Havenly connects interior designers with customers who are looking for inexpensive design work, promising to pay designers a flat fee, plus commissions.

Expected pay: Likely less than minimum wage

Husl$core: $$

Commissions & fees: Not disclosed

Where: Remote and many major U.S. cities

Requirements: design experience and the ability to design online using photoshop and other software

Havenly review:

Havenly connects interior designers with customers who are looking for inexpensive interior design work. Customers who want to redo a room pay a flat fee based on the service they choose. Those who want just a mini-design — no layout, just ideas, inspiration, colors, and a shopping list, pay $79 to $99. For a full room layout, you’ll pay $129 to $179. (These prices depend on whether you’re paying regular prices or a promotional rate.)

This is an undeniably good deal for customers. But it appears to be an equally bad deal for the interior designers doing the work. Here’s why. 

Havenly sucks designers in to the job by promising to let you run your own interior design business, with them doing the hard work of finding the clients. But they set the fees and the terms of the agreement.

Designers are paid a flat fee plus commissions. Havenly says these flat fees range from $60 to $79. (However, designers say the payment is often less.) For that designers must consult with the client, come up with three design ideas, a shopping list, and a final design. If the customer bought the full room design, designers must also provide a custom floor plan and layout visualizations. But here’s the real kicker. The site also promises customers “multiple design revisions, until it’s perfect.” You also apparently have to meet design deadlines or be subject to fines.

Endless revisions

What the promised “multiple revisions” means to designers is they need to do seemingly endless revisions for no extra money. That would be bad under any circumstances, but it’s particularly bad when the money is pretty miserable to start with. Havenly doesn’t say how much of the customer’s design fee goes to the designer doing the work. However, industry standard would be 50%. Assuming it’s the same here, the designer might only make $40 to $50 from the flat fee on the mini plan. 

Commissions

What about commissions? Designers must recommend products from affiliated merchants at Havenly, so the shopping list that you might earn commissions from is limited. Worse, however, is that people who look for bargain-basement designs might be doing that because they’re on a tight budget. So your chance of earning big commissions here is also slim.

The commission rate that the sight says “goes up to 7%” appears to go down to 1% to 2%, as well. In a best-case scenario, designers say they earn a few hundred dollars in commissions. Given the time it takes to create the design and respond appropriately to the endless revision requests, designers say they make far less than minimum wage here.

Recommendations

There are a number of sites that treat designers better, including Decorilla, Creatively and Fiverr. Frankly, you can even earn more by working hourly in the design studios at retail sites like Ikea or Home Depot.

Want to try Havenly anyway?

Here’s a direct link to the site.

What their users say (from Glassdoor)

The pay system they have set up is a joke and should be illegal. It gives interior design a bad name. Clients often request revisions and search for alternate products when the “design process” on the website is over. So you don’t get paid to do any extra work which is always required. The “design leads” they assign you also don’t know anything that’s going on and can’t give you help. 

“I liked the flexibility and the ability to grow my design portfolio. But there was more priority on sales and meeting numeric goals than there was on design artistry and quality. Time constraints were extreme. Clients were often unsure of how the process worked so you spent a lot of time explaining what the service is.”“Terrible pay, free revisions, schedule not actually flexible, attracts clients with unrealistic expectations.”

Less than minimum wage

“Designers get paid practically below minimum wage because most of your pay comes from commission on sales. A lot of clients go through the whole process (5-6 hours or work) and buy nothing and you make around $50. And the commission percentage is insanely low for designers. If a client buys $8,000 worth of items you only make $200.”

They tell you you can work whenever you want since it’s a remote position. However they give you client, after client, after client and deadlines to meet. You end up spending SOO much time on each project with clients that keep changing their mind. They make you redo the design until they are 10000%. Once they are absolutely happy, it’s their option if they want to buy anything or not. If they decide they just want to look at the pretty design and buy elsewhere cause it’s cheaper, they are not obligated to buy anything. At the end of the day, if the client decides they don’t want to buy anything, then you don’t make any money. Commission rate is SOO low, even if clients buy anything you don’t make much. Not paid hourly. If you want this as a pastime with no pay, have fun!

Late fees

The pay is below industry standard (less than $5/hour). And then they will use further ways to deduct from it. Example- $20 deducted off your pay if you are late even once by a few hours. Extremely low commission ( 1-2%) for the vendor tier that is most popular with their client base.

Clients have constant access to you. And if you don’t respond in 8 hours $20 is taken from your design fee. Clients are allowed endless revisions. So if you design a room and finish the design exactly like the client wanted it, but suddenly the client wants to go a different direction, then you get to start over. And do double, (or triple) the work for the price of one. The commission is a joke.

Overworked and underpaid

“Seriously over worked and seriously underpaid.”

“They are taking horrible advantage of talented people by refusing to pay you for your time. The culture is the most toxic environment I have ever encountered.”

“Low pay, endless revisions, 2 day turn around times.”

“Wow.. I’ve never been in such a demeaning and discouraging job. I’m surprised that Havenly can get away with paying so little for so much work. Some projects paid as little as $3 an hour with the amount of revisions that had to be done. My advice: don’t fall into the trap of thinking Havenly could be a great fit just because it’s remote.”