Updated: Oct 1, 2020
As this may be an easy and quick way to punch out a design, it is not a sustainable method. The fee you’re charging for your designs is just that, the fee you charge for your experience, education, and talent. You should definitely, be earning an income from the work you put into finding and choosing pieces that are right for your client’s needs. Clients look to designers as the professional, the one that will make the best choices in what they need to buy and from where to buy it so they don’t have to think about it or put in the work. They have placed their trust in you as the designer to guide them in the right direction and, in most cases, they want to know you will earn something from their purchases. And you should absolutely be earning a fee for that, beyond the design fee.
How to work as an E-designer for very little pay
Affiliate links were created to incentivize influencers to market products for high volume sales which works very well for the retailer, but not so much as a stream of revenue for an eDesigner. Because, when the retailer assigns the influencer a unique code, it is meant to sell that single product to a large audience and that code has a cookie attached to it that identifies where the sale is coming from. As a designer, your goal is to sell many items for a room design to your one client. The retailer also sets a time limit on that cookie, typically, the time limit on a session-cookie is 30 days. But when using services that connect influencers, aka the designer, and retailers the session-cookies can be as short as 24 hours. Affiliate links payout anywhere from 3% to 10% on a successful sale, but the short time limits ultimately result in interior designers losing out on commissions.
Working for a platform that matches designers with clients sounds like it would be a great way to get started in eDesign or to use it as a way to keep your pipeline of projects full. The problem is these platforms don't benefit the designer. They use low design fees as a "loss leader" to attract clients because their major source of income is from the sale of products. The commission they payout to designers is extremely low as well, from 2% to 4% which doesn't allow the designer to make much if any at all. Because the platforms don't give designers a way to track their projects, there is no way for the designer to practice a checks-and-balances process.
How to set your E-design business up for success
To create a profitable revenue stream from the sale of products, and to avoid a client shopping for a cheaper price online, the products an eDesigner presents to their clients need to be competitively priced. Because eDesign attracts the tech-savvy client, of course, clients are going to quickly do a little check to make sure your prices are competitive. Typically, most furniture wholesalers offer a 30% discount off MSRP to interior designers purchasing for their clients or they have a discounted retail price and offer some purchasing incentives, such a discount of shipping. With all these discounts the eDesigner may be able to offer a competitive price, but will not earn much if any, revenue for the time and effort it took to sell the product.
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