How Much Should Interior Designers Charge for Deposits?


Managing cash flow is one of the biggest challenges interior designers face when running their businesses. One crucial aspect that can significantly impact financial stability is determining the right deposit amounts to charge clients upfront. A member of our community recently posed the question, sparking a thoughtful discussion among experienced designers.

Member Query:

“I’m wondering how much designers here are asking for as a deposit on proposals? 50%? 70%? 100%? We are changing some of our business practices and I am curious as we have usually done 70% but I hear some are asking for 100% less tax and delivery which is due prior to delivery. And if you do charge 100% how do your clients react?”

Insights from the Design Community

Selected Comment 1:

“Old timer here… I charge by the hour and bill once a month. For product which includes fabrics, wallpaper, furniture, rugs, lighting etc. I do an estimate for each item and get their signature…each estimate serves as a contract. I get a deposit which covers my cost with a small percentage to cover shipping.” – @mhmcantq

Selected Comment 2:

“We charge a flat design fee based on the scope of the job. This is due in full before I get started or show any presentations. All goods are due 100% before anything is purchased. This avoids getting burned any which way.” – @gallointeriordesign

Selected Comment 3:

“We have a $5k minimum, so that’s our deposit. We bill twice monthly and rarely have an invoice go over $5k for services, so that covers us well. Products are paid 100% upfront. We also don’t give estimates anymore.” – @waldron_designs

Determining the Right Deposit Strategy

Design Fee Deposits When it comes to design fees, designers take different approaches. Some charge a percentage like 20-50% upfront as a deposit, while others require the entire fee to be paid before beginning any work…

Product Cost Deposits For furniture, decor, and other product purchases, the overwhelming consensus is to collect 100% of the estimated costs upfront before placing orders with vendors…

Minimum Project Deposits Several designers mentioned implementing a minimum project fee, such as $5,000, to be charged as the baseline deposit. This ensures they are covered for services rendered, especially on smaller projects…

Protecting Your Business

Collecting substantial deposits, particularly for product costs, is a way for designers to mitigate financial risks and headaches down the line. Not only does it prevent potential conflicts with vendors over unpaid balances, but it also streamlines cash flow…


As the insights above illustrate, there is no universal deposit policy that works for every interior design firm. The appropriate strategy depends on factors like a company’s processes, project scope, client relationships, and risk tolerance. However, charging 100% of estimated product costs upfront emerges as a widely adopted best practice to protect designers’ businesses and cash flow. Ultimately, implementing a clear, upfront deposit policy can go a long way in setting the right expectations and maintaining a smooth client experience.

What has been your approach to deposit amounts? Share your perspectives and experiences in the comments below!

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