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Top Ten Questions To Ask When Hiring a Freelance Designer

by Joe Donnelly - Joe Donnelly Design

1. First, ask yourself - What are my needs?
The first step to any successful project is clarity of purpose. Define for yourself what specific items you need created, and detail your needs in as much detail as possible, and only then can you determine the type of designer you may need to create your item. Will you need a designer with experience designing a logo or a Website designer?

How much do I have to spend? In design you really do get what you pay for. Items such as logos and corporate branding will be your image for years to come, do invest enough to buy quality work. Mention any budgetary constraints to your designer to allow them to show you what services your budget can buy.

2. What type of design do you do?
While most freelance designers are talented, they may not have the experience needed to complete the project you need. Ask to see samples from their portfolio featuring the type of pieces you are looking for. Compare design styles, and judge whether the designer's design style matches what you are looking for. Inquire about other services the designer also provides. Can the designer create all the pieces you are searching for, or will you need more than one designer to complete your work.

3. Do you provide references?
Be sure to get references from your prospective designer. Past clients will be able to confirm that the freelancer is professional, prompt, courteous, and will keep in close touch with the you throughout the project.

4. How do you charge?
Many freelancers work on a per-project basis providing a price for the entire project. Some require one-third to one-half of the fee upfront, with the balance due upon final file delivery. Others work on an hourly, per-day or per-week basis. Make sure you get the details before you hire the freelancer.

5. When will payment be due?
Always inquire about the payment terms and scheduling. Freelancer are often sole proprietors and are sometimes reluctant to extend credit to new clients. Always get a written quotation showing the final amount payable at each stage of the project.

What methods of payment are accepted? Can you pay using cash? by credit card? by check? If your accounting department issues purchase orders, or requires certain terms prior to making payment, make these constraints known to your new designer. Some designers even offer deferred payments or creative financing through a barter arrangement. Ask about your options.

6. What guarantees or assurances do you offer?
Since design is subjective, what assurances do you have that the output created by the designer will be to your liking? Find out if the designer offers a 'Satisfaction Guarantee', Revision Guarantee, Money-back Guarantee, or any other assurances to calrm any worries you might have.

7. How will you communicate and deliver?
Be prepared for a virtual relationship with your freelance designer. More and more freelancers are working via email and instant messaging. In fact, you will most likely not deal with the designer face to face at all! Most freelancers also work by phone, fax and overnight mail or courier. If the desiner is located in your city, then face to face meetings may be possible. If greater travel distances are required, you may be charged for the designer's time.

8. What is your turnaround time?
Deadlines are king. If a freelancer cannot meet your deadline or fit you in, they are probably too busy to handle your project with care. If the designer is qualified and in demand you may have to wait for their attention - and it will be worth it if you have a flexible deadline. If you are on a tight schedule make it know up front, and if the designer cannot meet it, do not expect a miracle.

9. Who will be doing the designing?
Busy, successful freelance designer often outsource design projects to other designers. Most reputable designers who does this will typically send the work to someone he or she trusts to do the work to your specifications. However, price and competitive pressures sometimes cause the freelancer to farm out your work to less experienced designers. If you are used to working with one particular designer you may not want your job farmed out.

10. What is included in the price?
How many different options and concepts? Revisions? How many? Final files? What formats? What other charges are there? Taxes? Mailing and courier costs? Image costs? Get an itemized quotation prior to starting any project.

Ask these questions, along with any other areas of concern and you'll be on your way to finding a qualified, talented, hard working, creative and dependable freelance designer with whom you can build a lucrative relationship.

For Joe Donnelly Design, no project is too big or too small. So, no matter the scale of your project, when you need it completed, or size of your budget - we CAN help you Succeed - by Design!

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