15 January, 2024

How to Start an Interior Design Business in the UK

With over 6,064 interior designers in the UK, launching your own interior design business is sure to be one hard bone to chew. To do this, you would need as much knowledge as you can get about the industry. To add to the bulk of the wealth of knowledge available at your disposal, this article seeks to provide you with a detailed guide on how to start an interior design company in the UK. Keep reading to learn how to start an interior design business in the UK and everything else you need to thrive in this space!

How to Start and Interior Design Business in the UK

Narrow Your Speciality and Determine Your Services

Starting an interior design business in the UK is not a walk in the park. It requires time, effort, and detailed planning to get it done. A step in planning your interior decoration business is defining your niche and determining your intended service.

To do this, the simple thing is Research! A good research will open your mind to the various possibilities in the industry and which one to embrace.  However, your major priority should be your customers. You have to determine their needs, wants, and places of concern.

Knowing these things brings your brand one step ahead of competitors and also helps you determine the most lucrative parts of the industry. You can adopt different research methods to narrow your niche and identify your future clients. Some of these methods are competitor analysis, client analysis, and search engine utilisation.

These research methods will give you an idea of a niche and how to start your own interior design business in the UK or anywhere else. Once you have a niche, the next step is determining the services you want to offer. Some of these services include:

  • Full-Service Design: Here, you carry out all the interior design work, from design consultancy to the actual decoration.
  • Partial Service: In partial Service design, you render specific services to your clients based on their demands.
  • E-Design: With this service, you create all your interior art and designs online.
  • Design Consultation: As the name implies, you provide your client or customers with all interior design advice and consultation.

Develop a Business Plan and Choose a Business Name

Creating a business plan and choosing a business name are two of the most important steps in starting an interior decorating business in the UK. A business plan is a formal-written document containing all your business goals and your steps to achieve these goals. It is an essential tool for anyone wishing to grow their business.

This is because about 70% of businesses with a brand appearance of over 5 years tie their survival to their meticulous use of strategic business plans. The following is some vital information that every good business plan must contain.

1. Business Description

A good business plan must contain a vivid description of your interior design business. This is where you get to state your business name, the goals of the business, and the services it will render. Here, you also state the visions and missions of your company, as well as your target customers.

2. Competitive Analysis

Judging by the vastness of the interior decoration industry, it’s impossible for you to start this business without having competitors. Competitors are determined by their geographic proximity to your target coverage area or by the nature of the services they offer.

Hence, competitive analysis is a detailed breakdown of who your competitors are in the industry, including their strengths and weaknesses. You must also clearly state how your brand differs from them by determining your uniqueness in vision, services, and delivery.

3. Marketing Plan

After you have researched your target market, include the results of the research in the plan. You have to state who your potential customers are, their locations, age brackets, needs, and pain points. You need to also determine the barrier to entry in that market and the inhibitions to growth and development.

Then craft out the various business and promotion strategies you intend to use to penetrate the market, acquire customers, stay above the competition, and boost your business sales. All these would be quite easier when you determine your brand’s unique selling point (USP) and leverage it.

4. Financial Plan

What is a business without a financial plan? Whether you’re looking for how to start a business from scratch in the UK or to scale up an existing one, the truth is, that you can't achieve much without a robust and reliable financial plan. A good financial plan not only helps you keep track of your money, but will also help you make a good sales and profit projection plan.

In your financial plan, you must ensure you state the amount of capital required to start your interior company and how you’ll invest the money in the growth of the business. Evidence or a pro forma balance sheet must also support or account for these financial claims. This section of your business plan is so important that investors would always pay rapt attention to it before determining whether to come on board or not.

Proper Business Registration

Registering your business with professional interior design bodies in the UK, like the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), is one bold step to take in your quest to start an interior decoration company in the UK. It is also important for you to acquire all necessary business documentation, including:

1. Business Licence

To open an interior design business in the UK, you need to secure a legal licence from the appropriate state agencies. These legal licences give you the freedom to run your business anywhere in the UK.

2. Tax Identification Number

A tax identification number is a government-issued unique identifier that confers on you a business entity that you can use for all your tax filing and payment. You also need to get yourself familiar with all tax regulations and laws in the UK.

3. Insurance

Apart from being a regulatory requirement, getting an insurance plan for your business is important because it protects you from any loss or damage that you may encounter during the period of your business. This is why it is advisable to get your business insured with a recognised insurance company in the UK. Some of the most popular business insurance you need for your interior design business include:

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: If design consultancy is part of the services your future interior design company will offer, then you will need professional indemnity insurance. It takes care of any compensation cost for your clients for any loss or damage they may incur due to advice or negligent services they get from you. This type of insurance will cost you starting from £332 annually; however, the cost depends on various rating factors.
  • Public Liability Insurance: This insurance policy covers claims that may arise from any loss or injury encountered by the public during your work. The cost usually varies from £56 to £481 annually, which on average is £119 a year.
  • Employers’ Liability Insurance: If you are an employer, this is for you. This insurance covers any injury, loss, or damage encountered by your worker(s). The cost falls in the range of £60 to £600 per employee, but the actual cost depends on the riskiness of the work being done.
  • Building Insurance: you should get this, as long as you have your own office or firm, you should get building insurance. This type of insurance will cost around £120 per year.

Set up a Business Office and Acquire the Necessary Equipment

The role of a business office when opening an interior decorating business in the UK can never be overemphasised. First, it’s the place from where you run your business operations. Then, it serves as a correspondence for your post. To get a good office space in a prime London location, you should be ready to spend a bit over £10,000 on rent annually.

That's in addition to the cost of office equipment and furniture. If you're just starting in the industry with a limited budget, you may end up blowing your entire capital on only your office space. The alternative, however, will save all these and more, including the cost and stress of daily commuting.

The way to achieve this is to simply use your home or anywhere else to remotely run your business, then pay for a virtual office solution that offers you a tier-one business address in London and mail handling and forwarding services.

A few of the benefits of choosing this option when opening an interior design business in the UK are that you get to receive your post promptly and enjoy the perks that come with having your official office address in a strategic location.

Consider the Hoxton Mix Your Trusted Partner

If you decide to start your interior decoration company in the UK the smart way and curb some overhead costs, your best partner should be The Hoxton Mix. The Hoxton Mix is a renowned provider of virtual and private office space in London, United Kingdom. The company was set up to assist freelancers and entrepreneurs in securing their dream physical or virtual workspace.

Starting from as low as £15 per month, we have various plans carefully curated to meet your unique needs. You also get a London 090 phone number for only £6.99. What's more? Should you ever need to meet with your clients in person, you can book our well-furnished executive meeting rooms for a token. Check out our virtual office plan now to get started.


What are the benefits of starting an interior design business in the UK?

Starting an interior design business in the UK is one way to enhance your creative abilities. In addition to this, it is quite a lucrative business that is not just rewarding, but also fun.

How much does it cost to start an interior design business in the UK?

The cost of starting an interior design business in the UK varies according to scale and location. Hence, there’s no fixed cost.

How do you find clients for your interior design business in the UK?

While it is important to know how to open an interior design company in the UK, it is also necessary for you to have an idea of how to find potential clients. To find and draw the attention of your target customers, you have to make your presence known online. One way to do this is by utilising different social media platforms.

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