Ultimate guide to hiring a web or graphic designer.

Hiring a designer for your business isn't a decision that you should make lightly. Here is a guide to the important info you should know, as well as a handy printable list to use during your conversations.

When you hire an advertising or creative agency, website designer, or graphic designer, they are ultimately responsible for the visual image that you are putting out there that represents your organization. They should be able to effectively communicate your message by producing quality graphics, media, and content for your website; developing content and design that represents your business brand and message. They should be able to deliver content in a timely manner without surprise charges or issues. This, of course, is provided that a clear plan was established before the start of the project.

It is so important to discuss budget, timeline, and other details before you give the OK to start a project, because your online image is crucial when it comes to business.

Especially now, with the COVID-19 Pandemic driving more and more people to engage with businesses and shop online, we have all had to learn to adapt and become problem solvers in an effort to keep our businesses running and profitable. This includes some business owners making the jump to online a little bit sooner than they were ready for.

Yes, running a business can be hard. Yes, marketing can be time consuming. Yes, you have a million other things to do… but, don’t skimp in this area! Not on time or budget. And, if you really truly don’t have the time, increase your budget. This is also one of the benefits of hiring a company like Bustle & Grow. We are more than graphic designers and web developers, we are marketing and small business growth experts. We can utilize our team's skills and knowledge to develop the content you need for your online presence so that you can focus on your tasks at hand.

Imagine if you were hiring someone to redecorate your storefront… they are responsible for changing the way your products and displays look, the description on the packaging, your special offers… you would want to be sure you’ve chosen someone who gets your vision, right? Your business website is even more important!

Pay attention, know your goals and what you want the outcome to be. Dedicate a budget, follow through, and cover the following talking points BEFORE you start your website or graphic design project. An experienced marketing and design expert should be able to help you cover all of the above and confidently discuss the following. If not, find someone else, quick!


Ask yourself when you would like the project to be completed and ready to show the world. Topics to discuss with your designer include:

  • When can the project start?

  • When can I expect my first proof?

  • When can we go live after final approval?

  • When is payment expected? (see budget below)


In media terms, a ”proof" is the example that your designer sends you to ask for your approval before they send the final product and consider the project complete. This is your chance to make any edits or corrections. If your initial discussion about your goals and ideas for the design was thorough, you shouldn’t need to make too many changes. Most companies and designers have a limit to the number of proofs that they will work on before they start to charge you for changes. So, be clear about what you are envisioning. Make sure to ask:

  • How many rounds of proofing do you offer before you charge for additional changes?

  • How long after I send changes will I see an updated proof?

  • How long after I approve the proof will the final product be delivered?


Your website is a necessary investment and is what represents your business to the entire world, so this is the last place you should try to cut corners. Remember: cheap isn’t good, and good isn’t cheap. That doesn’t mean you have to mortgage your house to pay for a website. But, stay away from free options and, please, don’t have your daughters-friend’s-cousin build it halfway for you. You’re a professional, so hire one!

Marketing experts, especially designers, are also artists in their own form. They care about the final product and about delivering quality. If you don’t get this vibe from your designer, it’s probably time to look for a new one.

Most designers will either give you a flat rate, or they will charge you by the hour. Either way, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of what everything will cost and when payment will be expected. Once these things are clarified and out in the open, progress happens, everyone has a clear understanding and feels good about being part of the project team. You should discuss:

  • Deposit

  • Final balance

  • Payment arrangements

  • Additional charges

  • Hourly rate

  • Your max spend amount

  • Renewal fees

  • Cancelation fees

  • What is included in the price?