I’ve checked my pricing with online sources on many occasions, in cases where I’m selling the client the same goods they can get online themselves. Often, my pricing is less or about the same. Sometimes it is more. I feel I’m pretty competitive with pricing on product though. It typically balances out to about the same overall project cost to the client, in situations where those products are available, exactly as is, online.
And believe me, the client is getting someone who most certainly cares about their project, rather than a typical online retailer, who doesn’t know them or their home at all.
Items will arrive at the home of a design client with a white glove delivery service placing everything exactly where desired, with no boxes or wrapping to undo, no returns to make themselves for damaged goods, etc. Art can be installed on the walls, rugs delivered and spread, window treatments hung, etc.
It is all designed to be my worry, not theirs! (And believe me, sometimes it can be a big worry! 🙂
In that process of procurement, after all the design is done, then there is so much work still to do!
Just to get accurate pricing on items, especially items like upholstery or window treatments, there are quotes to get from workrooms and vendors (this often takes days to obtain, btw), there is pricing to obtain on the fabrics, trim, extra details, stock checks, and even freight cost estimation that will go into the order. All that comes together in one invoice or proposal price to the client.
That has to be done with each piece or element of the room.
This is part of the job and it is done with the idea that the client will make that end purchase through the designer, to help move them toward completion of their project.
Things can get a little mixed up when clients go shopping and find items themselves. Not only does it make any time spent by the designer finding and pricing those items a waste, but it also cuts some of the profit they anticipate making on the job.
It can make more work for the designer too, as often other items might have to be reselected to work with what was found.