When it comes to building your business, you can’t do everything. Outsourcing part of your task list can be scary, and there are right and wrong ways to go about it. There are do’s and don’ts of hiring a designer that can save you time, money, and headaches!
- DO expect a contract – If your designer (web or otherwise) doesn’t provide a contract for you (and them) to sign, run. I haven’t always done this myself, but it can 100% bite you in the butt. Businesses aren’t built on good faith. Make sure your terms are outlined, written down, and signed by both parties before sending any money.
- DO ask to see their portfolio – If it’s important to you that the designer you are hiring is experienced, don’t be afraid to ask them to show you some of their work! It should already be on their website, and if it’s not, chances are they are inexperienced. There ARE perks of hiring someone a little less experienced (they are usually less expensive, have a more open calendar, etc.) but if you’re looking for something very specific, make sure the designer you are hiring can actually do the work you want
- DO leave a testimonial – If you like their work, give them a review! Designers don’t just get clients from their portfolio pieces, testimonials are a huge part of it too! Small businesses need testimonials in order to seem legit and grow their business. Your designer will thank you!
- DO explain your vision clearly – We aren’t mind readers (I wish we were!), so if you have a vision for your website or brand, do everything you can to explain it! Send examples of pieces you love, draw a stick figure drawing, jump on a video screen-sharing call, whatever you can do to help us understand what you want. We WANT to deliver exactly what you envisioned, so help us as much as you can to understand just what that is.
- DO pay your invoices on time – I won’t start work until you pay your retainer, just as most businesses wouldn’t. Most designers have a retainer-now/pay-in-full-later payment structure, so don’t expect your designer to deliver you finished goods or drafts before you’ve even paid them. The faster we get payments delivered and contracts signed, the faster we can deliver you our work.
- DON’T call out of the blue and get upset when we don’t answer – As most designers do, I have a set schedule that I make for my clients so I can focus 100% on their projects at certain parts of the day. If someone calls me multiple times a day, it takes away from my other clients. I am more than happy to schedule times throughout the week, just give me some notice.
- DON’T be afraid to tell us what you do/don’t like – If you don’t like something, tell me! Again, we WANT to create exactly what you want, so tell us what you like/don’t like so we can make that happen. Just please, try to do it nicely (we are humans too)!
- DON’T get upset when we charge for extra work – We want to make you happy, and a lot of the time we will make tweaks and do little add-ons that weren’t outlined in the contract, but don’t expect it. If you want 3 more pages on your site than what was agreed on during pricing, we will charge for it. Time is our most valuable resource, so we will charge for extra work, just as any other business would. You wouldn’t ask your contractor to build an extra room in your house than what was in the blueprints, so treat this the same.
- DON’T take months to get us the things we need – If you hire me to build a website, I can’t do anything until you send me the things I need (hosting info, page content, branding, etc.). I only keep a few slots open each month for website design, and having a project that stretches over 3 months just because I’m waiting for content is really not okay. Be respectful of our time. If you’re not ready to have a site built yet, that’s totally okay, just don’t hire someone to build it and keep them waiting. I don’t enjoy sending you a bunch of follow up emails, but I will.
- DON’T compare our work to someone else’s – Please don’t compare us to our competition. There’s nothing wrong with sending examples of work that you love (in fact, I welcome it!), but please don’t do the whole “well this person does it this way” thing. Every single designer has a unique way of doing things and a different set of skills, so please don’t compare us. If you love someone else’s work, hire them. If you love mine, hire me. You wouldn’t expect a graffiti artist to be an expert in watercolor, would you? Same principle applies!
THE BOTTOM LINE: help us help you
We want to deliver you work that you love, so help us do that. Send us things on time, get a signed contract, be respectful, and most importantly do your research! You should only work with people who you feel a connection with. Hiring someone to design your brand or website is a very exciting time, so don’t settle for the first designer you come across. If someone rubs you the wrong way or you have doubts, keep shopping until you find your perfect fit!
Questions about hiring a designer or outsourcing some of your task lists? Comment below or contact me!
Have any other tips? Drop them in the comments!