Many people these days are losing their jobs and turning to the internet to try and make up for some of that lost income. Without knowing a web designer close by most people will turn towards a search engine and start doing some searches to find the right designer or firm to work with. This could get very overwhelming due to the abundance of web designers floating around in the search engines. We have narrowed down some important criteria when picking the right graphic / web designer for any design related project.
Cost: Ask the designer how much they charge per hour. If they are completely out of your price range than you can stop wasting your time and move onto the next. However, in this economy you can often times try negotiating an hourly rate if you really want to work with that company or person. Most service based businesses these days will fluctuate a bit on price in order to get the business through the door.
Narrow it Down: You will quickly see there are hundreds if not thousands of web designers out there. Try to find 5-10 you would like to learn a little more about and stick to those. You could drive yourself crazy if you do not narrow the playing field a little bit.
Portfolio: Every designer is usually happy and excited to show off their portfolio of work. If they do not have a portfolio than maybe they have not done any design work yet. Even someone starting off a business with no clients still should have plenty of designs that they have worked on over the years. If they just started web design as a whole and do not have anything to show I would probably move onto someone else.
Research: This is probably one of the most important areas to focus on. Search the companies name online and see what you come up with. If someone has been excited or disappointed with that vendors work in the past you will most likely see it in the search results. It is important to not only look for any negative results but if that vendor has any results at all. If you do not see anything associated with the company that is not good either. A successful active company will have plenty of information stemming around their business in the search results on various sources.
Location: If you are looking for someone local you can visit and sit down with it will be important to isolate that information at the begging of your search process. This will also allow you to stay on US soil with your vendor. Just in case something goes wrong you can find that company a bit easier.