Hiring a designer

Hopefully by now you’ve got a list of 3-5 designers you’d potentially like to work with. If you haven't go back to Finding a designer and Evaluating a portfolio and get yourself a list together.

Done that? Great! Now it’s time to evaluate these and find the best designer for your project.

. . .

Let’s keep things organised

When you’re approaching multiple designers it can be hard to keep track of everything you need to know to make an informed decision. Knowing which designer had the super fast response time will help when you come to make your final selection.

That’s why I’ve put together a template that you can print out and use to keep track of each designer as you make contact.

Download the template (PDF)

This will give you a clear side-by-side view and help you make an informed decision as to who is the right person to go with.

First contact

Now you’ve got your list, go ahead and send each designer an informal email to introduce yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just say who you are, what your business does and outline what you’re looking for. Then just ask them to give you a call back if they’re interested.

Make a note of their response time and manner as it’ll be a good indication of what they’re like to work with.

Questions to ask

In your first phone call, your designer should be asking you questions about your business, your goals and anything logistical.

Take note of how they communicate. Are they describing things in terms you understand or using technical jargon? Do they seem friendly and interested in your business?

Don’t forget to ask them questions of your own too and see how they respond. Some good questions are:

  1. What kind of process can I expect?
  2. What’s your typical budget range for your projects?
  3. When would we be able to get started and how long are your timeframes?
  4. Do you do all of the work? If not, who do you outsource to and what kinds of tasks?
  5. Do you offer any maintenance after the project has finished?
  6. How long have you been in business?
  7. When can I expect to receive a quote?

Designers should be able to answer all of these questions easily and truthfully. Occasionally I’ve known people to fib about some of these answers (4 and 6 are the main culprits) so if you feel unsure about anything feel free to ask follow-up questions and make sure they can back it up.

Once you have your quotes

Within about a week you should have all of your quotes lined up nicely (don’t forget to put the amounts into your template!)

Make sure you read your quotes thoroughly and if any questions or concerns come up about any of it, ask right away.

. . .

By now, you should have everything you need to make a decision. I recommend listing out your designers in order of priority just in case your number 1 choice doesn’t work out.

Your template should really help with figuring all this out but it’s worth pointing out not to forget about your gut instincts. They’re really powerful, and usually right. So if a designer looks perfect on paper but you have a bad feeling, listen to it and try to figure out what’s making you uncomfortable.

It’s also really important to think about who you would most enjoy working with as you’re going to be working with them for a potentially long time.

Once you’ve chosen (and ideally slept on it) go ahead and contact your designer letting them know you’d like to work with them. They’ll be thrilled!

Then crack open the bubbly (or whatever you celebrate with) and get excited about your project to start!

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