Last year I was shocked by the number of design companies that were angered by my request to reveal their Income Tax Return (ITR) as part of the criteria to enter ‘India’s Best Design Studio Awards’. I know for sure that designers do not want to discuss how much they earn.
That’s understandable because designers have better profitability compared to any other business. So while they earn well and have a good lifestyle, their business turnover might be very low, not comparable to other businesses. Designers think low turnovers may make clients undervalue the value they bring to the table.
Designers are also not sure of how much the competition is earning. This is hardly surprising since there is no parity or charge cards for design fees. Most designers that I know are pretty clear about doing good, clean business; in the sense they deal with all transactions in white, and are obviously not worried about tax raids. Many that I spoke to didn’t know why they shouldn’t share financials.
Keeping a secret is about hiding something from the world, separating yourself, and that takes a lot of energy. Also,
institutions, the government, and clients not knowing what you really earn cannot help you in any way. It’s easy to tell if designers are doing well or not. You just see the signs.
It is perfectly okay to be private of course; you don’t need to or have to share any more than you feel comfortable doing.
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief
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