Two weeks ago I put a call out looking for a designer to handle the Forever Geek redesign. Within 24 hours I had received over 30 emails from designers that showed a great deal of interest in doing the work. No surprise because freelance designers can only survive by doing design, duh. I went with Forty Media for a couple of reasons and thought if I shared my reasoning this would help everyone out in the future when trying to find client work.
Read the Instructions
In the entry I asked for links to sites you have done and what price you estimate for the FG redesign. I would say only 50% of the submissions contained a price. Now understandly I didn’t give a lot of details with regards to the design so giving an estimate might not have been possible from your perspective, but in this case I think it’s safe to give a range, while also inquiring more about the project itself.
Either way if you didn’t give pricing or at the very least an estimate I skipped the email and never looked back. Because of time constraints I am no afforded the time to exchange 30 different sets of emails with 30 different designers working out pricing details so the easier you make my job, the better it looks for you.
I have spoke many times of the importance of putting a value on your work. Pricing too low can make you look unprofessional even though your intentions may be to undercut everyone else. Pricing too high can chase someone away simply due to the price being out of budget. When putting out the inquiry I had a price set in mind and honestly free wasn’t part of it.
I expected to pay for this work and I expected to get quality from it.
It was interesting to see how much the quality of the portfolios matched the prices given to me. Forty Media had the second highest bid, so please don’t think I went for the cheapest alternative. I also chose the third highest bidder for work on two other sites.
A surprising number of links, portfolios, and sites were either unfinished or showed poor execution. I can understand many of the people inquiring about the work approached the job as if I were a friend and kept everything informal. I would’ve probably fell into the same trap myself. However, when going for work it’s important to have everything in order.
As a freelancer you don’t have to act like a corporation, but you should show the same professional-grade presentations that the big dogs show. Going to Forty Media’s site I was able to quickly find their portfolio along with a quality presentation of each site.
If you find yourself saying that you don’t have the time to put work into your own portfolio then you should really reconsider doing this on your own.
I don’t like all the sites they have designed, but very rarely do I find a designer who designs to my liking every single time. So making every site perfect and to the liking of a potential client doesn’t have to be priority #1, but presentation of those sites goes a long way towards how your potential client will view you.
Forty Media was able to give me a deadline for each phase and they hit each one on the mark. This works wonders in spreading word of mouth and having a client return back for more work.
I am not writing any of this to promote Forty Media (especially since Business Logs does desgin work as well) or to insult any of the others that may have submitted emails to me. I am hoping that this helps everyone get a better understanding of how far professionalism and presentation go in the eyes of a client.
Note: Some of the pages on FG are not yet finished and should not be used as a reflection of the work done by Forty Media, but in my work to implement all the changes sitewide. They did everything that I asked and a bit more.