Episode 19: An Inside Look at Our E-Design Process

Designers Getting Coffee Podcast Episode 19: An Inside Look at our E-Design Process

What does it look like to run an E-Design project from start to finish? Here’s how Kate and Lesley handle virtual E-Design projects and knock their clients’ socks off (even without working face-to-face).

Episode 19 Show Notes

Key Takeaways:

  • E-design is a virtual design service, usually done via video conference or emails
    • Clients send over photos and dimensions of their space
    • You put together a design plan and the client puts everything together on their own
  • E-design is a great way to give high-touch, personalized service without the challenges of in-person meetings, procurement, installation
  • Not everybody has the budget or need for full service – those clients are harder to find nowadays
  • E-design is the best option to recommend clients who are in a different location from you or those who are running on a modest budget 
  • Clients who are extremely busy may not be the best fit for e-design – they might not get the most out of it because of the time it takes to execute your design plan
  • You have to communicate this clearly in the beginning to manage your clients’ expectations
  • Some things to include in your “getting started document/kit”: how to photograph your room, how to measure their room and furniture, questionnaire for likes/dislikes and what they’re looking for, and detailed instructions on where and when to send these
  • Taking the time to set up a one-on-one video call meeting underscores the value of your service and sets you apart from the more accessible alternatives
  • When setting the budget, make sure you understand what your client’s needs are and that you contextualize the expenses
  • With e-design, it’s really up to you as a designer to decide what you want to provide
  • You can take a more high-touch and hands-on approach where you provide a very personalized experience
  • This can include sending physical copies of all concept designs and samples that are packaged in a thoughtful manner, such as with handwritten notes and small gifts
  • Or you can take a more virtual and budget-friendly approach where you can deliver your designs with fewer touchpoints but in a much faster time frame
  • Set up an organized way to communicate with your clients, such as through forms and a strict follow-up timeline for revisions and questions 
  • Setting expectations is key to the success of e-design projects
  • In the circumstance that clients purchases an item that you sourced that doesn’t meet their expectations, take it as an opportunity to communicate your expertise and reasoning
  • Brick and mortar stores make it easy to do returns – it’s a great place to source furniture that could be harder to return, thus minimizing risks 
  • The more visuals and information you can provide that clearly communicate what the end result will be, the happier the clients will be
  • Keep clearances and doorways in mind when ordering furniture, as well as from vendors when it comes to furniture that you can/can’t disassemble 
  • How do you determine what to price your e-design service?
    • Write out your process – from the initial to the wrap-up phone call and everything in between
    • Think about what you want and don’t want to offer
    • Calculate what it would take you to do the steps that are absolutely necessary (i.e., the number of items you have to source, emails or packages you have to send, etc.)
    • Add a little bit of a buffer for extra costs
  • Avoid sharing every single detail of your e-design service on your website because it overwhelms clients. Focus on key features, benefits, and the final outcome
  • Don’t discount your services just because e-design is now seen as the cheaper alternative. If you offer a fully custom, high-level experience, price accordingly!
  • Make them forget that it’s e-design – deliver a quality, on-brand service in every step of the process

Resources Shared:

Hey Designer! Grab Your FREE Mini Business Toolkit to run your business like a rockstar.


Get Your FREE Mini Business Toolkit

Inside you'll find an Install Day Box Checklist; a handy reference guide with Typical Design Project Hours; our favorite design and business tools we use, and more. Grab it right here.