Before commencing any interior design project, it’s important that your clients understand how you work and what to expect from your services. And, this is where a welcome packet comes in.
In this guide, I’m going to cover:
- What is a client welcome packet?
- What to include in a client welcome packet
- How to get clients to actually read your welcome packet
Read on to find out how a simple welcome packet can help streamline your new client onboarding process and give you more time to focus on what you love: designing dream spaces.
What is a client welcome packet?
A welcome packet sets the tone for your client: interior designer relationships and helps ensure the smooth running of design projects. It should include everything clients need to know when working with you, from how your interior design process works to whether it’s okay to text you at midnight.
In essence, your new client welcome packet should:
- Help convert initial consultations into clients
- Outline what it’s like to work with you/your company
- Establish boundaries
- Show you are professional and value your work and clients
- Set out expectations (what you expect from clients and what they can expect from you)
- Save you time
What should you include in a client welcome packet?
While the exact contents of a new client welcome packet will vary from firm to firm, at a basic level, it needs to ensure your clients are up to speed on your processes before the project begins.
To help you get off to a good start with new clients, here’s a list of ten elements I believe make up a successful interior design welcome packet:
1. Welcome letter
At the very start of your welcome packet, you should include a quick note introducing new clients to your business and briefly outlining what’s in the rest of the pack. You could also include a little bit about your company values (or add this to a separate page) and how working with you will benefit the client. At the end of the welcome letter, be sure to sign it personally and include your preferred contact details.
2. Team overview
Unless you’re a ‘one-man band’, it’s a good idea to include a ‘meet the team’ page, so new clients get to know who’s who. This is a great way to introduce clients to your company and let them know the best person to contact for different queries once their project commences. Include a headshot, bio and contact details for each team member.
3.Design process outline
Sharing your design process with clients from the get-go is vital, so they have an understanding of what to expect at each stage of the project.
Whatever your process looks like, be sure to break it down into digestible steps, outline what happens at each stage and include approximate time frames.
Perhaps your design process looks something like this:
Stage 1: Understanding client goals (2 weeks)
- Discuss client goals and determine whether you’re a good fit
- Understand the project scope and any obstacles
- Gather room measurements
- Client to fill out a new client questionnaire
Stage 2: Planning and designing (4 weeks)
- Collaborate with the project team and any contractors to create a proposal
- Deliver project proposal based on client’s wants, needs and property type
- Client to sign a design services agreement
Stage 3: Implementation (4 weeks +)
- Oversee installation
- Carry out on-site visits
- Be on hand to answer questions
- Client to finalise payment
Within this section, you may also wish to include a blank outline that you can fill out for individual clients with approximate dates that each step should be completed. This will ensure transparency from the beginning of the project.
4. Services page
Include an overview of the services you offer (e.g. interior design, interior decorating, renovation, project management) and what each service includes. You may also wish to include pricing within this section. If your client has already confirmed which services they’d like, it’s a good idea to highlight these for clarity.
5. Contact information
Be sure to include a contact page that details all the ways clients can keep in touch with you. This page should include:
- Ways clients can contact you: Email, phone, social media, postal address
- Preferred method of contact: If you’d rather clients call you on your work mobile or you don’t communicate with clients via text messages, make this clear
- Business opening hours: State your opening hours and times you’re available to be contacted. Also note down any holidays your business closes for. This will help set communication boundaries from the start of your relationship
6. Getting started: What you need from your clients
To ensure the project runs smoothly, outline the steps your client needs to take before the project can begin. This may include things like:
- Filling out an interior design questionnaire
- Sharing inspirational images
- Sharing room measurements
- Signing a project contract
7. Interior design questionnaire
Before any interior design project can commence, you need to understand what your client wants, and one way to determine this is through a new client interior design questionnaire. Either provide a printed version for clients to fill out or provide a link (if digital welcome pack) and directions on how to fill it out.
Committing to a complete home overhaul may be hard for some clients. And while they’ve likely already done their research on your business prior to the initial consultation, it’s a good idea to include some past client testimonials either on a dedicated page or throughout the welcome pack. This will give clients a positive outlook as their project commences. Including photos can also help inspire clients.
While your terms and conditions will be outlined in your contract, it’s good practice to include some of them in your welcome packet, too.
Policies to highlight in your welcome packet include:
- Payment: Include your preferred payment methods, payment terms, due dates and details of payment plans (if applicable).
*You may wish to include a dedicated payment page for clarity
- Cancellation terms: Outline notice periods and any cancellation fees
If there are common questions clients ask at the start of or throughout every interior design project, add these to an FAQs page. This will save you from having to answer the same questions with each new client.
How to make sure clients read your welcome packet
We’ve all been handed a loaded brochure, taken one look at the number of pages and put it to one side thinking, “I’ll read it later.”
But, how can you stop your clients from doing this and ensure they actually read your welcome packet?
My top three tips are:
- Keep it concise
- Ensure it looks good
- Refer back to it
Keep it concise
One of the main reasons people hire interior designers to do the work for them is because they don’t have the time. So, the last thing they’ll want to do is read pages and pages full of waffle. Keep it concise.
- Use bullet points where possible
- Only include relevant information that’ll aid the process
- Write in your brand voice to keep readers engaged
Ensure it looks good
Digesting content is a lot easier when it’s laid out nicely and looks easy to read. If you’re a brilliant interior designer but lack graphic design skills, tools like Canva can help. With a range of ready-made templates available online, you’ll be able to ensure your welcome packet design is engaging and easy to digest.
- Avoid long blocks of text
- Highlight areas of importance
- Add photos and infographics
Refer back to it
Clients will no doubt have questions about your processes along the way, so make sure this information is included in your welcome packet and refer back to it when common questions arise. If you do your welcome packet right, it should include everything your clients need to know about working with you and will answer the majority of their questions. Of course, there will always be more questions – but that’s just the nature of the job!
Physical or digital welcome packet?
Whether you choose to create a physical or digital welcome packet is entirely up to you and how your business works. If you’re more traditional and have less tech-savvy clients, you may find a physical copy works best. However, if you run an environmentally conscious, innovative business, a digital version will likely better align with your company values.
Whichever you choose, here are some top tips:
Physical welcome packet:
- Use high-quality materials to give a professional look and feel
- Present in a folder if it contains lots of separate sheets of paper
- Include a special touch like a branded notepad or pen
Digital welcome packet:
- Send via email either as a PDF or by including a link
- Add clickable links throughout, e.g. to your website or initial client questionnaire
Now you know the perfect recipe for a client welcome packet, it’s time to create your own! While it may seem like a long and unnecessary task, taking the time to create an engaging pack that includes all the information clients need will save you time in the long run.