Did you know that interior design is one of the most complex business models out there? Getting it to work systematically while maintaining quality and authenticity is critical to making money at it. Want to know the trick behind quick and easy training of new staff and getting the whole team to follow the rules? You might have guessed, yes, use an operations manual.  If utilized properly, like any good tool, it will change the quality of your business drastically!

interior design operations manual for the interior design business

A custom operations manual is a thrilling thing to get in the mail. Imagine it all done and beautiful. They are not only gorgeous, but extremely comprehensive. 300 pages of very specific instructions and procedures. So amazing!

The operations manual is a powerful business tool that not only documents your organization, but facilitates the streamlining of operations, quickens employee training, contributes to higher retention rates and provides the template for scaling the business for growth. It will act as the template for your entire organization.


As important as this is, I am amazed at how few design firms actually have all their procedures and protocol documented.  Coming from the technology sector and the corporate environment, this is mid-blowing!  No serious business would function without one. Why? Well, it’s not because they are fun to write or they look good on the shelf. It is possibly because it helps you grow your firm in an intentional way, with a defined set of values and culture. And it is definitely because having an operations manual saves the company a ton of money and time.

How?  Well, let me ask you this. How much money would you save if your training time was cut in half?

How much money would you save if you had employees that did their job right and stayed with the company long-term?

How much easier would your life be if your team, even remote members understood what your company was about and really “got it”?

interior design business expert features  Laura Casey, Charlotte, NC interior designer

Laura Casey is a great example of an interior designer who is taking charge of her business and taking it to the next level of luxury. Look for her feature in the next Interior Design Business Journal Newsletter!

The answer: Many thousands of dollars! Do your business a favor and update the procedures you wrote down years ago. Gather all the random documents and combine them into one and fill in the gaps. Think of it as a way to preserve all your hard work on building your business, systems and methods. Think of it as a way to get a return on your investment. Remember, if it’s not documented, you don’t own it.  As you strive to ramp up your business again, this will become increasingly critical.

Steps to pulling your operations manual together:

Start with your table of contents. Include sections that are critical to your business, like:

  • Code of conduct
  • Office Routines
  • Administration
  • Facilities
  • Design Processes
  • Expediting
  • Accounting
  • Marketing and PR
  • Client Services

Then list detailed procedures needed in each of these sections.  That will act as your skeleton and your to-do list.

Next, find everything that has been documented already and copy and paste it into the master document.

Finally, keep updating it until every aspect of your business is well documented.

Yes, I know what you are thinking right now; who has time for this?  Yes, it takes about 1000 hours, is the estimate. If you need some assistance with determining the best procedures and getting them documented I can save you hundreds of hours of time and years of trial and error.

We have two programs that may be a good fit for you; one is the MMG|VIP Membership which is a serve yourself membership that gives you access to documents, training videos and procedures for members as well as 2 monthly online group meetings.

The other, more tailored and comprehensive option is the Business Blueprint. This Professional Interior Design Business Program is comprehensive operations manuals for either small, medium or large firms with live training and personal sessions to help you implement the best practices.

Take a look and get the help that best addresses your needs, so you can move ahead and take advantage of this new wave of business. Seriously take charge of your business and take it to the next level! Now is the time!


Expecting Great Things,

Julia A. Molloy



Do I understand from this article on Procedures Manuals that you put one together for a firm? What is the cost of for this?
Linda Floyd

    Hi Linda,
    Yes, we do. There are a few different options, but they range from $2,500 for a sole-proprietor firm to $6,700 for a large firm. The business Blueprint program also includes live training for a month, a one-on-one consultation with me and one year of monthly meetings to make sure you get all the support you need to implement and develop your firm. Call me next week at 503-208-2757. I would be happy to provide you with all the information and determine which version would meet your needs at this time.

    Thanks so much for joining my blog!

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