When it comes to working with small businesses, I’ve quickly learned that many business owners don’t know what to expect when working with a designer. As a small business owner, we get it. You’re investing in your business and it feels like a risk. Is marketing and advertising worth it? Doesn’t it make sense to try a DIY approach and using Canva rather than shelling out the big bucks?
We’re firm believers that branding and offering phenomenal experiences to your customer changes everything. Much like investments in your space and building your team, branding is the face of your company and isn’t something that you throw together. It is the truest essence of who you are, your company expressed, to the community and the world.
Have we convinced you to go pro? Great, we’re happy we have. Here are 5 Things to Know When Hiring a Designer.
When it comes to designers, look up the standard hourly rate based on experience for your area. You can find this readily available at AIGA and their design salaries survey. Based on years of experience, turnaround time, and cost of living in your region, expect rates to vary.
Many designers have varying pricing structures. We encourage transparency and authenticity when it comes to pricing. It shouldn’t be an awkward conversation. Some contractors will offer an estimate and then a final invoice much like manual labor contractors. Others will offer a flat-rate. A word of caution when it comes to flat rate projects: make sure to read the fine print in contracts. Many have clauses that state if the project or revisions exceed a certain amount an additional charge will occur. Know your budget for branding needs as you review the contract to see if it’s the right fit.
Whether it’s a simple logo or a complete identity and collateral build out, know what is included in the services agreement. Ask questions and make sure everything is in writing. This includes rights to design, reproduction, and the timeline of production.
As you go into a meeting, know that you’re working with a freelancer. This means you’re looking to see if they’re the right fit and if you would work well together. Does their rate work with your budget? Are you wanting to get to know them? Are you satisfied with their level of work and representation? If you’ve asked for portfolio access and client list prior to meetings, a designer will most likely educate you on their workflow process, what to expect as you work together, and the needs of your business. Rarely will they treat this as an interview, particularly if there has been correspondence prior to meeting.
As you look to hiring a designer, understand while they may be joining your team of contractors and experts, there’s a distinct difference between the way employees and contractors function. Contractors can work for you on retainer for years and can also only provide a short-term service. Focus on quality of work, respect, and collaboration. These will be the best business relationships that will serve you long term. Employees are paid a salary to show up to specific location and fulfill daily duties. With a contractor, you are paying for a service, not someone to be on call 24/7. This is distinctly different and your expectations should fluctuate accordingly. Look into working with a 1099 and what you can legally expect based on state labor laws. (It is incredibly hard to legally issue 1099s in the state of California to date unless a worker is remote and has minimal deadline expectations.)
We currently have availability for our design and digital marketing services for Spring/Summer. Ready to make the jump? Contact us here.
Have any additional questions about hiring a designer? We’d love to hear from you!