertise

I can answer any questions on interior design including color, room arrangment, floor and space planning, lighting, fabric, furniture, and where to buy home decorating products.

Experience

Residential design and Architecture as well as landscape design, visual merchandising, and sales.

Organizations
ASID

Publications
M-Magazine

Education/Credentials
College graduate

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