As an interior designer, there’s always so much that you need to get done. While we do not doubt that you’re capable of keeping it all in your head and your notepad, sometimes you’ll need a lot more than that. Between drafting proposals, managing contractors and creating invoices, it can become too much very quickly.
Over the past few years, various companies have come up with interior design project management software, all of which has been designed to not only help you keep track of all your tasks, but to also maximize productivity. Whether you run your own business, or you work for someone, project management software is something every interior designer should invest in.
Do You Need Project Management Software?
The first thing you need to consider when deciding whether you need project management software or not, is how much the world has changed. In past years, designers could manage every project on a notepad, without having to deal with managing social media pages or navigating strict regulations affecting small businesses. Above all, they did not have the strong online competition present in today’s interior design industry. Project management software may therefore be a worthwhile investment to achieve greater efficiency and deliver a better client experience.
When using project management software one is forced – and helped – to plan. To set your project in motion, you must tell the software all the activities that you need to manage. You may not like it at first, but project management software will make sure that you list out all the activities you need to complete within a project. You will also need to assign tasks and deadlines so that all team members know their roles and responsibilities. The need to set all these activities in motion will force you to plan at least.
What Software Is Available?
Now that we’re all up to speed on why Interior Design Project Management Software is valuable, here are some of the most widely used packages.
DesignDocs: DesignDocs is a total project management and online accounting solution for the interior design industry, providing a full suite of business management tools for interior designers. Founded by a husband and wife team (Chartered Accountant, Designer), DesignDocs provides financial reports on the project and company level so designers can have a strong understanding of their profit margins and identify where they can improve. A solo plan ranges from $59-$69 per month and a professional plan for a minimum of 2 users ranges from $44-$49 per month.
Design Manager: Design Manager is currently used by about three thousand firms because it was designed to target interior design firms specifically. Design Manager contains literally all the features needed to effectively manage an Interior Design project. Some of these features include accounting, purchase order tracking, inventory management and generation of reports. Currently there are two packages available on Design Manager – The DM Cloud package which is priced at $39.99/month and the Pro Cloud package which is priced at $59.99/month. The only downside to this software package is its slightly more complex user interface. Unlike Ivy, users usually take a little more time navigating Design Manager.
Ivy – now part of Houzz Pro for Designers: If you’re new to project management software, Ivy is a good place to start. Ivy was designed to take the pain out of administrative tasks so that designers can focus on what they really love. Ivy has various features including product sourcing, time and expense tracking, project tracking, room boards, status reports and even a mobile app. One of the most loved features of this software is that it can be integrated directly with QuickBooks online. This makes accounting and online payment processing as seamless as possible. They currently run three standard packages, the most expensive being almost $150 a month.
Mydoma Studio: Mydoma Studio is a newer project management software. However, this is not a weakness at all. This software is a great organizational tool for interior design projects. With Mydoma Studio, you can create automated processes to make the work progression much easier. One of the more interesting features of this software is the project board feature. This is basically a place to keep all the project information including space information, before pictures, space measurements etc.). This board can be shared with clients. In fact, think of it as a project management software that allows you to collaborate with your clients on design projects. With this software, you can have clients fill out an onboarding questionnaire, sign a project contract as well as send advance payments. Even with all these great features, Mydoma Studio is more limited in its applications that all the other packages discussed in this article. This is because it does not feature an in-built accounting system; you will have to connect it to QuickBooks online. This software costs $59/month and an extra $40 to integrate QuickBooks.
Studio Designer: Studio Designer is another widely used project management software. In fact, it boasts of just as many users as Design Manager. In addition to making project management hitch free, Studio Design also provides users with project accounting features. In 2016, they turned the market around by creating a vendor and client portal. With this feature, clients could interact with designers on ongoing projects and vice versa. Other features of this software include ordering, creating and managing project timelines, inventory and logistics management. Although all these features may be overwhelming for new designers, once you get the hang of this, Studio Designer is your one-stop shop for all your Interior Design project management needs. They have two packages available for purchase – the Basic package priced at $35/month and the Professional package priced at $45 a month.
In addition to all the software discussed earlier, some other great options include Design Files and DesignerLogic. So, if you’re an interior designer looking to improve your current project management practices, you should explore one of these software packages.
Design a Great Day!