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Make Sure You’re Charging Enough for Interior Décor Installations

Your margins should justify the effort, as explained in this month’s “Ask Big Picture.”




Should I charge more for interior décor installs?

“Professional home décor is time consuming and usually not large orders: under 100 square feet in many cases,” says Kim Magraw of Vivid Sign. “So, the fees have to justify the time. We typically have a high setup fee of $400 to $700 for setup and proofing. Then, our production and install fees also have to adjust quite high: $22 to $30 per square feet installed for wallpapers, for example.”

If you’re looking for larger interior projects with more applications, consider corporate offices. “Our corporate client has us perform 12 disciplines: electrical channel letters, monument sign, parking directionals, wayfinding interior, ceiling-suspended sound suppression, walls painted with patterns, acrylic lettering and motivational art, photo booth area, wall murals, etched glass with second-surface patterns, restroom art on mirrors and walls, and cafeteria signage,” says Magraw.

I’m not good at disciplining employees, but I have one staff member who’s repeatedly coming late to work. What should I do?

Few people enjoy confrontation, but you’re not doing anyone a favor when you allow an employee to flout business rules. A constantly tardy employee hurts staff morale. Make time to talk to the person in private. Isolate the faulty behavior and explain the problems it’s causing. Criticize the behavior, not the person.

I have a production manager who will not stop calling staff members of all age “honey,” “sweetie,” and “babe.” How should I tackle this ongoing issue?

It sounds like you’re dealing with something that’s little more than a nervous habit, says retail consultant Kate Peterson. For many, using terms of endearment is very much the cultural norm – a behavior learned in early childhood that becomes the default behavior in stressful situations. Help them overcome the issue with a few simple steps:

  • Start by clearly defining the essential standards of professionalism in your business. Include things like appearance (dress code), speech and presentation, and training.
  • Gather your resources. What kind of training do they need to help them grow to where you need them to be?
  • Remember to coach them daily. Work with them on your production floor and look for the “coachable moments.” Praise (including praising progress!) and/or correct immediately.
  • Keep in mind this person may simply not want to work within the boundaries you establish. Be prepared to part if that’s the case, Peterson says.

Our clients always want the cheapest shipping option, but is that the smart thing to do?

“Cheaper is usually more costly in the long run, and we should be more forceful and communicative about the right way to do things,” says Brian Hite, Image Options. His client insisted the display cabinets with LED lighting and backlit graphics his team created be shipped common carrier on pallets when Image Options recommended they be crated and shipped on air ride trailers to prevent damage. “We did not insist due to clients demands and ended up having to reproduce 80 percent of the product damaged by the carriers, costing the client tens of thousands of dollars to reproduce and ship correctly. Both the client and our team learned the lesson.”


I appreciate it’s 2023, but what’s the best way to respond to customers who ask, “Will you match this online price?” I still haven’t worked this out.

Business coach Bob Negen suggests a five-pronged approach.

  • Start with an appreciation that if a customer has contacted you, they want to buy from you. But to get all the way home, you will likely need to have these other
    elements in place:
  • Be price competitive. Not the lowest price but what will be perceived as fair. “If you give the casual bargain hunter a fair price with an amazing experience, you’re going to win the sale almost every time,” Negen says, adding the easiest way to do this is to not carry items easily price-shopped.
  • Have great salespeople, who Negen calls “hands-down the best way” to eliminate online price pressure.
  • Create a loyalty program. If you have a strong loyalty program and someone talks about price, you can quickly explain how your prices are about the same, or even lower, if they join your program.
  • Offer a “Price-Match Guarantee. “You’ll get very few takers, but you will have eliminated price objections,” Negen says.

Any of these strategies will help you make online price shopping less of a problem, Negen says. Use them all and you may find 2023 is the year you embark on a long relationship with price-conscious customers.



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