12 Ways To Tell If A Freelance Web Designer Is Worth Your Time Or Not

Freelance web designers are one of the most useful resources for starting entrepreneurs. However, it’s still impossible to tell if any given freelance designer is good or bad. This article will focus on how you can tell if a freelance web designer is good or bad, and walk you through some tips that can help you determine if a given freelancer is probably good or bad before you hire him/her for your project.

Become A Freelance Website Designer in Three Months
The quality of work, experience, communication skills, and professionalism are crucial factors to consider when hiring a freelance web designer.
A portfolio of previous work is a must-have when evaluating a freelancer’s skills and style.
A freelance web designer’s pricing structure can vary, so it’s essential to understand the fee structure before committing to a project.
Look for freelancers who specialize in your project’s niche or industry to ensure they have the relevant expertise.
Referrals, recommendations, and reviews from previous clients can provide valuable insights into a freelancer’s work ethic and abilities.

1. Are They Local, Or At Least In The Same Time Zone?

There’s something special about hiring someone that you can see face to face. You can check out their office, their demeanor, and even meet their team. Some of the best clients that I’ve ever worked with were local businesses because we could meet in person and dive deep into whatever was needed.

If working with a designer from another city is the only option, are they in the same time zone? If your web designer operates on a schedule that doesn’t match yours, you may run into problems coordinating meetings or getting feedback back quickly enough. It sort of makes it hard to have a conversation when your designer is asleep at 5:00 pm your time!

Don’t rule out designers located in other cities if they are willing to travel to see you or have great references though!

Are you looking to improve your freelance web design career? Our guide on 22 expert tips to improve your web design freelancing career provides valuable insights and strategies to help you take your career to the next level.

2. Do They Have A Good Portfolio?

Your portfolio is your most important marketing asset and will tell you more about the designer than any sales pitch. The portfolio should show examples of how the designer can adapt to different styles, as well as be well organized and easy to navigate. 

Make sure they have at least 5-10 projects in their portfolio that are similar to what you want them to design for you, and it’s best that all of these projects are up to date (no older than 1 year).

3. Do They Have A Complete Website?

I know that’s a lot of questions and I don’t mean to overwhelm you, but I do think it’s important to take a moment to look at their portfolio or case studies.

Just like I mentioned earlier, they should have a portfolio or case studies page with at the very least images of the work they did for other clients. The images of their work should include a brief explanation of what they did, who they worked with, and why they liked working with them. 

This is actually one of the most important things you can look for when choosing a freelance web designer because once you see their past work you will be able to tell if they were as good as they say or not.

Looking at their portfolio or case studies page is your chance to check out their skills and decide for yourself if this person is good enough to work on your website (or not).

Choosing the right freelance web designer can be a daunting task. Our guide on 15 tips to help you choose a freelance web designer offers practical advice and considerations to help you make an informed decision and find the perfect match for your project.

4. Are They Approachable And Willing To Talk?

Being able to talk freely with your web designer is another important factor. You don’t want to feel like you’re bothering them each time you need to get in touch, so it’s best to make sure they’re someone who is approachable and willing to talk.

Other than the obvious fact that they should answer the phone, or answer your emails when you contact them, there are a few other things you can look out for:

Do they respond promptly? A good web designer will always keep you in the loop as they work on your project. If it’s taking them a long time just to get back to you then be wary of how long it’ll take for them to complete actual work.

Do you get the feeling that you are going to be able to communicate effectively with them? Communication is key when working with someone remotely and if it’s not something that comes naturally then it can cause issues further down the line.

5. Are They Confident?

When we say confident we mean do they know their stuff! They should be full of ideas and suggestions as well as being happy for you to give your own input into the design process itself. If at any point during conversation or communication you feel like they aren’t listening, this could create issues later on so stay away from these types of people!

6. Can You See Their Client List?

If you have any questions about the credibility of a website designer, ask if they can provide you with a list of their past clients. But, don’t be fooled. A long list of clients may or may not mean that they are good at what they do. 

Some web designers simply own companies that produce hundreds of websites and these sites will be very similar to one another. You want to make sure their clientele is similar to your business both in size and format.

Wondering if hiring a freelance web designer is right for you? Our article on why hiring a freelance web designer may help you explores the benefits of working with a freelancer, including cost savings, flexibility, and personalized attention.

7. Do Your Background Checks And Online Searches

Anyone can claim to be a freelance web designer, so asking for references and doing a background check is paramount. Here are some things you should be checking:

  • Search Google and other search engines for the freelancer’s name and business name
  • Look up their LinkedIn profile (if they have one)
  • Check any other businesses they are involved with or have been involved with
  • Check out their personal website (if they have one)

Do a comprehensive search on social media to see what you can find out about them. How do they present themselves? What sort of connections do they have? Are there any reviews or comments from previous clients that could give you an idea of how good (or bad!) the freelancer is?

Are there any online reviews about the freelancer? This can help give you an indication of whether or not the person you are dealing with is trustworthy. If there are loads of positive reviews then it’s likely that you will receive similar services if you decide to go ahead and hire them.

8. Ask For Referrals And References

This is a great time to ask for referrals. There are so many contractors and designers online who will sell you their designs or services, but the most important thing you can do is ask. Ask your friends and family for references, and make sure to check out their LinkedIn profiles (as well as those of the references you choose) before hiring them.

And here’s a reminder that it’s vital to check out the profiles of everyone you’re considering working with—especially if they’re coming from a referral! This is one-way freelancers can get themselves into trouble by overstating or misrepresenting their abilities, qualifications, experience, and credentials. 

If they have obvious red flags in their work history or personal histories, it might be a good idea to try another designer who doesn’t have that same baggage. There are countless examples on LinkedIn of freelancers lying about how much they’ve worked on projects even if they’re creative geniuses! These people might look fantastic at first glance while hiding awful experiences under “Industry Experience” or some other vague description.

9. How Fast Do They Respond To You?

How fast they respond to you when you first contact them is a good sign. If they are slow to respond, how will they manage your project as your client?

If they take days/weeks to respond to you at the start, then it’s likely that communication will continue to be bad throughout the project and after it.

Finding a balance between responsiveness and quality of service isn’t easy for freelancers. A slow response can mean two things: either the freelancer is busy with other projects or their service is so bad that no one wants to work with them (and therefore, they don’t have a backlog of projects).

Knowing how to assess the quality of a freelance web designer’s work can be challenging. Our guide on how to tell if a freelance web designer is good or bad provides 19 tips and tricks to help you evaluate a freelancer’s skills and ensure they’re the right fit for your project.

10. Why Should They Work For You?

While you shouldn’t have a problem reaching out to a candidate, the real question is why they would be interested in taking your job. In this industry that is becoming more and more competitive with each passing day, it’s getting harder to find good freelance web designers.

 If you’re looking for someone to work on your project, it’s logical of them to ask why should they work with you instead of someone else (and vice versa).

So as soon as you get in touch with your preferred candidates, don’t hesitate to start discussing things related to the project. However, try not to share too much information at this stage because if you do and things don’t work out between you two, there’s always a chance that those details will reach other people who might misuse them in one way or another. 

That being said, if the candidate shows interest in what you have to say, don’t just sit back and wait for them to take action – instead take an initiative and get things moving so that the process doesn’t take too long!

11. What Does Their Contract Look Like?

Check the fine print. A quality web designer will work to ensure that your interests are protected. What does the contract say? Are there payment terms? Is there a timeline for delivery? It may be tempting to hire a designer who works on a handshake, but it is important to have it in writing. 

Look at the termination clause and make sure you understand your rights in case you need to stop working with this person or company before you’ve finished paying them or before they’ve met all of their obligations. Also, look at the Indemnity clause and make sure that you aren’t liable for any misdeeds on their part (such as using verbiage that someone else owns).

12. Do They Show Up On Time For Meetings

The first step to determining whether a freelance web designer is good or bad is by meeting them. Typically, you’ll start with an interview, either in person or over the phone.

During this first contact, pay attention to how they dress and act. Do they show up on time for meetings? Are they polite and professional? Are their responses appropriate for the situation?

If you get a bad vibe from them during your initial contact, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. Personality matters when it comes to working as a team!

Another thing to watch out for is if they can communicate well and understand what you want from their work. If they ask questions that are vaguely related (or unrelated) to your project, that might mean that they weren’t paying attention during the interview — which suggests that maybe he/she isn’t listening very well in general.

This isn’t always true though! So be sure to check if their skills match what your company needs before making any rash judgments about someone’s abilities.

Starting a web design freelance business requires careful planning and consideration. Our article on top 17 things to consider when starting a web design freelance business offers practical advice on everything from setting rates to building a portfolio and finding clients.

Final Thought

When working with a new freelance web designer you should always look for experienced self-starters who are the kinds of people you want to work with. However, there are some things to watch out for, too. 

When reviewing a portfolio, be aware that people tend to leave outdated work in their portfolio in hopes that a potential employer will see beyond it. Also, check for expired references as this is an indicator that they had an update but cannot find anyone willing to offer a reference from them.

Further Reading

28 Costly Mistakes Your Freelance Web Designer Is Making – Learn common mistakes that freelance web designers make and how to avoid them to ensure a successful project.

12 Ways to Find Freelance Web Design Clients – Discover proven strategies for finding and securing new web design clients to grow your business.

How to Become a Freelance Web Designer – Get practical advice on how to start your career as a freelance web designer, from developing your skills to finding clients and setting rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I choose the right freelance web designer for my project?

Choosing the right freelance web designer involves evaluating their skills, experience, and communication style. Look for designers who have a strong portfolio, positive reviews from past clients, and a willingness to collaborate and communicate throughout the project.

How much should I pay a freelance web designer?

Freelance web design rates vary depending on the designer’s experience, location, and the scope of the project. Be prepared to pay more for experienced designers or for complex projects that require more time and skill.

How do I communicate effectively with my freelance web designer?

Effective communication is key to a successful web design project. Establish clear goals and timelines, provide detailed project briefs and feedback, and use communication tools like email, chat, or project management software to keep in touch.

What should I include in a web design contract with a freelance designer?

A web design contract should outline the project scope, deliverables, timelines, and payment terms. It should also address ownership of intellectual property, confidentiality, and dispute resolution. Work with your designer to ensure all important details are included and agreed upon.

How can I build a successful freelance web design business?

Building a successful freelance web design business requires a combination of technical skills, business acumen, and marketing savvy. Focus on developing your skills and building a strong portfolio, establish clear processes and systems for client management and project delivery, and invest in marketing and networking to attract new clients.

When Should I Hire A Web Designer?

It depends on your needs. Maybe you need someone to create your next landing page or blog design. Or maybe you need help optimizing your current site for Google search so you can rank for more keywords and get more traffic. You might also need someone to help you set up social media marketing accounts for your business so you can reach out to potential customers on sites like

What To Look For In A Freelance Web Designer

There are many factors that go into choosing a website designer for your business or personal website. You need someone with experience and the ability to provide you with quality work at an affordable price.

How Much Should A Web Designer Charge?

If you live in a big city, then a good designer will charge between $30 and $50 per hour. If you live outside of a major metropolitan area, then the rate should be between $20 and $40 per hour. Make sure to ask for references from clients with similar project needs, so you can verify these rates. 

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