How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Interior Design Firm

Sean Lund-Brown

You’re in the business of design, not the business of answering the phones. That’s why a receptionist is essential for your interior design firm. If you don’t already have one in place, or you need additional help, now is the time to act. Of course, you have to make sure that you take the time to find the right person for the job. 

That’s a loaded statement, we know. But that’s also why we’re here to help. It’s easier to figure out what you need from a receptionist when you know what to look for. It’s even simpler when you have a chance to compare your options and see what you can get for your money. Today, for example, it might prove to be a better option for your firm to outsource its needs because an on-site receptionist isn’t quite the right fit. 

In any case, you’ll have all the answers that you need to point you in the right direction by the time you finish this guide. 

You’re busy working on designs and client projects. The last thing you have time for is fielding phone calls, answering general questions, and handling things like scheduling and payment collection. That’s where a receptionist comes into play. Along with a robust omnichannel communication strategy, they can ensure that your business gets the solutions that it needs, and you’ll be able to focus on the business of design projects at hand. 

How many times have you been in the middle of designing or decorating a space only to hear your phone ringing and be unable to get to it in time? Or perhaps you’ve found yourself consulting with a client only to be constantly interrupted by phone calls, emails, and other client needs. It can be a lot to handle, but you don’t have to handle it alone. A receptionist for your interior design firm can offer:

  • Someone to field calls and respond to messages
  • Somone to answer basic questions and direct clients toward other resources
  • Someone to handle scheduling, lead screening, and other admin tasks
  • Someone to setup consultations, send out estimates, and share schedules of design projects
  • Someone to make copies and/or share documents, design blueprints, etc. 
  • Someone to remind clients of upcoming appointments or check on unpaid balances
  • Someone to field concerns, complaints, and general inquiries when you aren’t available


How much is it going to cost?


This is the question everyone asks when it comes to adding someone to their company. Whether it’s outsourced help or a hired employee, people need to know what it’s going to cost. Fortunately, you’ll be happy to know that no matter how you source them, a receptionist can be an affordable investment. Contractors and third-party services may have more affordable solutions because they aren’t incurring overhead and other expenses, but that also might vary from one candidate to the next. 

If you hire an employee, the going rate for professional receptionists is between $11 and $14 per hour, currently. Then, of course, you’ll have to factor in benefits, overhead, training and onboarding costs, and so forth. If you’re ready for an actual employee, this will be feasible. If you don’t have the means to spend all this money on your receptionist, investing in a third-party or contracting the work might be the best option. 

Regardless of the bottom dollar, you should be able to find the solutions that you need for an affordable price. Remember that the more experience and talent you get, the higher the rates will generally be. However, if you choose to contract, you can often create a plan where you only pay for what you need. For companies on a budget, this might be the better way to go. 

Remember that you’re looking for quality first and cost should only be relevant insofar as it matters to your budget. You should never hire “cheap help” without seeing what they can do because that’s almost always going to be a waste of money. 


What’s the benefit of having a receptionist?


The benefits of having a receptionist are many. It gives your business a professional image and gives you someone that is dedicated to answering phones, taking questions, screening leads, and so forth. It frees up your time to focus on your projects and clients and gives your business a more streamlined operation with fewer tasks on the plates of your employees (that they probably shouldn’t be handling anyway). 

A front desk receptionist or virtual receptionist will afford you benefits like:

  • More time to spend with your clients and projects 
  • A more organized front desk and office
  • Management of the physical and/or virtual office space 
  • Someone is available 24/7 (when you choose this route) to answer client inquiries 
  • A professional image that lets people know that you are serious about what you do
  • Time and money saved because you’ll be able to focus on taking care of business instead of wasting your valuable time answering phones and messages
  • Top-rate service for all of your visitors and clients that is available, regardless of what you are doing 

Basically, a receptionist frees up a lot of your time and takes care of a lot of the tedious tasks that you typically don’t want to handle in a day. Perhaps you just don’t have the time or the means to handle them, even if you wanted. In any case, a receptionist is a role that every business needs. 

After all, we’ve been using receptionists since the dawn of business—why would that change now? It’s less about the benefits, really, and more about the fact that this is someone you need in your business, no matter how you source them. 


Should I hire someone or contract it out?


This is a question that only you can answer. Hiring an employee is great for those who have a need for a full-time receptionist. This may not always be the case, so you will have to determine what you need. If you have the capacity and demand for a full-time receptionist on your staff, or even a part-time employee that you hire, go ahead and hire them. Just make sure that you crunch the numbers and consider the options first. 

Contracting the work for a receptionist is often a better choice because you will get more for your money. You can work with third-party companies that are skilled in receptionist and admin work and who will take care of all the things that you need without costing you nearly as much as an in-house employee. For some, there may not even be a need to hire someone on full-time or to have a staffed employee. 

If your business is just getting into this area or you think that you want a more dynamic solution, a virtual receptionist could be the way to go. This will allow you to pick and choose the solutions that you need, and to get them for a fraction of the cost of what you’d spend on an hourly salary, benefits, onboarding, and other costs. You can often get more services and better talent without spending as much. 

Contracting is also great if:

  • You don’t have time to manage another employee
  • You’re not quite sure how the receptionist services will go over at first
  • You want to test the waters and free up your time 


Ultimately, it may not be ideal for everyone, but it’s worth considering when you want better solutions for less money, or when you don’t have the space for an employee but need all the benefits of a receptionist. 


Qualities to look for in a good receptionist


There are several different qualities and skills that make a good receptionist. Not every business will have the same needs, but the general abilities are standard across the board, for the most part. When you’re hiring a receptionist, you will want to make sure that they have some experience with actual communications and admin work, but that’s also stuff that you can teach over time. 

In most cases, it’s best to hire someone with the right soft skills and attitude, because those are things you can’t teach. For example, you’ll want a receptionist for your interior design firm that is:

  • An active listener
  • Dedicated to helping resolve problems and deliver answers
  • Organized and detail-oriented
  • Motivated and self-starting
  • Patient and confident
  • Able to work with a team or independently
  • Tech-savvy and quick to learn new skills
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Friendly and personable, yet professional
  • Teachable 
  • Able to multitask and switch gears easily

These are skills that will be invaluable to your business and that are often much harder to “teach” than hard skills like phone or computer literacy. It’s more about finding the right person for the job because their qualities will come naturally. 

Your best receptionist will be a “Jack of all trades”, of sorts. They will be able to handle anything your interior design firm needs, and they will be willing to do whatever needs done. Hiring a third party or a remote receptionist may give you the chance to get better talent without the cost of hiring an employee. In either case, though, these are qualities that should be at the top of your list. 


Hiring a receptionist: FAQs


Now that we’ve covered all that information, you’re probably still spinning from digesting it all. Fortunately, if you’ve been taking notes, you’ll still have the insight you need to choose the right help for your firm. In order to wrap up and help you get a little more information, we wanted to cover some of the common questions and answers about hiring a receptionist. 


How much will a receptionist cost me?

The cost of a receptionist is different for every business. It depends on how you source your candidates (hourly vs. contract) and what kind of services you need. However, you’ll be happy to know that you can generally get receptionist services for a lot more affordable rates than you expected, and especially when you choose to outsource. 


Do I need to hire someone in-house?

If your interior design firm has a need for in-house help, source it. If you can get what you need from a receptionist by choosing a third-party service, that’s acceptable, as well. By now, you should have enough information to determine whether hiring an employee is the right fit, or if you’ll be better off to outsource or contract the work to a freelancer to save money or get more for your dollar. 


When should I hire a receptionist for my interior design firm?

If you’re without a receptionist, now is the time to get one. If you think you need one, you should probably hire one. Basically, if you have to ask, it’s probably time. Take a minute to think about the value that you get from a receptionist and the solutions that they can offer. Is that something that your interior design firm can benefit from at this point? If so, it’s time to get help. 


What about virtual receptionists?

Today, there is a new option available for the modern business: virtual receptionists. These individuals are highly trained, and they know how to handle all kinds of tasks, but they work remotely and can be the face of your brand without you having to hire someone in-house. This can save a lot of money and give you a lot more services for what you spend. Plus, it gives you access to better talent than you might find hiring locally. 


Save time and streamline your communications when you partner with Smith.ai 


There’s a lot on your plate already. Having to source, hire, and manage an employee might not be something that you want to (or have time to) deal with. Fortunately, you don’t have to. With the assistance of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll be able to find all of the solutions that you need and you won’t have to do any of the work. Plus, it’ll cost about a fraction of what you’d spend on an hourly employee. 

Our dedicated receptionists can handle after-hours calls, live website chat, scheduling, intake, and anything else that you need. We can even help you collaborate to create a strategy to manage it all so that you never miss a beat, even when you’re not the one fielding the communications. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss how the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can improve your interior design business with streamlined communications and more. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

Try Smith.ai now

Accelerate growth with live receptionists and AI. Get started risk-free for 14 days!

Accelerate growth with live chat agents and AI. Get started risk-free for 14 days!

GEt Started NOWGEt Started NOW

Contact our sales team today at (650) 727-6484 or schedule a call.

sign up for our newsletter

Thank you!
Your submission has been received.
Yikes! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Categories