By: Jill Mendoza
In Mike Hicks’s article published in the July 14-20th IBJ, “Indiana good, but not optimal, for small firms”, his comment “At least Indiana did away with licensing hypnotists in 2010, but we do maintain a registry of interior designers and installers of manufactured homes. All of this is a pretty bald-faced attempt to stifle competition.” is grossly misleading. The Interior Design Registry, he claims “stifles competition”, actually supports it.
The Registry does not restrict the practice of Interior Design nor does it limit one’s ability to do business as an interior designer or call themselves an interior designer. What the registry does do, it allows consumers who require and want a minimum level of competence for the professionals that deliver their services, a source to verify their qualifications.
Today professional design services are procured with an RFP process (Request for Proposal). In these RFP’s interior design professionals must provide qualification credentials such as licenses, certifications and registrations. The registry gives these consumers a tool to verify the qualifications they seek and require in the professionals they hire.
It should also be noted the biggest opponent of the Registry other than folks like Mr. Hicks, is the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Additionally what Mr. Hicks and AIA won’t tell you is the hidden agenda in their argument against certain occupational regulation, like the Registry, is to really protect their own turf in these professional areas.
The industry has progressed far past AIA’s views of protectionism and Mr. Hicks’s outdated and deceptive pretext. The facts should be noted; not having regulation like the Registry would impede design professionals (outside those regulated professions) from fairly competing in the building and design industry. It would also drive creative and trained design professionals to other states where they would be able to compete fairly.
Currently Indiana’s Registry does recognize the merits of the profession and acknowledges the progressive needs of the consumers who procure these services. Impediments small businesses in Indiana face have very little to do with occupational licensing issues and more to do with others in our community who use the issue for their own political and professional gain. Now that Mr. Hicks is; “a pretty bald-faced attempt to stifle competition.”