How I WorkGetting a Good Start
Establish goals, intended market and budget.
Research designers, narrow choices, make contact.
Ask questions, request estimate, evaluate.
In the boxes below, you’ll see some questions I am frequently asked and my answers inside. Feel free to contact me if you have questions of your own.
What About the Cost?
Cost is an important concern when you start a new venture. Design costs vary greatly depending on the complexity of the job, so I’ll need a good understanding of your project’s scope before I can work up a proposal. Most of the websites I design range from $3,000.00 up, but one-page and very small sites will be less.
The proposal I submit to you will outline details of the job as well as the cost. It will define your responsibilities in addition to my own, along with a proposed timeline, contingent on adherence to specified deadlines.
If you approve, you’ll be asked to sign the proposal and send it along with a deposit (1/3 of the total) before I can start work. I accept payment by check or credit cards (You can pay by check, or securely through the payment button on my site).
After I have received the signed proposal along with your deposit, and you have provided me with any necessary assets to be used in the project (images, text, other information), I will go to work, preparing some drafts of the design. You may request revisions of those drafts ( as outlined in the proposal) before you choose one draft to move forward with. Once you have approved that draft, I will invoice you for the second 1/3 of the total cost and upon receipt, move forward with the final work on the project.
You may request revisions to the final portion of the project as well, within guidelines set out in the proposal. The final 1/3 is due upon completion of the project. Once I receive the final payment I’ll send your design files to you in the appropriate formats, or in the case of a website; I’ll publish the live site.
I’d be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns before we get started. If you feel the proposed cost is too much, we can talk about how the job specs might be reduced to better fit within your budget, and I can then prepare a new proposal based on the adjusted job specs. Or you can simply say no to the proposal, no strings attached.
Best Way to Communicate?
If you’re local, it’s always nice to meet in person initially, though not required. Whether or not you’re local, I’m happy to communicate via email or phone to get started, and as we continue, we can pass materials back and forth through email, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
You’ll be asked to approve different phases of the design as we go along, so I’ll be placing drafts online for you to see. I usually use Google Drive to share those files, and you can either comment from there, send me an email, or call. If you have a response or comment that is very short and simple in nature, feel free to text me…otherwise, email or phone works better.
Can I Request Changes ?
Yes, revisions are a part of most design projects and we need to cooperate to find solutions that you’re happy with and are best for the project. I am happy to make changes per your request and often the work is better for it! Having said that, I will not hesitate to politely express my opinions if I don’t think the requested change is a good idea, or won’t work for some reason, either technically or from a design standpoint. In order to have the best results, I try to be flexible and hope my clients will try to be as well.
As a general guideline, the initial proposal will outline a reasonable number of revisions allowed for each phase of the project. If the scope of the project expands beyond the specs outlined in the proposal, either by client-requested additions or by excessive revisions, the cost of the project will increase according to the additional time required.
What If I Need to Back Out of The Project ?
It’s possible that you might encounter circumstances that hinder or delay your ability to afford the finishing of your website or design project. In this case, you may request a delay of further site development and I will invoice you for only the work completed up to that point. You may resume at a later date, but if resumption is more than six months later, the cost may increase somewhat. (The estimated cost of your website as outlined in the proposal is good for up to six months).
Similarly, if you do not request a delay, but fail to provide me with the necessary components agreed upon to complete your project within the contract’s timeline, you will be invoiced for all work done to that point, if the delay exceeds three months.
You will already have paid 1/3 deposit on your site before the work has even begun. If, for example, the site is 2/3 finished when you request a delay or end to the work, you will be invoiced for the second third of the total. The amount of the increment will be determined by the checkpoints in the contract’s timeline .
Web Design Considerations
There are plenty of details to consider beyond what your website will look like, and there will be some work for you, the client to do before your designer can start work.
You’ll need to collect the information you want to go on each page and decide whether you are going to write the copy yourself or need help. If you can assemble the information but don’t feel comfortable with writing the final copy, please let the designer know this up front!
If you already have photos you want on the site, gather them. If you need a photographer, or will be using your own photographer, communicate that to your designer. If you need stock photos to illustrate your site, your designer may prefer to research and acquire the photos, pending your final approval. A good designer has a discriminating eye for photos and vast resources for finding the right ones within the budget. It should be specified in the proposal whether (and approx. how many) stock photos are included in the final price.
You’ll want to have a rough idea of how you want the pages organized and whether you want special features on the site, such as slideshows, blogs or a web store. Think about whether you need specialized forms, whether you want others to be able to contribute comments or posts, etc. If you have no idea about any of this, it’s ok! Your designer will likely have lots of experience in this area and would love to advise you on whether or how to incorporate specific features.
Your web developer will need some of the above information before submitting a cost proposal. And once the proposal is signed and the deposit made, it is common for a designer to move forward with site design ONLY when the client has submitted all or most of the web content (information, text, images, etc.) outlined in the contract.
I’m happy to guide you in these areas if you have questions. The good news is that websites are dynamic and easily changeable, and while designers do their best to envision and anticipate the labor and assets needed, they can make changes along the way.
1. Getting Started
First, establish a fairly thorough idea of what you want your project to accomplish. Make some notes on your goals and your intended audience or market. It’s always a good idea to research examples of concepts, images, or websites that you like, and ideally be prepared to articulate why.
Research some designer’s portfolios online, it’s a good way to familiarize yourself with their work. Think about whether their style and skills are a good fit for your project. Choose one or more that interest you, and make contact. You can usually reach them through their website.
When you are comfortable that a designer looks like a possible fit, you’ll need to provide specifics about your project and it’s scope. Be prepared to articulate as many details as you can, filling out the designer’s project questionnaire if available.
Establish your budget range, as it will help the designer determine what can be accomplished within those parameters. Some designers might give you a very rough ballpark figure before working up a complete estimate, but many prefer not to give a rough estimate on-the-spot.
A complete written proposal takes some work to prepare, so you should ask when to expect it. And be sure to let the designer know your project deadlines upfront, if you have any. Review carefully any proposals you receive from designers and evaluate the cost as well as the scope and details outlined in the proposal. Don’t hesitate to express your concerns or ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
Are we a good fit?
Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients. I’ve learned that it’s important that the designer and client are a good fit. No designer is a good fit for every potential client, and that’s ok! Knowing a few things about how I work may help you decide if we’re a good match…
If you are looking for the cheapest and fastest solution, I may not be the designer for you. Good creative work takes time.
Deadlines benefit both of us. If you hire me, we will establish a timeline together. I’m pretty good at sticking to it, but I’ll need you to contribute your part in a timely manner in order to meet our deadlines.
Designing something new is a collaborative effort. Since we’ll be partners, both of us will work hard to maintain good communication.
I will carefully consider your ideas & suggestions, because oftentimes they’ll work beautifully! But if I don’t think an idea will work, either esthetically or technically, I will tell you. Then we’ll come up with an even better solution.
If you are looking for a versatile, thorough designer who works hard for you, then — you should contact me!
If you think we’d be a good fit and you’d like me to work up a proposal and cost estimate, tell me about your project by completing this questionnaire to the best of your ability.
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