Interior Designer vs Contractor

What's the Difference?

  • Interior Designers charge for renovation quotes, General Contractors quote for free
  • Interior Designers compile quotes based on finishes and fixtures previously selected with the client (using their expertise to guide the client in making appropriate selections).
  • Contractors use an estimated price for fixtures and finishes to compile quotes.  Taking an educated guess on what they anticipate the client will select (providing the client with recommended suppliers from which to make their own selections).
  • Interior Designers do an site walk-through with required trades providing them with a scope of work outlining details as specific as tile layouts, and grout colour.  Designers discuss with trades potential obstacles and finish quality standards, often identifying and preventing potential complications and brain-storming aesthetic solutions for difficult finish details with the trades on site.
  • Contractors base their quotes on experience from past projects and square footage estimates.
  • Charging for quotes allows Interior Designers the ability to be diligent with the details of design, quality of construction and accuracy of quotes, anticipating and avoiding complications.
  • Contractors are not afforded the luxury of investing the time to compile accurate quotes. They need to land a project in order to get paid for their time and efforts.  There is always room for discrepancy based on the price of the actual finishes and fixtures a client selects verses the amount allocated in the budget.  There are a few ways a General Contractor can rectify this.  They can request an increase to the budget, or adjust the quality of construction materials, their work, the trades they hire and/or finishing details.
  • Interior Designers are easily able to provide detailed contracts based on the accurate and specific signed scope of work they require from trades.
  • The contracts Contractors provide are not able to be as accurately project specific.  Often times many finishes and fixtures have not yet been selected and trades have not provided a thorough quote with consideration to site conditions.

If you are serious about renovating and are looking for attention to detail, you should feel confident and comfortable paying for a quote. 

Having a detailed quote prior to the start of a renovation not only gives you an accurate expectation of the outcome, it gives you the opportunity to adjust the details of the quote to fit your budget.  Swapping out finishes or fixtures, down grading design details or renovating in stages are always options. And who better to guide you, when to splurge and when to economize, ensuring the best possible outcome to suite your needs and budget?  You guessed it… your Interior Designer :)

Whether to go with an Interior Designer or a General Contractor is entirely up to you and  your renovation needs.  Either way trust is the most important factor.  Your project will run smoother and be less stressful, for everyone involved, if you take the time to find the right person for your renovation project. 

(All references regarding Interior Designer project management practices, are general assumptions, based
specifically on the process Racher Interior Design implements for their projects.  All references regarding General Contractor project management practices are general assumptions, based on our experience.)