Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a designer with a little bit of experience, it is very likely that you have run into troubles with the designer/start-up you decided to work with. It has been told by many that designers should make their site/product design a priority and since the number of designers between entrepreneurs is not so high, I’d rather say low, most of them have to find/hire designers or design firms that would do the job for them.
That’s the moment when everyone runs into troubles and in this article I’ll do my best to explain you from a designer’s standpoint in what kind of troubles you can run into and how you can avoid them.
Start-ups, Know your Needs
Most of the times I’ve run into troubles with my clients not because of the payment, but because, in my opinion, my clients don’t necessarily know what they exactly need. Of course, they do have an interpretation of their needs but they don’t know anything exactly.
They might have a site or two which they’ll show me but they’ll change their mind after the first round of revision. That is why I strongly recommend to entrepreneurs to know exactly what they need and how they want it to be done. Color Palettes, Structures, Widgets, Wireframes, Sketches – it’d be great for you as an employer to have those in the beginning so that nobody will lose time.
Often times entrepreneurs think that they are doing “the whole job” instead of the designer, but in fact that isn’t so. You are the business owner and you know best what describes your brand and how you’d like everything to be “brought on the table”. So you do the planning and let the designer turn your already-done plans into reality.
Settle on a Fixed Amount
Okay, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a fixed amount, but all the payment details must be agreed upfront. I’ve heard a lot of stories from both designers and developers when they had huge conflicts regarding how one party didn’t get paid for their work and another didn’t receive what they really needed, all because they didn’t manage to settle on the payment the “employee” had to receive for his work.
The best way to avoid this is sign a contract at the beginning of your collaboration and set various fees for a late-payment of contract or mention fees for an extra round of revisions. If you’re working with a design firm, then all this stuff is easy manageable with their accountant but in case of a freelancer it’s a little bit different so be precise and clear how much you are willing to pay and how the payment will be released.
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Don’t Aim for Perfection, if you’re not willing to pay for it
I’ve discussed with several entrepreneurs have told me that they were looking for a designer months in row and couldn’t even find one up to date. We are not living in a “after-apocalypse” era where all designers have disappeared, contrary, there are lot of very creative minds I’ve seen around. I just can’t imagine how someone, like one of the founders of InterviewStreet can seek for a designer for 7 months.
If you’re not in a hurry and you don’t need a designer right now I can understand, but generally – that’s not the case. The only trouble you may face is that some of the potential candidates might be busy with other client job or have taken the decision to work as full-timers.
You shouldn’t aim for “popular designers” just for their name, unless you really like their style and previous work, but keep in mind that you can easily face a rejection or pay them more, sometimes much more than it’s worth it.
Design Firms vs Freelancers
Many entrepreneurs just want to get the work done and they don’t care much whether a firm or a designer is doing it. Contrary to this, I’ve heard many people wondering about why should they choose a freelancer over a design firm, or the opposite, and why should they pay a design firm twice, sometimes even 3 or 4 times more than they would pay the very same designer to get the same job done.
There are a few factors when it comes to this and we will list them below:
- Design Firms usually take care of all the contracts, payment invoices and deadlines. They are very strict about (reasonable) deadlines and if they choose to work on your project they will do their best to get it done by the deadline you’ll tell them.
- When it comes to rates, as a rule of thumb design firms charge much more than freelancer do. Most of the times it is because they have higher taxes to pay (depending on location), it’s a company so it must “bring in” higher profits, and the last but not least: a lot of people end up working on your project. From accountants to project managers and several designers, who must be paid. Are these extra charges worth it? Everyone has to answer these questions on their own and decide whether they are ready to pay extra or not.
- It’s common, at least for me, that design firms have much bigger portfolios with work done for huge, worldwide companies. So it’s another personal preference whether you want or not to have someone who isn’t that familiar and experienced with “VIP clients”
Where do you actually find a freelancer?
Well, the usual way to go in finding a freelancers are the job boards, and designers’ portfolios online. Having to contact them is super-easy but you never know how busy they are and if they’re willing to work on your project, which is why you can’t be “granted” a 100%-result. There are people who have already thought about this, and the first site which comes to my mind is Folyo. It’s a website by Sacha Greif who is a known guy in the design community and he’ll do his best to find you as many leads for your job as possible, for only $100.
In my opinion that’s the best way to go if you’re looking for a freelancer, and besides, Sacha is giving a money-back guarantee which is awesome!
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In this article, I tried to explain in details what are the common dilemmas designers and basically any kind of freelancers face when it comes to dealing with clients and the opposite. Anytime you’re working with a designer, or you’re designing for somebody, just think how to make each other’s life easier and get the work done.