As part of Vestabul School of Design, I offer training, coaching and mentoring to kitchen designers.

Many of the designers I work with have decided to venture out on their own and start their own kitchen design business.

Starting any business requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and a solid plan.

Of course, before you start a kitchen design business you need to have a strong background in all things kitchens!

Once you feel you are ready to venture out on your own you will need to follow these 10 steps.

1. Conduct Market Research


Before starting your kitchen design business, it’s important to research the market to determine the demand for your services.

Check out all the local competition to understand the different approaches to kitchen design and sales in your trading area.

Research pricing and services to determine what you will be charging.

A very important part of your market research is to identify your target market or “Avatar”.

You need to find out everything you can about them.

You want to know who your ideal customer is so that you are building a business to address their specific needs.

2. Produce a Business Plan

Business plan writing

A business plan is a roadmap for your business that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections.

This will take some time to put together, but it is the most important step you can take to ensure success in your new business.

If you need to secure a loan or operating capital for your new business, most financial institutions will require a documented business plan.

Even if you don’t need financial help to get your business off the ground, your business plan will give you clear direction and can help measure your progress towards your goals.

3. Choose a Business Structure

options for business types

Decide on a business structure that suits your needs, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC.

Getting advice from an accountant can often help with this decision.

You will also need to register your business and obtain any necessary licenses and permits.

Starting a new business is not a hobby so make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s!

4. Set Up Your Workspace

Home office for kitchen designer

First decide if you will be working from home or leasing an office space.

A kitchen design business requires a workspace that includes a computer, software for designing and drafting, and office supplies.

A designated storage area for samples is important since they can accumulate over time.

Think about how you will be presenting to clients. Will you need a presentation room for your business?

Your business plan should have an area to record these set up costs along with regular costs to keep your workspace operational.

5. Develop Your Services & Pricing

Design package

This step is one I spend a lot of time on with my coaching clients.

There is a variety of different services a kitchen designer can offer, so list out what yours will be.

Are you going to provide design only or full turnkey solutions?

Once you have determined your services, next step is to set your pricing.

Again, there is a variety of ways to charge for your services.

Options could include charging hourly or a set price by project type.

If you will be selling product you could be compensated for your design services through your markup.

As a coach, I promote the development of design packages as a unique way of setting up a kitchen design business.

This is another option you could consider for your kitchen design business.

Remember, you can adjust your pricing as your business evolves.

6. Create a Portfolio

rendering of a kitchen

Since I do not recommend jumping into a kitchen design business without any experience, you should already have the beginning of a portfolio.

Organize your images to showcase your design solutions.

Don’t worry about not having a lot of “money shot” images since detail shots can be a great way to build a portfolio.

The most important thing is to ensure you have permission to use images from your past employer.

If you are starting from scratch with no images, you can showcase your design skills with drawings and renderings.

7. Develop a Marketing Plan

strategy for social media image

A marketing plan is essential for promoting your business and attracting customers.

This plan can include strategies such as networking, advertising, and social media.

Networking is important, especially if your target market includes other allied professionals such as renovators or builders.

Advertising can help to get your name out into your local market. Local publications or radio can be an option.

For social media, don’t try to do everything at once. Pick one or two social media platforms and master them before your move on.

As a kitchen designer, local consumer home shows can be a great marketing avenue to meet motivated prospects.

8. Establish a Website

Kitchen Designer's Website

A business these days needs a website, so include the cost and/or time to do this in your business plan.

You need to start by obtaining a domain name.

Next develop a basic outline of how you want your Avatar to navigate your website.

Research other designers websites to get inspired on what you should include in yours.

Your website will act as your virtual showroom so ensure you spend some time putting together one that reflects you and your business.

9. Pick Your Suppliers

supplier of decorative hardware

Depending on your business model you may or may not be selling products.

If you will be selling products, choosing your suppliers is an important step.

Do your research and make sure they match up with your business phylosophy.

Even if you don’t sell product you will often recommend suppliers to your clients.

So, go through a vetting process to choose the best ones for your to recommend.

10. Launch your Business

Launch your business

Once you have completed all of the above steps, you are ready to launch your business.

Start by reaching out to your network and promoting your services through your marketing plan.

Be patient and persistent, as building a successful kitchen design business takes time and effort.

If you need a little help getting started, reach out to me for a free consultation call.

You can contact me here:

Jan Rutgers has been designing for over 25 years. Developing functional layouts for every area of the home is her passion. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens in her career, learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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