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Why You Should Never Hire a Cheap Web Designer

No one wants to pay an arm and a leg for something they need, but sometimes the highest price tag isn’t always the best option either. Most of us want the best of both worlds, and when it comes to web designers, that means finding someone who’s affordable without sacrificing quality. However, as you may have heard before, you get what you pay for – so how can you be sure that you’re not hiring someone who will sacrifice your needs in order to make money?

Why You Should Never Hire a Cheap Web Designer

The Risks of Going Cheaper

The Internet has made design more accessible than ever, with many websites and small businesses now employing freelance web designers. There’s nothing wrong with going cheaper—but there are certain risks involved in trying to build your site on the cheap. Go into it armed with knowledge about those risks so you can make an informed decision about who to hire.

The Dangers of Going Cheaper

Although it may seem like saving money is always a good thing, when it comes to website development you should never go cheaper. You simply get what you pay for and if you hire a cheap web designer, that’s what you’ll get—cheap work with no after-service. If anything goes wrong in your website, you’ll be stuck fixing it yourself because that cheap developer won’t offer any support.

How to Pick an Affordable but Reliable Web Designer

  • Review past work - A good web designer will be happy to show you some of their completed projects. If you can't find any, it may be because they're new to freelancing and haven't developed enough quality work yet (in which case take a chance on them), or because they don't have any good ones (in which case move along). Take a look at their portfolio and pick out something that speaks to you. Can you imagine your business there? 2

How to Choose Between an Affordable and an Expensive Option

More often than not, our biggest mistakes are caused by false choices. We see it time and again: you’re given two options that aren’t really two different paths at all. Instead, they both lead to roughly the same place; only one is longer, has more obstacles, and requires more sacrifice along the way.

Get a handle on your finances

If you’re determined to strike out on your own, start by doing some research on various small business loans. While there are many options available, you’ll probably want to stick with established institutions like banks, credit unions and community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Some of these organizations even offer free resources that can help you estimate how much money you’ll need, create a business plan and more.

Build a network of contacts

Perhaps you’ve read articles like The Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes Small Businesses Make. And, no doubt, one of them was hiring an amateur or cheap web designer to design your site. If that hasn’t happened to you yet, it will soon.

Learn how to present yourself professionally

While it’s good to have connections in your industry, it’s just as important to be networking with everyone from other business owners to attorneys and accountants. The more people you know and can call on, that much easier starting your business will be. And these contacts will prove invaluable if something goes wrong down the road. Remember: Not every day is perfect—and it will take an entire team to get through rough patches when they arrive. Make sure you’re part of that team.

Build a portfolio to showcase your skills

While it may seem superfluous, building a portfolio of your work is important. This will help potential clients see your work and give you an opportunity to talk about what you’ve done. Keep in mind that many freelancers do not have portfolios (or are wary of having them), but it’s a good idea to build one up regardless.

Create an online presence, including personal website and social media profiles

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? It takes a lot more than passion and creativity—you’ll need to learn how to run your own business, too. Whether you freelance or launch your own company, it’s essential that you establish an online presence so customers can find and engage with you easily. Today, that means owning a website and social media profiles for each platform: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn are critical platforms for any successful entrepreneur.

read more: How to find an international business major that is perfect for you

Write a business plan

Writing a business plan helps formalize your idea and can streamline the business-creation process by getting you to sit down and think things through methodically. And, yes, plans are (often) worthless, but planning is everything. Many entrepreneurs say they rarely look at their plan once they’ve launched—but they’ll also tell you there’s value in thinking through and researching your idea; writing a business plan is the perfect canvas for this exercise.

Set up your business's legal structure

Unless you’re planning to run your business under your own name, you’ll need to set up some kind of legal structure for it. This can be as simple as forming an LLC or C-corporation (both are types of corporations), or choosing a more complex legal structure if that’s required by your state. Check with an attorney if you aren’t sure what kind of business entity you should create.

Learn how to price your services

Pricing can be hard, especially if you’re new to freelancing. This is why it’s important to do your research and find out what similar providers are charging. The best way to do so is by asking them directly! Reach out via email or phone (though email is usually preferred) and request a meeting for coffee or lunch. Keep things professional, and don’t be pushy about pricing or money—focus on getting to know them instead.

Prepare contracts for clients

You need to understand contracts, too. In order to work with clients, you’ll likely have them sign an agreement stating their payment terms and other important details (what happens if they don’t pay you? What happens if they want to make changes to their project?). Even if you decide not to use contracts, being conversant in contract-speak is helpful when communicating with clients who do use them. And it’s good practice.

You can build a thriving web design business by taking calculated steps to get started as a freelancer

advertise, take on projects, find clients. But beware of hiring cheap web designers to do your work for you. Why? Because quality design is like anything else worth buying—you get what you pay for. Even if your budget is tight, you can still build a sustainable business with healthy margins and happy clients by spending more up front and creating quality deliverables that establish long-term relationships.

Now that you have a web development brief ready to go, it's time to start shopping around for the best web development services you can find. Freelancers and small agencies who offer this type of contract should be eager to take on new clients, so it should at least be easy to get a conversation going. From there, you can let the designers present their design portfolios and business proposals, pick one or two finalists (or recruit a team of two), and start moving towards some functional mockups.