About thirteen years ago I was attending a school in Sacramento California when I met a very nice man. After befriending him, and being invited to his big fancy home, I was told how he and his family would soon be out on the street. He was very sincere as he relayed the details of the approaching tragedy, and I felt confident he would repay me the 4,000 dollars I loaned him. In fact, the only thing he gave me was a phone call half a decade later about how he would pay me back as soon as he got out of rehab. It was comforting to know he was thinking about me, but that comfort wasn’t my four grand.

All and all it was a very expensive lesson, but what I learned can be applied to any area of life – even the realm of design.

1. Knowledge is Protection

When you need something designed for you the first step should be to do some homework. First, visit multiple sites to get a good idea of going rates. Second, ask specific questions about what you are getting for your money, what the designer’s credentials are, and what process is being used to make it. There are multitudes of web-site building software that allows people to make a web-site simply by dragging and dropping images or copying and pasting text into certain areas. This may be fine as far as it goes, but many of those who use these programs lack any professional training and will make sub-par designs that won’t seem low-grade if you are unfamiliar with good design and quality web practices.

2. Courage Saves Capital

During my ten years of experience in various sorts of sales based occupations I’ve learned being bold is a valuable trait. Sales people are trained to respond to every ‘No’ in a pleasant fashion, and then get you to give them a reason for your no. After getting your reason, they will then ‘answer your objection’ and try to press you again for a ‘yes’. If someone is using high pressure tactics be highly suspicious, and never be afraid to simply cut them off – hang up the phone, block their emails, etc. Professional designers who make quality work don’t need to ‘trap you’, their creations, skills, and character will do the persuading. Further, they won’t mind when you ask detailed or hard questions, they will expect you to do so because they know you want the best product for your business.

3. No Contract No Deal

As a client seeking a design, if a designer is not providing you with a contract outlining exactly what they are giving you be careful.  Contracts help everyone involved to know exactly where the project is going, the time frame all parties are expected to adhere to, and that what is being made for you is legal. It would be a professional and financial nightmare if an unethical designer used copy-righted images without telling you. Bottom line, contracts provide legal protection against fraud, ensure everyone’s expectations are the same, and help the product you get to be the one you wanted.