Today I want to talk about interior design business management software. There are lots of them out there, so I thought it might be helpful to give you my two cents about which we use, why we use it, and how we use it!
Let's jump in!
Our software of choice is Ivy.co.
Ivy.co is a super robust interior design project management software, and I'll admit, we don't utilize it to it’s full capacity, so rather than get into all it is capable of, I’ll just focus in on how we utilize the software in our business.
First of all, Ivy.co has this awesome little web “clipper” (not unlike the pin tool for Pinterest) that gets installed on your browser, and it allows you to clip product right from the internet into the program. So, say I had the Four Hands Furniture website up, and there's a sofa I want to utilize in a project; I can use the clipper to select images right off the website, grab the SKU number, add different client facing descriptions and vendor descriptions (for when I create my purchase orders later).
**This feature is great for instances where you want to white label the product so your client doesn’t “shop” you.**
Then, within Ivy, there’s a function called creating “proposals”, which is essentially building out a source list of the furniture, prices and quantities. What’s awesome is that you can switch it into “designer view” so you can input all your margins, view vendor information, and so on, and then switch back to "client view" to see the document you'll actually present.
Once you’ve used the clipper to pull a handful of items from the web into Ivy.co, you can then easily add all these items to your proposal and start building out your price list. This is really helpful during the design process so you can keep track of your budget as you add and remove product, services, shipping, and other costs. You can also keep track of your profit margins, and see how much you are making on the project overall.
Then, once you have your price list completed and ready to go, you can create beautifully designed tear sheets of all your items to utilize in your design presentation. I’ll typically have these, along with a PDF of the price list, printed on really nice paper and leave these copies with my client after our presentation meeting.
Having a printed version ONLY instead of sending this digitally makes it less appealing for your clients to shop you. Because you can now do image searches online, this route adds an extra step—scanning or photographing the image—in the process. Most likely, they wont go through the trouble.
Example of an Ivy Tear Sheet:
Example of Ivy Price Sheets:
Once everything is approved, you can then easily turn your proposals into purchase orders. If you were diligent about entering product and vendor information, you can basically do this in the click of a button, which saves tons of time on ordering.
As far as pricing, the program can feel a little expensive, especially if you are first getting started (something like $599/year), but I believe they offer a monthly plan. To me, the cost is totally worth it because I know I’d spend hours putting together and formatting price sheets and tear sheets, and with ivy, everything looks beautiful and professional right from the get go.
There’s really so much more you can do through Ivy, but for our business and the kind of projects we do, I find some of it a little overkill. You can track ordered items and received items and scheduled deliveries all that jazz (we utilize a design center, and they do all that for us, but if you're a bigger firm you might find those features really helpful!).
So, go check it out at Ivy.co and let us know what you think about it. If you already use Ivy, let us know if you have any great Ivy.co haacks or short cuts, or maybe there's a completely different program that you use and prefer—and if so, we'd love to hear about it! Share your thoughts below!
P.S. If you haven't yet, go get your copy of my Top 9 Interior Design Business Resources!