Choosing a design company is a lot like deciding which restaurant to go to for dinner. Both decisions include evaluating a few key factors and have an impact on how satisfied you are at the end of the day. Working with a great design company means you can lounge comfortably on your couch at the end of the day, stress free and knowing your needs have been met. (Food is about meeting your human survival needs, but a company that meets your design needs aids in the survival of your business!)

3 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Design Company

Price

Price

Ask design companies for their “menu” of prices to help you decide if their services are within your budget.

In my family, price always plays a big role in deciding where to go for dinner. When five hungry people gather together at the end of the day for a quality meal the bill can add up pretty quickly.

The same goes for quality design work. It doesn’t come cheap, but it also doesn’t have to be an astronomical amount. That’s why it’s so important to establish your design budget upfront. If you know what you can afford you’ll be able to narrow down the design companies you’re willing to work with.

Remember that when it comes to your business image, settling for fast food may unsettle your stomach. If you want a quality product that represents your company in a professional way you’ll need to be willing to fork over a little more cash.

When interviewing design companies for a potential project, be sure to ask for the rates they charge for their work. These rates can vary greatly depending on the type of design company you choose to work with.

Functionality

Functionality

Meet with project managers from different companies to figure out which one will be best at meeting your design needs.

When choosing a location for family dinner, consider how well the restaurant will be able to accommodate each persons needs. Are there gluten free options? Is there room for a high-chair for my little nephew? Can grandma get in with a wheelchair?

When it comes to the functionality of a design company, you’ll want to know upfront if they can meet the specific requirements of your project. Some questions you may want to ask from the get-go are:

  • What services do they offer? If you’re looking for web design but the company you’re prospecting only designs print materials, that company probably isn’t going to meet your functionality needs.
  • Can they deliver within my time frame? You may seek out a designer to complete a project for you by a certain deadline. If they have too many other projects under their belt, meeting that deadline could be a struggle. Talk about your estimated time frame for the project to make sure working with that company will result in a product delivered on time.
  • How involved am I in the design process? You can’t have a functional relationship with your design company if you feel like your ideas aren’t being heard. Ask about how included you can be in the design and revision process to ensure you’re hiring a company that considers your needs as the project develops.
  • Do they complete all of their design projects in house or do they outsource the work to freelancers? Some people prefer to hire a design company that completes all of their client projects within the walls of their office building. Others are OK working with companies that hire freelancers to do all their design work for them, with the company simply acting as a mediator between the client and the designers. One is not necessarily better than the other, it just depends on your preferences.

Experience

I don’t know about you but my family likes to look at restaurant ratings and reviews when deciding on a new restaurant to try out. A five star rating is often reflective of the restaurant’s experience and credibility in the industry.

While you can’t go on TripAdvisor or Yelp to find the best design companies nearby like you can for restaurants, you can gauge a design company’s experience and the quality of their work by checking out their portfolio or asking for examples of their past client work. Do you notice that all the work is a similar style and the designers use basic templates that results in all the designs looking the same? Or, do they offer a range of custom design styles that will enhance the uniqueness of your brand?

Don’t be afraid to ask for references to get testimonies from other clients. Knowing how other companies have collaborated with the design company and getting a feel for their satisfaction with the relationship could be an indicator of how your business would work with them.

When judging the experience of the design company it could be helpful to ask how long they have been in business. A start up design company may not have all the kinks of their new business worked out yet while a company that has been in business for 10 years may operate with a flawless design process.

Knowing what kind of training and education the staff and designers have may also be important to you. While a formal education isn’t always telling of the talent and abilities of a designer, knowing that you’re hiring a team with solid education may make or break the deal.

Build a Trusting Relationship

If you can’t trust that your chef is following healthy and sanitary guidelines when preparing your meal you’re probably not going to eat their food. If you can’t trust your design company to pull through with a stellar product after investing in them, you’re probably not going to seek their help.

In the end, go with the design company that you can trust, after all you are putting your business image in their hands.

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Design Company Interview Guide

Design Company Interview Guide

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